Is It Necessary to Know Good by Evil?

Note: Celia’s post follows poem.

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Restless

Winding through the branches of my spirit

   whispering glimpses of mortality

      wandering among the conscious complex

         winnowing former dogma like frail facts

down into recesses of my essence

  drifting through unbridled memory

    dauntingly presumptuous in its power

      dares this new disturbing premonition

halting nowhere near the seat of power

  having so destroyed that weaker vessel

     hurrying to reach its destination

       hovering within the fecund chamber

coming round the shaping walls of truth

  curving in and out of questions forming

    casting out decisions long since crumbled

      climbing vine-like through the hallowed halls

tethering to no anointed altar

  targeting no restrictive domicile

    templing within no single sacred cloister

      the hot bright breath of God appears.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool:

I think we plan our lives before we are born.  If so, given that I have always spent much time in thinking about what I should do next, I’m sure I planned carefully on the other side. 

I once had an intuition that my growing-up years went just as intended.  I wanted to emphasize working hard on academic pursuits and developing the impetus to achieve.  Now when I question the advisability of all that, surely some balancing act is taking place.

We are our own worst enemy.  We do not have to do all things, even if all of these things are good.  Sometimes I entrap myself over a perceived “good goal” by taking steps to move toward it—knowing all the while that living out the goal will be painful.

Achieving at my maximal level has long been a goal.  I don’t like to be defeated by anything, to drop out of the race without trying sufficiently.  An old “Father Knows Best” television program drove the point home to me while still very young (and aren’t we quite impressionable when young?). 

I sense I could do library administration, albeit not without struggle.  Do I want to be one who, as Milton says, “slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat”?  Yet Milton’s famous passage also suggests that one would know good “by” evil, by the contrast. 

This I don’t believe is necessary.  Maybe now is one time that my doubts should be respected, because the ultimate goal, being ego-related, is questionable (as well as tangential to what I really want to do).  It’s a replay of a “have it all” 1980s motif—surely a way of life most of us are coming to repudiate.

Based on Level of Understanding, Everyone Does His/Her Best

“Your real Self is the Christ in you.  How could it be anything but love, or see with eyes other than those of love?  Would you expect any decent human being to look on a loveless world, on misery and despair, and not be moved?  Think not that those who seem to add to the world’s misery are any exception.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “My real Self is the Christ in me.”

Reflections:

1 – “Evil” Brothers and Sisters

This passage indicates that those whom we see as “evil” or even “sinful” are still moved by the despair in our world.  Can we believe that everybody is doing the best that he or she can, given his/her level of understanding?

2 – Mistakes = Not “Sins”

And there is no “sin,” only mistakes that can be corrected.  We can set aside sin’s attractiveness when we embrace “mistakes” as the errors that we make.  We will not wish to repeat the error (from A Course in Miracles).

3 – Renegades

We know from the writing of individuals who have been dammed by this world for their “sins” that they themselves did not think that they were doing anything wrong.  Even the blackest of “sinners” think well of themselves.  And individuals in prison think that there was something special about their wrongdoing, something that would make it all alright.  Are we any different, we who may go to church on Sundays, may pray, and may seek to follow what we perceive as God’s Way?

4 – Humility

We too make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt the ones that we love more than any others.  We may be filled with a righteousness that Jesus turned against, according to the New Testament.  Let us not have it so.  Let us ask for the humility to know that we do not know how to live.  We need God’s help in this, for only He can set us straight.  And then we will give up our sense of rightness, knowing that only God is truly good.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that others who struggle are nevertheless doing the best that they can, given their current level of understanding.  The same holds true for me, especially when I struggle.  May no dark nights of the soul darken my pathway.  But if a dark night comes, may I immediately turn that dark night over to You, knowing that therein lies the peace and the blessing that I seek.

May I forgive those whom I think should know better.  May I judge no man nor woman, child, nor elder.  This is meant to be a forgiving world, and there are answers in this world for all who seek them.  Let us seek today until we find our needs met.  I know that the solution lies with the problem, and I know that my perception of that solution will come quickly, once I have surrendered, once again, to You.

Amen.