Like the scent of a flower in the spring air, a pointer to the truth will mysteriously take you to somewhere so real, showing you that you’ve always been naturally free, and then it will disappear, as easily as it appeared, but never truly leave you ever again. Always with you, it can never be found either. This is the natural paradox of communicating truth.
Keeping this in mind, the nature of the pointer versus the actual Truth, turn off your intellect and experience, rather than reading the words. Read, but don’t understand. Smell the flower, don’t dig it up and take it home.
As individuals, we can never act against our own best interest. It may appear so to others, looking from the outside, but to us, there is always a benefit being sought. If you help someone, there is a benefit to you. It may make you feel good to help someone. It may align with your beliefs and make you feel good to act in a way consistent with how you see reality. If you do something self destructive, there is also a benefit which underlies those actions. Maybe one is seeking attention, avoiding pain, seeking a feeling other than mundane, sometimes numb, existence. Even the ultimate self destruction, suicide, is simply another way to seek a benefit, whether it be cessation of suffering or a message to people left behind etc.
Whether the person acting, or those watching, see an action as “good” or “bad”, the underlying motivation is the same - desire for something we want, to be happy, free of suffering.
Evil, as we call those actions which hurt others, occurs to the extent that one is deluded by their own feeling of separation from others, and reality itself. One’s potential for hurting others, or acting in an evil way if we choose that terminology, increases as the delusion of being a separate, disconnected entity which must be fearful for its own survival. Make no mistake, however, because those who are “evil” are also acting from the desire for happiness, as deluded as it may be. Their motivation is the same as the person who is charitable, and seemingly “selfless”.
This all may sound very depressing at first. If this is true, isn’t everything people do, good or evil, just a big fraud? The good person doesn’t really want to help anyone but themselves and the evil person doesn’t really want to hurt someone else but simply make themselves feel good. Try to sit with this before reading on. Try to answer the questions that might arise by seeing that everyone is just running around seeking their own benefit, no matter what they say or do. How does this change the way you see the world? Is it bad?
The problem is not the desire, not seeking happiness for one’s self, benefit, truth, or whatever else you call this underlying motivation for people’s action. In fact, there is really no problem at all. This motivation stems from the divine itself. The desire to be happy, whole, in peace, is a divine spring moving through us all. So, why does it express itself in ways that seem selfish, evil, painful, and totally opposite to what we might expect from the source of all that is of love and goodness and perfection?
Remember the first paragraph above. Read it again. If you continue, this whole thing should dissolve like the scent of a flower in the spring air. This is not the truth. Some will be stuck in the intellect from reading the last few paragraphs. That’s ok. A few will read on, but get stuck trying to hold onto the flower. Still fewer will fade away on the breeze, floating away with the flower’s scent.
The essence of the illusion, that which makes our underlying motivation seem selfish, disingenuous, and even evil, is one’s delusion of separateness, both from one another, the world, and the divine. If one sees oneself as separate, then your motivation for happiness can be at odds with others, can transform what should have been a kind act into simply a self satisfying lie, and eventually lead to the evil of actively seeking to harm others for our own pleasure.
If you want to make someone act horribly to others, isolate them, separate them, and cause them to feel totally alone and detached from any support. They will then be able to destroy others for their own happiness because there is no connection. Hurting others for one’s own benefit begins to be natural for one who is cut off from others.
Conversely, to bring someone together with others, forming real connections and understanding, will cause them to envelope others into their own desire to be happy, seeing their own happiness as attached to that of others. Yet, even these people, while having a closer connection to some, are still cut off from the deeper truth and connection they’ve moved closer to.
The point where Adam and Eve became self conscious is the point where evil became possible. Self interest, rather than union with the divine in perfectiont, became the nature of the world. In every other major religion, the same truth underlies the existence of “evil” and suffering in the world. When we see ourselves as separate from God, from Truth, from the oneness of reality, the notion of suffering and evil arise.
One who has realized who they really are can never be alone, cut off, turned into someone who perpetrates evil against another. There are no others. There is no loneliness. There is only perfection. This one’s motivation is like the sky, open to all who gaze upon it.
When we realize what has always been there for us, who we’ve always been, there are no ethics needed, no morality needed, no laws that could apply. When we see that we are not all separate individuals, then that underlying motivation we talked about before, which seemed so depressing and pessimistic, now seems like universal love and connection. It is the ultimate expression of God’s love. Everything you could ever do, from the moment of realization of your oneness with everything, could only be for the benefit of every seemingly separate thing, from the smallest atom to the ever expanding universe.
When one finally experiences this, not just intellectually fumbling around with the concepts, life will be transformed. Anxiety will be transformed to a knowing smile, depression to a profound laugh, happiness to a boundless, spacious, indescribable quality with no opposite. You are this right now, and its expression awaits us all.