APR 29. 2016
In my previous post, I shared some thoughts on how to fortify our innate ability to make confident life decisions by listening to the heart and acting on its inspiration, and how to steer clear of the minefield of confusion and doubt.
Why listen to the heart?
There is intrinsic goodness within everyone. We do not have to think how to be good. It just happens. When someone asks, "What is your name?" you do not have to think. It spills out. Does it require effort or imagination to speak the truth? Only lies require effort. Goodness comes naturally.
Some perform their daily rituals, whether spiritual or religious, out of fear. They think that if they skip the rituals, they may be fated for hell. Some others, in enforced piety, perform rituals out of temptation for a heavenly abode, offering prayers to God to allow for their safe passage in this world and for reception by him into his.
But to seek a return on an investment of love is to profane that love. This is the reason that “love for the sake of loving” has been highly praised. When our input is tainted with desire or ego, the bond between the divine and the devotee suffers. Bribing the divine with ritual inducements in return for economic prosperity, not to mention a happy, healthy and wise life: can this be just? When a person has a transactional relationship with the divine, he will naturally learn to behave the same with other people — to take advantage.
Suppose a drug maker wants to boost his profit by mixing counterfeit but harmless fillers with potent ingredients, but then rethinks. It occurs to him that he might get caught and lose him customers, so he decides against it. Does that decision make him virtuous? Although he did not cheat, it was for the wrong reason: his reputation. However, in so doing, he has compromised the intrinsic goodness of his own heart.
If we refrain from doing wrong — but only because we are afraid of being discovered — it proves that we still require rules and policies to avoid straying from a principled life. But if we allow our intrinsic goodness, our decency, to manifest and prevail, automatically and justly in the natural outcome, rules and policies become redundant. The more the rules and policies, the further we stray from our intrinsic goodness.
If our acts are righteous, but only in so far as to look good in front of others, we still compromise our intrinsic goodness. Society may reward us for our virtue, but though our acts may be just they are not pure. We still are not expressing our true goodness. We are only wearing masks of goodness and morality. It’s an imitation — a counterfeit of virtue.
To burnish our reputation by doing good deeds only because others are watching increases our burden of ego, which then disturbs us at the subconscious level.
Allowing our innate goodness to manifest is not complicated or difficult. It’s in the heart’s nature to do so. When the mind is at rest, the heart automatically responds to creation. For example, it is our duty to support our family, and it is the heart that responds to that call of duty. When the mind interferes in the process, it only creates layers of complexity. But an evolved or meditative mind naturally and effortlessly aligns with the heart.
When the mind is but a witness to the receptive heart, the two attain perfect synchronicity, the conscience remains clear and our goodness manifests naturally.
In life we have many duties. Whether it’s towards an organization, our society or the nation, our heart should innately respond to each one of them as appropriate.
At the same time, we must be responsive to our own need — to prepare, refine and sensitize our heart and to bring our mind to rest, which is accomplished through the sincere practice of meditation. This allows us to easily capture the waves of inspired creativity that arise from the heart. We take advantage of those inspirations to change ourselves and, ultimately, to transform ourselves.
The process of meditation accordingly fosters our transformation into better individuals. It is then that we are more responsive in our duties, to ourselves and towards others, and discharge them with pointed and charged effectiveness.
What is more, we should not compare our effectiveness or skill with that of others. That is not a useful utilization of ego. When we look upon others, it should be for the sake of inspiration. This is the correct utilization of ego. Competition is only healthy when it is against oneself, where we attempt to continuously improve by being better than we were the last time.
Consequently, we are able to set higher and higher goals for ourselves. Like peaceful warriors, we battle our own imperfections, performing each act with greater skill each time. This enables us to take on greater responsibility. By manifesting the heart’s intrinsic values, we thus awaken to the call of duty.
The whole process of transformation takes on a different meaning when we advance from the understanding that, “I belong to this world,” to the idea that, “the world is mine!” This may perhaps sound egotistic, but without the feeling of ownership, of belongingness, we’ll always shortchange ourselves in an enormous way.
When there exists a sense of belonging we build relationships, and where there ceases to be a sense of belonging we break relationships. But when we are able to say that the entire universe belongs to us, we automatically accept everything and everyone inside it.
This heartfelt acceptance now allows us to surpass the need to tolerate or surrender to anything. It is the intrinsic goodness of the heart that can make me accept all that is, as mine. By the same token, it also makes me become theirs. Henceforth, all that can happen will always be for all of us. Thus, together, we build our united destiny.