Sunday, 27 May 2007

Aspects of love

Since the moment of my daughter’s first hearing of the accident on the M25 on 7th May, and of learning that it had involved a group of her friends, the available time and space within my thoughts – that which results in the words I lay down on these pages – has had only one possible focus: aspects of love, of loss and of grief.

Every moment in our lives is filled with potential. A single moment has the power to change anything and everything, and when it does the effects linger long after the moment, the hour and the day have passed. Our lives can be changed utterly, for good or ill.

History is made of such moments.
There is hope for the most evil of men, but they are finally lost in a single thought, word or deed; and every saint is born of similarly fleeting moments.
As William Butler Yeats wrote in his poem, Easter 1916, ‘All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.’

In the same poem he also says the following, which I include here as a final footnote to my posts of 16th May:

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.

Goodness could be summed up as an awareness of the need to love, a willingness to respond to that awareness, and a preparedness and ability to manifest that love in a response. From many angles goodness and love are one and the same.
There are among us some truly amazing people, and I believe there are probably far more of them than we are ever likely to realize.
They are the ones who always seem able to think of others before themselves; who cheerfully burden themselves with the problems and needs of others regardless of their own lack of time, or energy, or sleep, or financial security, and without giving any hint of their own needs, or even their considerable distress when their own lives are filled with seemingly insurmountable troubles.

Most of us are not able to attain, let alone maintain, this level of goodness.
We get there sometimes, and, occasionally, we may surprise ourselves by maintaining both our commitment and our smile over an extended period; but perhaps only for a certain person, or in selected situations, or at particular times. We try, and we quietly tell ourselves that we do our best; we fail, and we brush our failures aside while hanging onto an inflated satisfaction of having done something, for someone, at sometime in the past.
In no way do we see ourselves, or do others see us as bad people. We are ordinary good people: we have our faults, but we mean no harm to anybody. By no stretch of the imagination could we be seen as evil people. Our ordinariness is apparent through our lack (but not a total lack) of love.

M. Scott Peck has written on this in his book, ‘The Road Less Travelled’.
He equates a lack of love with forms of laziness, saying that ‘Ordinary laziness is non-love; evil is anti-love’, and that, ’Evil is laziness carried to its ultimate, extraordinary extreme.’
He goes on to say, ’ … Ordinary laziness is a passive failure to love. Some ordinary lazy people may not lift a finger to extend themselves unless they are compelled to do so. Their being is a manifestation of nonlove; still, they are not evil. Truly evil people, on the other hand, actively rather than passively avoid extending themselves. They will take any action in their power to protect their own laziness, to preserve the integrity of their sick self. Rather than nurturing others, they will actually destroy others in this cause. … As the integrity of their sick self is threatened by the spiritual health of those around them, they will seek by all manner of means to crush and demolish the spiritual health that may exist near them.’
Once we have come to recognize the truth conveyed in his words, we become aware of just how much ‘evil people’ do indeed ‘resist the awareness of their own condition’.

My mind dwells, unhappily and reluctantly, upon these matters through opening someone else’s post this morning.
One of those rare persons whose life is one continuous commitment to goodness and the expression and manifestation of love, and whom I have known for many years, has gone to spend time helping in an orphanage in the far East. An ongoing source of great distress for her, caused by people who are so far removed from her goodness, has meant that I am having to open letters from some sources to ensure that the situation does not get completely out of hand in her absence.
I recognise Scott Peck’s ‘evil people’ in those who cause this distress; they well know the goodness they constantly attack and abuse, and it is their recognition of that goodness which brings about and maintains their apparent hatred towards her. I know of no other person in this world who could feel anything other than love for her.
I thank God that I have never known anyone else I could ever have regarded as being evil; but how I wish I could say I did not find myself capable of such thought towards any person.
I am aware that in saying this I could be accused of being judgmental, but I have simply tried to be honest about my feelings so that I may lend weight to what I shall propose in my next post, as an essential requirement of spiritual peace.

Scott Peck neatly covers my own experience in the following words: -
‘As entropy … and the evolutionary flow of love … are opposing forces, it is only natural that these forces will be relatively in balance in most people, while a few at one extreme will manifest almost pure love, and a few at the other extreme pure entropy or evil. Since they are conflicting forces, it is also inevitable that those at the extremes will be locked in combat; it is as natural for evil to hate goodness as it is for goodness to hate evil.’
The outwardly visible manifestation of this combat throws up one glaring difference between the two combatants; evil appears to hate the person as well as the goodness they possess, while goodness hates only the evil. The truly good person continues to love the person, and continues to hope for the transformation that is possible right up until their dying breath.

Both destruction and salvation remain within reach for each one of us, until that moment when potential becomes reality: - for good or ill; that moment in which we make our final choice on the battlefields of loss and gain, of joy and grief; among the glorious blooms and terrible thorns of conflict between the powers of good and evil: - among the various aspects of love.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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