We all know it.
It is perennial, the common seed, the golden rule, the jumping-off point for every possible path of enlightenment.
We are called to forget ourselves. To practice radical kindness, forgiveness, and non-judgement. This is the only way of Being In The World that will yield sustainable and satisfying peace and joy, and that will redeem our sorry, war-torn, unequal, division-riven world.
Whilst the road to transformation for the arrogant, the superior, the unkind, and the selfish person may be a straight one, it cannot be so for everyone.
For the ones who always had to be good, whose only alternative was to be kind, who could not afford the price of a quick temper, a bad mood, a selfish demand or a moment of laziness – the road of transformation is a dark and overgrown one through a thorny forest away from the sunlight.
For these, the journey must be Orphetic. They must descend into the underworld, find the banished self of indolence, selfishness, ill-temper, judgementalism, and blame, then grasp her by the hand and live her up into the light of day.
No turning around to see her hideousness and so shame her back into the ground, but tramping on faithfully through wasted days and god-forbidden tempers. And every time the reasonable voice says “now that must be enough” the reply must be “not yet, perhaps another year or two to go”. Until one day we have finally caught up with all those bastards who have lived this way with none of our own compunction, have overtaken them, by at least a nose, and have found, finally, the genuine emptiness of being only self-absorbed, resentful and lazy. And like a man reaching an oasis after forty years in the desert, we truly want to drink the water that four decades ago we only knew we were supposed to drink.
Only redeemed selflessness, forgiveness, tolerance, and charity has the power to transform. If we have never touched the shadow, those attitudes of spirit are nothing but corrupted lines of programming; living out from them only further twists our insides, and there will be no fruit.