good and evil

Good and Evil, Positive and Nagative

“Life on Earth is a combination of good and evil, happiness and suffering, love and hate. The life of a man contains contains great lessons about good, bad, love, and hatred, for which he pays dearly. Be glad when you come across evil, be glad when you come across good. Be glad that people die, and be glad that people are born. Death comes to changes one’s old and worn-down cloth with a new one. Evil comes to teach you a lesson.

“Holding on to evil thoughts and negative feelings in you will surely bring you a disaster or disease. By holding on to negative thoughts and negative feelings, you attract the negative powers of the world.

“One achieves good results when he works in good disposition of his spirit. Divine consciousness works in man when he is in good disposition.

“A thousand years is not enough to achieve something, if you ever achieve anything without working with love. … Act with love. There is no other power that can soften a man’s pride.” ~Biensa Douno

Good and Evil

Some people, and apparently some spiritual schools, believe that duality doesn’t exist. They say there is no good or evil. Everything is equal, everything is as it should be. This is the philosophy of sheep and fools. But it doesn’t surprise me that it is popular. Many governments, and their corporate sponsors, love nothing more than turning people into contented sheep. But believing this is saying that rape, murder, theft, etc. are acceptable. Sorry, but I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who accepts that as true.

Douno, like most sensible spiritual teachers, does accept that we live in a world of duality and good and evil coexist in it. But accepting that both exist, doesn’t mean we accept that both are equal, or that both should be embraced. There is no evil in heaven. We don’t create a heaven on earth by accepting it here. We don’t rise to higher levels of consciousness by allowing the lowest levels to control us.

Great Lessons

There is some value in evil deeds. Sometimes, the evil-doers of the world serve as excellent agents for karmic debt. That doesn’t excuse the evil they do. As Douno mentions, another way that evil serves a purpose is to teach us a lesson. How successfully it does that varies depending on the individual. Others say that good and evil must both exist in order for us to have free-choice. It also gives us a contrast between the two sides. This still does not make evil deeds and thoughts acceptable. We can’t pretend they don’t exist, but neither can we embrace them.

Birth and Death

Douno advises us to be glad that death happens, saying that death replaces the old with the new. While this is true, death of the old and worn out is necessary only in a realm where things and beings age and decay. That happens only in the material world, the realm of the Demiurge. Aging and decay don’t happen in spiritual realms. Thus there is no reason for death to exist there, so it doesn’t. So in the world of matter where good and evil both exist, we accept that death is necessary. Yet we also accept that it shouldn’t be that way and when this world is transformed back into spirit, all death will end.

Dueling Duality

Not all cases of duality can truly be considered as good and evil. Male and female are both necessary for the reproduction of humans and most other lifeforms on Earth. Yet such reproduction is only necessary because life in the material universe is temporary, and therefore might be considered mildly evil. And bathing in extremely hot water is uncomfortable, if not dangerous. The same for very cold water. So we mix some cold with the hot to get a good temperature for bathing. So male and female, hot and cold, might be considered examples of duality that are not a good and evil pairing.

Negative Thoughts

Douno advises that clinging to negative thoughts and feelings leads to disaster or disease. While that may be an extreme version of it, there can be little doubt that negative thoughts and feelings lead to irrational decisions. And irrational decisions are rarely good ones.

Worrying

While some might argue that sometimes worry can be a positive emotion, there is little doubt that it is usually a negative one. On the scale of good and evil, it definitely falls on the evil side. I’ve known people who would worry so much about things that were not true, and over which they had no control anyway, that they made themselves physically ill. I know in my own case, my blood pressure always goes up when I go to the doctors because I worry that the doctor will find something seriously wrong. If I could go into the doctor’s office with an attitude that I will be congratulated for doing such a good job of maintaining my health, my blood pressure would stay low.

Fear

Fear is another negative emotion that is very common and incredibly harmful. Not only can fear, like worry, raise your blood pressure, affect your digestion, or otherwise harm your physical health, It will cause many irrational decisions. Sadly, in the United States now, we are witnessing this with a president and his staff that encourage fear to divide and conquer. This puts fear way over to the evil side of the good and evil scale. For more on fear, check this older post about Fear of Death.

Change for Good

The good news is that we do have the ability to rid ourselves of negative feelings and thoughts. There are many methods of doing this, and I’m not going to go deeply into any of them. There are plenty of books that can help if needed.

Visualizing is one popular way of making a change. That can include getting your attitudes over to the good side of the good and evil scale. If you find yourself worrying about something, you simply close your eyes and visualize a solution. For example, if you are worried about being able to pay a bill, visualize yourself making the payment without thinking about where the money will come from. That may or may not work, but it is worth a try. But you can’t just visualize it, you have to believe it when you do.

Spiritual Good and Evil

Yes, there is good and evil involved in spiritual growth. First, there are evil spirits. Whether you call them demons, devils, or negative forces doesn’t matter. That they exist and like to encourage us to do evil does matter. So we have to be on guard for this and be sure we are not making decisions based on negative thoughts or suggestions from those evil spirits. And at the end of each day, consider everything we did that day and consider how we could have done better. Even if we are already on the good side of the good and evil scale, we can always do better.

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cravings

Cravings and Attachments Come From Fear

“If we have fear, we can’t be completely happy. If we’re still running after the object of our desire, then we still have fear. Fear goes together with craving. We want to be safe and happy, so we begin to crave a particular person or object or idea (such as wealth or fame) that we think will guarantee our well-being. We can never fully satisfy our craving, so we keep running and we stay scared. If you stop running after the object of your craving—whether it’s a person, a thing, or an idea—your fear will dissipate. Having no fear, you can be peaceful. With peace in your body and mind, you aren’t beset by worries, and in fact you have fewer accidents. … Fear spoils our lives and makes us miserable. We cling to objects and people, like a drowning person clings to any object that floats by. By practicing nonattachment and sharing this wisdom with others, we give the gift of nonfear. Everything is impermanent. This moment passes. The object of our craving walks away, but we can know happiness is always possible.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Cravings

We generally don’t relate cravings to fear, with a few exception. A craving for peace relates to a fear of war. Craving health relates to a fear of illness and death. But we don’t think of most cravings as being about fear.

But any craving can be connected to a fear, either directly or indirectly. A craving for chocolate may have developed out of a craving for food which comes from a fear of starvation. A craving for expensive clothing may come from a fear of poverty. A constant desire for entertainments like concerts and movies may be hiding a fear of facing reality.

Legitimate Cravings

There are cravings that are good. When your body craves water, for example. Or when you realize that materialism is empty and start to crave something more. Craving something your body actually needs isn’t wrong. Craving those things we don’t need, and which often harm us, is wrong. We all have cravings though. Continue reading “Cravings and Attachments Come From Fear”

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death fear, fear power

Death Fear Becomes Fear of Life

“Our greatest fear is that when we die, we will become nothing. Many of us believe our entire existence is limited to a particular period, our “lifespan.” We believe it begins when we are born—when, out of being nothing, we become something—and it ends when we die and become nothing again. So we are filled with a fear of annihilation. But if we look deeply, we can have a very different understanding of our existence. We can see that birth and death are just notions; they’re not real. The Buddha taught that there is no birth and no death. Our belief that these ideas about birth and death are real creates a powerful illusion that causes us a great deal of suffering. When we understand that we can’t be destroyed, we’re liberated from fear. It’s a huge relief. We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.
“When you lose a loved one, you suffer. But if you know how to look deeply, you have a chance to realize that his or her nature is truly the nature of no-birth, no-death. There is manifestation, and there is the cessation of manifestation in order to have another manifestation. You have to be alert to recognize the new manifestations of one person. But with practice and effort, you can do it. Pay attention to the world around you, to the leaves and the flowers, to the birds and the rain. If you can stop and look deeply, you will recognize your beloved manifesting again and again in many forms.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Death Fear

Fear of death is indeed one of the greatest fears for most of us. More accurately, we fear that there is no afterlife and we will just cease to exist. Or perhaps worse, that there is an after life and we will end up in hell. All of those fears can be overcome in one way or another.

As for the fear that there is no afterlife and we simply end when the body dies, what is there to fear in that? Not that it is true, but if it was, so what? You end, it’s over, no more pains, no more worries. It is not something we have any control over so fearing it and worrying about it is useless.

We have people who spend a great deal of money searching for ways to extend their physical life by a few years. Why? If you believe that physical life is the only life, you except that you life will end. Spending much of the limited time you have searching for ways to extend your time here is just wasting what time you do have.

Fear of Hell

If we fear death because we fear going to hell, that is actually a reasonable fear. But it is a fear that can be overcome by doing what is necessary to prevent that from happening. Knowing what that is can be confusing.
There are many churches and religions teaching many different things about hell and how to avoid it. Our own soul knows the truth. We need to trust our intuition. We also need to awaken our souls. Only a fully awakened conscious soul can alleviate our fear of going to hell. The awakened soul knows exactly what must be done to avoid that fate. The awakened soul doesn’t fear hell and it doesn’t have death fear.

Birth and Death

I don’t think we can say that birth and death are not real. They are unreal for the spirit and soul, but very real for the physical body. Of course, if you think of the body as pure illusion that doesn’t matter, then we can say that birth and death don’t exist. But matter is not imaginary. It is real, but not what it appears to be. While it can be argued that matter doesn’t cease to exist, it simply changes form, that is death as far as that form is concerned. Unless that form is human and has gone to the trouble of uniting with its permanent spiritual self thereby becoming immortal. Such a united being has no death fear.

Conclusion

In short, fear of death really becomes fear of life. By operating from a level of fear, and avoiding things that might result in death, you never really live. Even if life is temporary, and the afterlife is a fantasy, that is even more reason to live life while we can. In reality, life is permanent and the physical stage of it is just the beginning. The spirit and soul are immortal. The catch is, you experience that immortality only if you unite your physical, mental and spiritual self while still alive on the physical plane.

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present living, thought character

Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In

“Because it’s so easy to be caught in the past, it’s helpful to have a reminder to stay in the present. In Plum Village, we use a bell. When we hear the bell, we practice breathing in and out mindfully, and we say, “I listen to the bell. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.” My true home is in the here and now. The past is not my true home. You may want to say to the little one inside you, the past is not our home; our home is here, where we can really live our life. We can get all the nourishment and healing we need here in the present moment.

“Much of the fear, anxiety, and anguish that we experience is there because the inner child has not been liberated. That child is afraid to come out to the present moment, and so your mindfulness, your breath, can help this child to realize that she is safe and can be free.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Present and Past

To completely forget the past would be to become unable to function. We would never learn anything if we couldn’t remember the past. Possibly, we would keep getting burned by touching the hot stove. We would come out of the mall and not know which car in the parking lot was ours. Actually, we wouldn’t be able to walk out of the mall because walking is something we learned how to do in the past. We would be like an obsessive-compulsive person brushing his teeth every half hour. Or maybe not, because we wouldn’t know that we should brush our teeth at all.

So we can’t just forget the past. We learned a lot there. But we can’t get trapped in it either. We can’t let the things that happened in the past prevent us from acting now. We have to know that getting our fingers burned on a hot stove means we should always be careful around stoves. But we shouldn’t avoid all dogs because one bit us ten years ago.

Living in the Present

When I was a kid, I saw a horror movie where a monster was crawling out of street drains and grabbing people. For weeks after that, I tried to avoid getting close to storm drains in the street. That was the reaction of a child who doesn’t understand that a movie is (usually) not real.

I currently live in Nevada. I haven’t gone to a casino for over two years. When I did go, I sometimes heard people say things about slot machines like, “This one is due to pay off! I’ve been playing it for hours!” Others might say “Don’t use the push button, pull the arm. The odds are better.” I just shook my head when I heard such things.

Both of those statements are based on ancient slot machines from a century ago. Modern ones are controlled by internal computers. A random number generator is generating ten numbers a second. When you press the button, or pull the lever, a program running on another computer chip grabs the current random number. It uses that number to spin the wheels to the predetermined setting for that number. There is no such thing as “due” with these machines. But that is the kind of foolish thing people can think when they are trapped in the past. When we use such thinking to control our behavior, we make many mistakes. Continue reading “Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In”

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