Sunday, July 30, 2006

Love's Helpful Expressions

In mystical life, we speak of the "minimal Love." This is Love given to the stranger, to all strangers, and so, it must lack the very personal nature of what is usually called "Love." This very widespread, indeed, universal, Love must be simple and capable of being "given" to all-- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Since it must be unconditional, it must be given freely to all, and since it must be widespread, it cannot be very complicated.

So, we define this "minimal" Love as: Sincerely to wish the very best success and happiness even for the serial killer. It is also rather fervently to wish for her complete enlightenment in Love; it includes sincere hope for not only her enlightenment in Love, but also for happiness, tranquility, good friends, sufficient material comforts, a healthy mind and body, and several other components.

Mystics frankly do not concern themselves so much with the technical definition or the epistemology of the "good" as they do with the commonsense applications of well-wishing. For example, no mystic would ever wish the serial killer "do well" by killing more victims.

To wish someone well is to wish for them personal success, and what brings them happiness, bounded by goodness, kindness, service, genuine friendship, and other manifestations of Love. This blocks the possibility of wishing "well" for the serial killer in terms of more victims-- a bit of a perversity that would not even occur to the goodness-bound mystic.

While a mystic might choose not to become deeply entangled in the problems of a stranger, creating harm or danger to herself or her friends, if she sees an opportunity to aid any living, especially sentient, creature-- even an animal-- she will respond to the call of Love, and will give aid and assistance. This implies not parental responsibility for other adults, which is a mild pathology, but it does imply reactivity. When a woman is being raped in public, and fifty people look the other way, no mystic would ever be among the complacent and unresponsive. Some mystics might even choose to put themselves in danger to help the woman, although this is not a "law," but a matter of sensitivity of personal guidance (through conscience).

This is usually the case with strangers, about whom you might know little or nothing. The mystic is charged with loving even characters of incompetence and cruelty, such as the "shrub." And I can indeed love bush by wishing him enlightenment and awakening, and thus, the end to his otherwise terrible karma.

The enlightened, in caring, are always supremely cautious never to "parentize," or to love from the "interior parent," an unhealthy and false "love." So, we never take responsibility for the behaviors, actions, thoughts, or words of other adults. And we never try to impose our moral or ethical values upon others. We will teach and share when the opportunity arises, but we are not at all like the "parental" pastors, gurus, psychologists, and others who try to force or to control. Indeed, a core-teaching of the Way is that we must let go of all control. So, we do not encounter the problems of trying illegitimately to override the free choices of another. We can advise out of Love, we can even urge, but we do not believe in personal control.

This is not apathy. It is the simple recognition that every living being contains the same God or Love within them that the mystic has within her. And it is a personal and "inside job" for each to discover this, and to obey Love. Some today, some tomorrow, and some, a thousand years from now. But we relax in the knowing that each will find Love and enlightenment in her own proper time, and no one should be in a hurry. In loving the serial killer in this moment, the mystic loves the goodness (Love, God) deep within the killer, and is certain of the killer's ultimate enlightenment.

The mystic leans more towards the view that true Love includes aiding others to repair their lives in non-invasive, non-intrusive ways that do not involve over-influence, and that never involve control. Mystics do not view apathetically allowing a person to dig more deeply into a psychosis a valid Way of loving. So the mystic will listen, support as much as is morally possible, and discuss the issues non-judgmentally with the person who is so afflicted. She will always use kindness in abundance, and will remain sensitive, as noted, to the other's adulthood and sacred freedom to make whatever decision she chooses. But the concerned mystic does not practice complacency, indifference, or the monstrous idea of moral relativity ("Serial killing might be the best course for this person.") She rejects this nonsense, and knows that, all karma aside, it is her duty of Love, her obligation as a good person, to try to aid a person to find sanity-- and, if possible, move even towards enlightenment. This "accepting a serial killer as she is" as a definition of "Love" is either an excuse for lazy non-action at best; or, at worst, it is just bs and selfdelusion.

The recognition of decency, goodness, and kindness is never a matter of "superior" or "inferior." If God has given us a vision of Love as action, even remedial action, then we go as far as we can to implement it. As noted, we do not override the freedom of any adult to do this, but we make suggestions for improvement. Love calls us to do this; and Love tells us that whatever or whoever is right in front of us is our assignment or task from Love. At the moment, it is this article, for example.

This view-- that all values, without exception, are simply subjective and personal-- represents, to the moderate mystic, an extreme. For there are many subjective and personal characteristics of value-systems and value-judgments. The mystic does not want to impose, but she does believe that there are nevertheless truly harmful actions and helpful actions. More simply, there are true "good" and "bad" in the cosmos. This prevents the mystic from the slippery slide of moral relativity, wich says that "anything goes," and that a person is somehow "wrong" to conclude that certain actions are harmful.

But this is, in fact, how the mystic largely describes "good" and"evil": That which deliberately, voluntarily harms other living creatures, especially sentient ones, is "evil," and that which aids them is "good." Again, moral relativism seems to be more an excuse for non-action or non-response to people in need than it is a well-thought-out philosophy. It is a (false) defense for apathy, complacency, and even cruelty. It can also, btw, excuse or neglect as morally meaningful any behavior that you choose to justify. Those boobs called the "nazis" proved beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt that the human mind is capable of invalidly justifying or rationalizing any behavior at all. This is the important lesson that they gave us from history.

The caring person strives for elasticity, humility, and flexibility. She does not want to come across as a shallow, arrogant "know-it-all," which helps no one. But her flexibility is more that of plastic than that of water. For if you become "too liquid," you have no solid foundations for your own life or morality. You then become the inevitable victim of stronger personalities. You can be moderately open-minded without becoming value-free. This reminds me of the little joke: "If you are too open-minded, your brains might fall out." Of course, absence of ethics and morality has nothing to do with true open--mindedness. The mystic can remain open, and can respectfully listen to others, while still holding to her moral Center. When she is surrounded by neonazis, for example, she does not become a neonazi. when she is surrounded by cult-members, she does not lose perspective and fall into cult-thinking, losing her freedom.

In allowing any adult to be the person that she must be, and in allowing her to take her karmic tests, including confusion and ignorance, the mystic does not follow by falling into the delusions, and never the harmful behavior, of another. Her moral compass and gyroscope are made even firmer by challenge, and she loves best by shining her light of Love into another life. But again, it is emphasized, she does not coerce, force, push, manipulate, or interfere. She is never arrogant, or brazen, but shares Love with the attitude and comforting words of healing.

At times, as when the woman is being attacked in public, Love might require sacrifice. You might have to sacrifice comfort or convenience, or even personal safety, in the service of Love. (But you never sacrifice the safety of others, for this is not within your rights.) "Sacrifice" arises from two Latin words meaning "to make holy." So, the mystic "makes her life holy" by every act of Love; and her every thought of Love is a "prayer," while her actions of Love are her worship; her cathedral is the cosmos, ordinary life among imperfect human beings.

The mystic uses her mind, a gift from Mind, to determine what Love asks (or, more rarely, demands) from her. Then, she answers the call according to her capacities and limitations, avoiding perfectionism. For most people, "Love" is like the Supreme Court's definition of obscenity: They cannot clearly define it intellectually, but they know Love when they see it, or feel it. The mystic believes that Love is the Source of our Love-definitions and -actions. Following her own interior and subjective Tao honestly, she knows when to act, and what to do, in response to the guidance of Love. And Love is the Source of all her spiritual behavior. For her, this solves the problem of epistemology.

As a simple pattern of thoughts, mysticism can be even harmful. An unstable mind could conclude, "This is all just a dream, and nothing really matters." Without Love-- and Love is both feeling and action--mysticism would be a dead and barren view. "Mysticism without Love" is an oxymoron, impossible. It simply could not exist. And Love is truly proved only by implementation. For without that, it remains only a matter of pretty words, powerless and impotent in the real world.

But in Love, at times, the sincerity of the wish can be all that matters. Love is arguably never perfect; but it never has to be. If a person does her honest best to express maximum Love, its technical "perfection"" becomes unimportant. The value of a life is measured by not only results but intention. the life of Jesus could be considered a failure if measured by only results; for his "followers" have been violent, unjust, atrocious barbarians capable of every atrocity. But his intention also counts. The Buddha said similarly that all karma was created by intention. If you intend to help another, and end up, by no fault of your own, harming her, you still get the good, positive karma. For your intention was good.

Conversely, if you want to harm someone, and end up helping her, you still get the negative or harmful karma. For your intention was bad.

The intent honestly to love is itself an act of real Love, and so, it counts. If you truly believe that some course is better for someone,that it will bring or increase happiness, and you are careful not to force or"parentize," then your best wishes will likely cause no damage. Always giving your best-- however imperfect--is itself also an act of Love.

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