Seeking more, Supreme Good, Spiritual Evolution, Everywhere Church

Supreme Good and Why We Seek It

“All mortal creatures … strive to reach one goal—the goal of happiness. Now the Good is that which, when a man hath got, he can lack nothing further. That it is which is the supreme good of all. … To this state, as we have said, all men try to attain, but by different paths. For the desire of the true good is naturally implanted in the minds of men; only error leads them aside … in pursuit of the false. Some, deeming it the highest good to want for nothing, spare no pain to attain affluence. Others, judging the good to be that to which respect is most worthily paid, strive to win the reverence of their fellow-citizens by the attainment of official dignity. Some there are who fix the chief good in supreme power; these either wish themselves to enjoy sovereignty, or try to attach themselves o those who have it. … Although opinions are so various and discordant, yet they agree in cherishing good as the end.” ~Boethius

Striving

While we live in an age where some people seem to never strive for anything, most still do strive. And nearly all strive for what they consider to be “The Good,” as Boethius states. Hat is as it should be.

We all need to strive for several reasons. One reason is that striving gives us something productive to do. Another is that growth comes from striving. Progress comes from striving. Those who refuse to strive, but just float through life like a piece of driftwood accomplish nothing. Even on the spiritual level, you must strive for spiritual growth. If you just sit back and wait for it to happen, it won’t.

Seeking Good

We all seek what we consider to be good. And when we get it, we seek something even better. The intent is to reach that supreme good, even if we don’t realize it. The problem comes in knowing what is truly good and what isn’t.

In our overly materialistic society, it is only natural that many seek good in material things. Some seek it in wealth and possessions. We have seen a huge growth in this type in recent years. Partly it is because such behavior is not only tolerated, but applauded. Fools can’t see that while nature provides enough for everyone, when a few are greedy, others must do without.

Others seek it in power such as being a politician or a business leader. That wouldn’t be so bad if they were doing it for the betterment of all, but they rarely are. Most are concerned only with themselves and the glory they get from being in a high position.

Yet others seek good in fame. They may be singers, actors, or even athletes. Those who have real talent and use it out of joy are to be applauded. But then there are the Kardashian types who have no real talent, yet have convinced many that they are celebrities worthy of worship and great wealth. This seeking of fame for the sake of fame is where things go wrong. Yet many young people are firm believers in the idea that fame is important and worthy seeking in any way possible. Fame is something one should get by earning it, not by seeking it. Continue reading “Supreme Good and Why We Seek It”

Share
Good Fortune prison

Good Fortune, Ill Fortune, and a Golden Cage

“Truly I believe that ill fortune is of more use to men than good fortune. For good fortune, when she wears the guise of happiness, and most seems to caress, is always lying; ill fortune is always truthful, since in changing, she shows her inconsistency. The one deceives, the other teaches; the one enchains the minds of those who enjoy her favor by the semblance of delusive good, the other delivers them by the knowledge of the frail nature of happiness. … Good fortune, by her allurement, draws men far from the true good; ill fortune often times draws men back to true good.” ~Boethius

Need for Greed

One way I can see that I am old is by looking at the changing attitudes I see around me. When I was young, people valued sharing and caring. We were our brother’s keepers. We helped our neighbors who were having difficulties. And when we had difficulties, they helped us.

Now most of us seem to have been convinced of just the opposite. We believe in helping others only if we think it will ultimately benefit us to do so. We share with others only if we want something from them. We worship greed and those who excel at it. We have even elected a greedy conman as President of the United States. Boethius knew better, as do most spiritual people.

Fickle Fortune

The problems with wealth, or as Boethus says it: “good fortune,” are many. Let’s look at the fickle part of it. We are happy when we have plenty of money, plenty of food, a good home, and so on. But those things can all be taken away from us in a moment. A natural disaster can destroy it. A dreadful disease can make us so ill we spend it all seeking a cure we never find. A new government could take it all away from us. And most wealthy people, especially those born wealthy, have no ability to function in a world where they have to work like common folk.

Boethus says ill fortune is better in this matter because at least we know that such things are temporary. While some of us may always have some form of ill fortune, it is constantly changing. So you can safely say during the worse of it, that it will pass and be happy again.

Golden Cage

The other problem with too much good fortune is that we become imprisoned by it. There is no need for us to do anything, no need to change, so we remain still like a frog on a lily pad. We become imprisoned by it just as if we really were in a gold cell. We may go to the finest college available, but feel no real need to learn anything new. We may attend lectures and seminars by the greatest speakers, who we hear but don’t really listen to. Rarely do such people ever go beyond physical pleasures to seek out the spiritual.

Burning Bridge

Those with what Boethus calls ill fortune are not in a golden jail cell. It is more like they are crossing a bridge that is on fire behind them. They know that they must keep moving forward or be caught by the fire. So they rarely rest, but keep moving all the time. And not just moving but also observing and learning. The look for a way off the bridge. They look for ways to put out the fire. They seek ways to protect themselves from the fire. They are constantly moving, constantly thinking, constantly learning.

The Spiritual Seeker

Because those who are frequently visited by ill fortune are constantly learning, they are the ones most likely to turn to seeking spiritual truth. Since the material world tends to be unfriendly to them (or so they think) , they will start looking elsewhere for happiness. The man in the golden cage will rarely look beyond it, except at a larger cell.

People like St. Francis of Assisi and Nostradamus are good examples of this. St. Francis was sent off to fight in a war and returned home with what we now call PTSD. While laying in his bed recovering, he had a spiritual awakening while watching a sunrise. Nostradamus say his family and friends died from the Plague, causing him to look beyond the physical for solace. There are exceptions, of course. Occasionally a wealthy person with no apparent problems will awaken to the need for spiritual development, but not often.

So maybe what Boethus calls ill fortune is the real good fortune, for it helps us grow, and helps us learn. Most of all, it can get us to turn away from material pleasures and seek out the spiritual.

Share
bubbling up

Bubbling Up Inside: A Desire for More

“The new God-inspired movement, then, begins within, like a spring bubbling from the deeps; and thrusts up and out to the consciousness which it is destined to clarify and enhance. ‘The stream of Divine Grace swiftly stirs and moves a man inwardly, and from within outwards; and this swift stirring is the first thing that makes us see. Of this swift stirring is born … a gathering together of all the inward and outward powers in spiritual unity and in the bonds of love….’
“So we may say that an enhancement of the conative powers, a greater control over the attention, are the chief mark of the Illuminative Way as perceived by the growing self. … It is a freeing of the whole man from the fetters of illusion.” ~Evelyn Underhill (inner quote by Ruysbroeck)

The Bubbling Up

An internal spring bubbling up. An itch you can’t reach that needs to be scratched. A yearning that won’t go away. However you describe it, many of us feel it to some degree. This awareness that there is more to life than eating, sleeping, having a job, and having kids so they can go through the same pointless cycle. Some would argue this desire for something more is just wishful thinking, but they are wrong.

Nobody wishes to be one with the Great Gumblatchy. No one wishes to speak with the Great Gumblatchy. No one desires to go to the world of the Great Gumblatchy. That because there is no such thing as the Great Gumblatchy. I just now made it up. Yet many of us, including some agnostics and atheists, feel deep down that there is something more than the pointless life on the plain of matter. This is a good indication that there really is something beyond the physical world, even if we have only a very vague idea of what it is. We instinctively know it is real, and therefore it must be. And nearly all of us experience that “bubbling up” at one time or another, but only a few do anything about it. Continue reading “Bubbling Up Inside: A Desire for More”

Share
Pilgrimage of Enlightenment

Pilgrimage: A Quest for Enlightenment

“The pilgrimage idea, the outgoing quest, appears in mystical literature under two different aspects. One is the search for the ‘Hidden Treasure which desires to be found.’ Such is the ‘Quest of the Grail’ when regarded in its mystic aspect as an allegory of the adventures of the soul. The other is the long, hard journey towards a known and definite goal or state. Such are Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’; each in their manner faithful descriptions of the Mystic Way. The goal of the quest—the Empyrean of Dante, the Beatific Vision of fulfillment of love—is often called Jerusalem by the Christian mystics; natural enough since that city was for the medieval mid the supreme end of pilgrimage.” ~Evelyn Underhill

The Pilgrimage

Actually, I don’t think many modern seekers of wisdom and enlightenment think of themselves as pilgrims. They think of it more as students learning lessons rather than travelers on a journey. They understand that the mystic’s ‘journey’ is not one of moving from one physical place to another, but rather one of moving from one state-of-mind to another, from one condition of spirit and soul to another. It is a spiritual kind of self-improvement where done properly, one looks within as well as without. Still, the concept of the pilgrim makes a good allegory or metaphor for this “journey”. Continue reading “Pilgrimage: A Quest for Enlightenment”

Share