Many of us older folk grew up with a belief in the importance of righteousness, that it’s a good thing to walk a path of righteousness and even to commit your life to righting wrongs and if not correcting others to preach to them of the error of their ways.
However as we look out onto our world today and see the effects of those who are polarised in their righteousness. Obviously President Putin has woven a narrative of righteousness about his actions against Ukraine and the wider world but we also see the hand of righteousness in the Roe vs Wade issue in the USA and even the enforcement of women having to cover their faces in Afghanistan. It appears that these behaviours driven by righteousness basically take humanity backwards. As the Secretary General of the UN said, how can we be resorting to war in the 21st centaury? And now the Governor of the State of Mississippi will not rule out making contraception illegal. In these cases it seems righteousness works against a growth in consciousness and increases polarisation and separation.
After delving into the depths of our minds as we have done for 30 years now to look at the driving forces of our behaviours and positions it is clear that righteousness and the fundamentalism it creates are a cover for our levels of guilt, personal and collective. To put it clearly: our levels of righteousness hide our levels of wrongfulness.
We have learned to steer clear of those that take a strong judgemental position about just about anything because the resulting righteousness will sooner or later be pointed at anyone who does not drink all the koolaid and slavishly follow the party line. Guilt is a very destructive force and therefore anything built on guilt has to be destructive and vicious. The extent of our guilt is the extent to which we become stuck in our lives, not moving forward and not learning or evolving.
Our teaching has taught us to look at the loss of someone in our lives younger than us in a different way and it has been our experience that there is merit to this perception. If circumstances in our lives lead us for whatever reason to the loss of a life, then while there is a mourning and a letting go that is called for there is also a deeper lesson, based on the belief that the world we live in is a mirror reflecting back to us lessons we need to learn. So the loss of a child either by abortion or still birth or by accident or illness reflects back to us metaphorically when we, due to intense trauma, had an aspect of ourselves who also died. The soul that came in even for a short time had a purpose to show us this loss and remind us of who we really are. When this awareness is gained then the child’s life is no longer in vain and when the tragedy becomes a lesson learned it is no longer a loss but a leap forward in the understanding of how we are loved that others would go through certain experiences for us to learn to love ourselves again.
Naturally when we are caught by the guilt this perspective is lost to us so then our world becomes a world of loss, tragedy, guilt and suffering. What is really lost is wisdom which comes from learning the lessons that end the suffering. This week is mental health week and there can be no greater contribution to our mental instability than a sense of loss, leading to sadness and depression and guilt that keeps us stuck and basically takes us backwards into patterns of behaviour that reinforce the mistakes of the past.
This week we could play our part and start to give up our righteousness and commit to learning the lessons that free us from our past. Then and only then can we start to build our world based on love and compassion.
Jeff and Sue