This is the 2nd of a 3-part series. Read the first.
Or listen to the full talk.
Just choose Love over Fear!
Love forgives. Fear blames and holds grudges.
Not so fast.
This may be true. In fact, I know it is, but for most of us it’s not that simple. The truth is:
Love is able to hold the deeper view of non-separation,
so there is no-one to blame and hold a grudge against.
Our ego personality can’t see this. We see ourselves as separate beings that things are done to.
- The separate being of me does something to the separate being of you that causes harm in some way.
- Or vice versa.
But what if this view is a wrong-minded perception as A Course in Miracles would say?
What if it’s really true that at our core, all is One, as all faith traditions I’ve come across affirm.
It’s true that this Oneness is housed in separate bodies. There’s no denying that we look different on the outside.
But the core of reality is consistently described as a Oneness from which all things arise.
The metaphor of the ocean helps me understand this.
- I think we can pretty easily see how the water in the ocean is one water, right?
- And yet the waves take many different forms.
- And drops of water take shapes, too—droplets, spray, some bigger or smaller…
- And the bottom of the ocean might be completely still and calm while a storm is raging above.
- It’s all the same ocean, all the same water… all the same Oneness.
If we accept this as true, then when our separate egos do things that consciously or unconsciously cause harm, what are we harming?
Our ego personalities? They are part of the Oneness, too.
Any harm done by or to us affects us and the other. We are completely connected underneath the surface waves, just like the water.
From this perspective, Oneness or you could call it Life / God / Goddess / True Nature / Being is unfolding through us:
- Through our actions.
- Through our minds and hearts.
- And all the harm done by or to us is part of this unfolding.
This goes directly against our very human desire to know what is right or good and to make sure we are on the right side of it.
We want to be good people. We want to know who has done something wrong and do something about it.
But what if there is no Good or Bad?
- What if our trying to make situations fit into good / bad, right / wrong is really just an attempt by our dualistic mind to know where we stand, to understand the world, to feel a sense of security and stability?
- What if it’s a wrong-minded perception that causes us to miss the Oneness?
Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, in her book When Things Fall Apart, says:
The whole right and wrong business closes us down and makes our world smaller.
Wanting situations and relationships to be solid, permanent, and graspable
obscures the pith of the matter, which is that things are fundamentally groundless.
This can feel very scary. All of a sudden, it’s not so clear how to determine if I’m a Good person anymore.
- If I can’t make the other who has hurt me Bad, how do I know I am Good?
- Doesn’t practicing the Good F-Word make me a Good person?
If everything is part of the Oneness, there is no Good vs. Bad.
- Why would the Oneness split off parts of itself?
- Doesn’t it express through everything, in all forms?
As Pema continues:
Whether it’s ourselves, our lovers, bosses, children, local Scrooge, or the political situation,
it’s more daring and real not to shut anyone out of our hearts
and not to make the other into an enemy.
We learned really early on how to be good from our parents, our culture, our personality, our religion… and it got internalized by our inner critic that lets us know whenever we stray by judging us from the inside to get us back on the straight and narrow.
But does this splitting of good / bad, right / wrong serve us?
- Does it make you happy to separate yourself as over here and look at others as over there?
- Does it make you happy when your inner critic judges you as doing something wrong?
- Does it make you happy when you judge others as wrong, bad, immoral, ignorant, corrupt?
I doubt it.
It might whip you into action, but what is that action motivated by?
Probably not love. Or Oneness.
And we know that even social justice from that place can become tainted and unloving—without awareness of the Oneness, it can only hold a slice of the truth.
Pema suggests we “contemplate the fact that there is a larger alternative to [making ourselves right or wrong], a more tender, shaky kind of place where we could live.”
I invite you to bring to mind a circumstance in which you are having a hard time forgiving yourself or someone else.
- Close your eyes and give yourself to thinking about it.
- Ideally something up close and personal.
- But if you’re having a hard time coming up with something, try choosing a part of our current political situation.
- Notice your thoughts: the judging, the blame, the anger, the outrage. All of it.
- Now bring your awareness to your heart and body.
- How are you feeling? See if you can name 2-3 feelings. If you’re not sure, look for hurt, anger, resentment, grief…
- What’s going on in your body? How is your body reflecting this suffering?
- Scan for places of tension, numbness, rigidity, clenching…
- Of collapse, shoulders rounding in to protect your heart, slouching, lack of energy…
- Or anything else…
- If you’re willing, place your hand on the center of your chest, on your heart center.
- What if all this suffering is not good / bad, right / wrong?
- What if it just is? It is your very human response to trying to make sense of something really hard.
- Can you be with that, accept that, without needing to separate yourself or find a sense of solidity by being the good or the bad one?
- What if it’s the Oneness of life expressing through you and this other? For some reason that you do or don’t understand.
- For your growth, for the other’s growth, for our world’s waking up.
- Can you stay with the pain, the soft vulnerability of that without splitting?
- Can you stay with this groundless place of the ever-changing flow of life and your place in that flow?
- Can you find a place of refuge in this open, soft moment of willingness?
- Thank you.
Our egos, in an attempt to find happiness, do things that cause real pain to ourselves and others.
Suffering happens when we resist and don’t accept what is happening. Responding from suffering creates more suffering. It solidifies the right / wrong position and sets us up to judge ourselves and others.
We don’t need suffering to get life done, to take right action, to work for social justice.
For that, we need Love. Only Love will soften our hearts and clear our minds to truly guide us into right action.
As Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
I’d love to know–How is this landing for you?
Read the 3rd in this 3-part series or listen to the full talk.
6 thoughts on “Beyond Rightdoing and Wrongdoing”
Whoa!!! SO needed to hear all of this right now thank you Katy ❤️
you are so welcome! it feels so good to share this journey!
You got me this time. 🙂
🙂 what’s landing?