Life is good and bad and increasingly complex. The best way to live is by truth and love joined in creative action. This is the way of goodness or God.
Making the best of life
We all want to live and do well. Our natural bent is to make the best of ourselves and our opportunities.
Living well can mean different things. It depends on what life purpose or goal we set for ourselves. There are two key choices: whether we are prepared to submit to what we know is right, and whether we live for ourselves or others.
If we choose just to please ourselves, we may gain materially or in other ways (ease, convenience and so on) but experience shows that there is a better way. This is the way of self-actualisation, seeking constantly to be our “best self.”
We achieve our best self by living ethically. This is the way of goodness, the way of truth, love and creative action.
The way life is
To be human is to be capable of much but also to be subject to limitations. We feel we are the centre of everything and act that way, but we are not.
Our lives are a balance of good and bad, like yin and yang. People too are naturally good and bad. Even when the bad seems absolutely dominant, goodness is present, though it may be hidden.
Outcomes in our lives are not pre-ordained though they are partly predictable. Chance plays a big part, balancing certainty. However, we are all subject to suffering and death – and death is final.
While these and other fundamentals do not change, life is becoming ever more complex. This is in parallel with the Universe as a whole, which science tells us is constantly expanding.
Increasing complexity creates endless opportunities for life to be better (or worse). But nothing happens without effort from us.
Life is half good and half bad, but as long as the world exists we have to assume there is a slight balance in favour of the good.
History is full of uncertainties. We should therefore make no assumptions about the future, though science predicts the Earth may last another billion or more years.
The best life is the one of truth and love joined in creative action. Truth has many aspects: not just honesty but also diligence, fairness, humility and so on. Love also has many aspects, extending to simple respect and courtesy. Truth and love are interdependent, and creative action inevitably follows them both.
In the healthy and integrated life, we deal with fate along similar lines. We accept the truth of whatever happens to us, we appreciate or “love” whatever is good, and we take whatever action is necessary to make things better.
Religion has value for as long as it gives us a credible framework for living and puts into practice its beliefs.
There are religious worldviews that are fundamentally different, however they also have remarkable similarities.
No single religion is sufficient in itself. Only when we view all together and embrace creativism do we start to see some of the truth.
Getting the best out of oneself
Getting the best out of life
Being truthful in all things
Respecting and caring for all
Accepting our circumstances
Appreciating whatever is good
Committing to making things better
The way of goodness doesn’t remove the pain of living but it compensates. It brings a deep satisfaction which is greater than the surface or temporary happiness that comes from a life of pleasure.
WE CAN CHOOSE TO MAKE THIS OUR ENDPOINT OR WE CAN MOVE ON …
The next level
We can choose the way of goodness because it is right in human terms or because it is part of something greater – God or Allah or Brahman or the Tao or any of the other manifestations of the divine.
We can believe there is such a thing as the divine if we accept that we are part of something immeasurably larger than ourselves. Typically the divine is identified with goodness – goodness to the ultimate degree - because we recognise this as life-enhancing.
The ultimate goodness which we call God can be interpreted as right order (truth) joined with right relationship (love) in creative action. Seen this way, God is not a person but a presence in our lives, and not an all-powerful deity but an inexhaustible and enduring influence for good.
Goodness (God) is not responsible for evil or suffering, but it counters and alleviates them. Goodness is not the full reality of life, nor indeed can we say it is our source. It appears rather that we come from a mysterious and unknowable source that transcends both good and evil. This source was before the big bang, and even before time as we know it. It was a massive creative force that gave birth to everything.
Those of us who aspire to the spiritual life have a double challenge. We expand our lives by living in the fullness of truth, love and creative action. At the same time we also seek to push through the ever-increasing complexity of life and get to the essence – the simplicity, the beauty, the oneness that underlies all things.