Starday – 14th, Sarenith
What are the limits of goodness? Should we care only for those who care for us? And should we hurt those who hurt us?
I will begin by telling you to not work against your fellow man—envying, hating, abandoning; to do so, is to work against yourself. Remember this: There is nothing that an evil man can do to you that can take away your goodness.
Each of us is faced with the same struggle—between doing good and doing evil—and it is within the reach of each of us to do one or the other.
There was a boy foolishly waddling about the edge of cliff. Expectedly, he slipped, barely catching himself on the cliff’s edge. Each time he tried to climb up, he slipped further and his grip was becoming weak. As he cried out for help, a man approached and stood above him.
The man had three choices. He could have pushed the boy to his demise—and why not? He would not be punished, for there was no one around to see. Or he could leave the boy to his fate—and why not? Why was it his business to assist that man? Did he not get himself into this situation?
Without giving it a thought, he reached out his arm and pulled the boy up.
The choice between doing good and evil should not be a choice at all, but a reflex. Each of us should be like that man who helps, not taking into regard gain in so doing or penalty should we choose not to; only doing good because it is good.
But we are also the foolish boy—for all works of evil are foolish—standing at the edge of a cliff, tempting our demise (only many of us are too proud to call for help). But it matters not what circumstances lead either of them to that moment, what matters is that when is faced with a choice we choose to do good.
“So what if the man has stolen from me?” You ask. I ask you, “What has he stolen?” I tell you, no one can steal from you.
So you say to me, “But he stole my purse!” Your coins? What are they but chunks of metal—you did not create them, they did not originate from you, and cannot your State take it from you?—you own no purse, no coins, no riches. If you find your riches in coin, you are in debt to the State that coined them.
But he stole your lover, another of you say. Nay, one acts only by what he sees is good however distorted his lens. Love is not stolen, it is given and though you feel cheated it is only because of your own selfish desire: Cast the desires for those things beyond your control aside! This is the only way to peace! If you found your value in the love others have for you, you make yourself victim to the whim of others.
And you ask me, “What if he takes my life?” I tell you that there is no man that can take your life. Every utterance that spills from your mouth you owe to your teacher and if you mean the beating of your heart, you owe that to your mother. Life is indeed precious; but if your concern is staying alive, you have lost sight of living. If you value your life only by the number of days, then you frame it as something to be numbered and you will never escape the collectors of this debt! Let your works be your life and let your life be good; this is the only way to have value.
Fools! Do you not see how hurting those who hurt you hurts you? I told you that there is nothing that an evil man can do to you that can take away your goodness because goodness comes from within you. If a man does evil to you, he has shown his value. And if you choose to return to him goodness manifold, you have proven yours even greater. If I am right, that you should measure the value of your life by the good you do and not by the days you persist, then nothing can make your life any worse that does not make you any worse; your life can never lose its value.
See no limits to your goodness, for none exist but those you inflict.