I don’t really see how attitude and desire color the moment of response. The things that have already happened and the things that I want to happen are both in the way of allowing me to respond instinctively in the present. My instincts have a pretty good idea of what is right, if I live responsibly and make an effort to form an intelligent perspective. But if I am always the slave of my attitudes and desires, it ruins me. I don’t know what is right. Right begins to emerge from social and political, religious and civic, sources rather than the inherent understanding within my own being.
There is another way to say this. There is a rightness that comes from man, and a rightness that comes from God. They are not the same thing. Humanity is constantly confusing the rightness that comes from man — a subjective rightness that is constantly changing and creates one disaster after another — with the rightness that comes from God. The rightness that comes from God is unfailingly loving. This is a huge demand, and in direct opposition in the rightness that comes from man. I say it is a huge demand because it goes against both attitude and desire; it emerges from a place within being that is free of both attitude and desire.
When I say that this is free of attitude and desire, it’s difficult to understand what that means. After all, rightness that comes from God has its own attitude: but it is God’s attitude. It receives life instead of trying to control it. In receiving life, it attempts to understand that desire should arrive from love and then meet life, not meet life and then try to slap love on it like a Band-Aid. The love has to come first. Love has to come first before I form attitudes; in love has to come first before I formed desires. The inflow is love. It is inherently loving; and if it forms my being, my instinctive being, I already bring a part that has a love and humility in it to life as it arises.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.