“This is the advantage of good taste. The bee goes to the honey for her comb, the serpent to the gall for its venom. So with taste- some seek the good, others the ill. There is nothing that has no good in it, especially in books, as giving food for thought. But many have such a scent that amid a thousand excellences they fix upon a single defect, and single it out for blame as if they were scavengers of people’s hearts and minds. So they draw up a balance sheet of defects, which does more credit to their bad taste than to their intelligence. They lead a sad life, nourishing themselves on bitters and fattening on garbage. They have the luckier taste who amend a thousand defects seize upon a single beauty they may have hit upon by chance.”
-Excerpt: “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”
Translated by Joseph Jacobs
This passage made me cry. An amazing little pocket book I picked up in a used book store in Arcata led me to the piece above today, and it simply brought a tear to my eye. There can be nothing higher than to always see the good in others. When you see the good you see what you love about life, about yourself, and of course about the other person. You are reminded of all of your happy memories that can be associated with the good you see, all at once. Such a great state of mind to be in all the time, isn’t it?
As we can interpret from this Seventeenth Century wisdom, it is our nature to always seek the good, rather than the ill. Just as the bee goes to the honey and the serpent to the gall, so shall we go to the good. It is our nature, and it is our destiny. For we would never allow for free choice if we didn’t already know what was good and that we would seek it. The drive to seek the good is embedded deep inside each one of us, it just takes some stirring to bring it out.
That is what I have come here tonight to write about: Finding the Good. And doing it At Once.
Seek the Good
I have been speaking in parables for a reason. All wisdom that is passed down must be applied to the present moment, so it helps to start with similes and related information that will help to translate it, so to speak. That being said, what are we talking about here? Ultimately, it boils down to seeking the good. To have an attitude of seeking the good rather than seeking the ill, you are embracing optimism as we talked about the other night, and you are choosing joy.
Many people speculate as to human nature and whether we are meant to exist or destroy ourselves. Humanity is so violent, it seems, that we will never survive the deterioration of the Earth, let alone our own hostility. There are a thousand and one ways to imagine the end of the Earth. Let your imagination run wild! You will never cease to find a new creative way for death, destruction, and mayhem to exist and rule the norm.
The other side of the coin is one that tells of the dreaded potential future for Earth; Utopia! What is Utopia? Nepal, Atlantis, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece were examples of what the entire world could be like if every person sought the good in life. Choosing the ill is merely that: a choice. We determine our perspective on this matter, so why choose anything but good?
All Things are Good
Alright, now I’m going to try not sound like a hypocrite here. While free choice does exist, it merely exists to allow us to make mistakes. As I said in the intro, it is our nature to choose good, so when we do, we are merely following the path that destiny has laid out for us. Yes I said it, destiny has a path. That path is determinant upon the good in us and the Truth that resonates within our beings. Therefore, I believe destiny can be changed and is in fact frequently and endlessly changed based upon our perception of existence and how long we choose to make mistakes.
That was a very full sentence. In other words, this is what the Ishaya wisdom shares as ‘The Pathless Path.’ Our Truth, or Dharma, is the wisdom that speaks to our inner beings when we are faced with a crossroads. If we choose to follow our Dharma, then the path that destiny has laid out for us will continue to be trodden. However, if we choose to go against our Dharma, or as it is known; listen to our Ego, then we are faced with great challenges and put ourselves in the way of suffering. The reason we suffer is because we are betraying ourselves by listening to our Ego. If we instead listen to our heart, which is the speaker of Dharma, then we will begin to see that all things are good, for that is what we are bringing into our lives.
Have Good Taste
This is tied with our perception of reality. To have good taste is to be able to distinguish between good and bad and to choose the good. While goodness is sometimes relative, in this case we are talking about the ultimate, or higher good, which is the good for all things. Good taste in terms of food, art, and music, for instance, is more subjective. Ultimate goodness relates to everything and everyone, so it covers a broader topic range.
So now that we’ve established what good taste is, let’s talk about how to have it. To have good taste is to be able to pick out the most minute details of an eloquent gourmet dish, an exquisite piece of art, or a perfectly composed piece of music, in order to explain what makes this food, art, or music better than the rest. So, to have good taste in terms of ultimate goodness, one must be able to pick out the most minute details about life, in order to explain what makes it so unique and rewarding to live.
Seize Upon Beauty
I absolutely love this phrase. To be completely honest, this is what I have focused on for nearly every day for the past year. I would be remiss to say that it wasn’t because I met the most wonderful person who has become my partner and shown me so much about myself that I had hidden away for a long time. She showed me my inner beauty because she saw it and was instantly drawn to it. When this happened, my world changed, for I began seeing life as an opportunity to live, rather than an obligation to stay alive.
Since I have met my beautiful faerie princess, everything in my life has become beautiful. I was inspired to write poetry again, to write essays again, to produce music, to create illustrations, and to find my creative side. I seize upon beauty every chance I get, which I call following my highest excitement. This is a term I heard from Bashar while I was at the festival LIB with my love. To follow your highest excitement is to leave each moment doing the thing you wish to do most. It doesn’t mean wishing you could do something else, rather, you just choose to have the most fun there is to be had in the current situation you are in. That’s what it’s all about to seize upon beauty; see the beauty and follow it, no matter what.
Finding the Good
After all we’ve talked about, if you’ve listened at all, it really shouldn’t be that hard to find the good. You know that it is our nature to seek the good, that all things are good, that you know how to have good taste, and you recognize how to seize the beauty in all situations. What’s next than to find the good?! That’s really all it takes! Uncovering the Truth, which we already intuitively know, is the easiest thing in the world. As the Ishaya put it, what creates shadows? WE DO by turning our backs to the sun. If the sun represents light, which is good, and shadow represents darkness, which is bad, then the only thing we have to blame for being in the dark is ourselves! The second you choose to turn around and face the light, you will be blinded by its overwhelming beauty and joy, and it will overrun your life. That’s when you know you’ve found the good.
Do It At Once
Now you have to practice. Yup, this whole exercise takes work. You don’t just experience the good once and have your whole life reverse, completely eliminating suffering. I mean, you can, but it takes constant vigilance! You must be a warrior! You must be a wise being, traveling the Earth, taking everything in, and seeing it as good. Be a wizard who fights for the good of all, like Gandalf. You know how to do this. It is in your blood, so to speak, but much, much deeper. It is embedded into your essence, imprinted upon your soul, you cannot mask it for long, and you can never lose it. But you must choose to tap into it. That is why so many people do live sad lives, fattening on garbage. Because they are too afraid to choose. Too afraid to see what they already know; that we are all one. It is easier (for those afraid) to choose ignorance over knowledge, and to shy from ancient wisdom. Dogma, or ‘tradition,’ has become an excuse to not live life the way you want, in every single moment. You can! And you can do it right now, by following your highest excitement, which is your Dharma calling you, which will always lead you to the good, which is where you truly want to be. So do it! It’s up to you.
I leave you with that tonight loved ones. Good tidings and much love to all of you.