Lately I’ve been considering the question of morality and the role it has played in my life. Many people consider a sense of morality essential to living a healthy life and most human societies are based on some form of moral code. Usually these moral standards are derived from one of the major world religions or philosophical systems. Morality defines standards of behavior in a society and serves as a guideline in differentiating between right and wrong. We find it in the west in the form of the ten commandments and in the east in the form of the precepts of Buddhism as well as in many other forms. Its encoded into many of our legal systems and conditioned into us from an early age. There are many common elements between the standard moral codes in use today typically defining prohibitions like not killing, not stealing, not lying and not committing adultery. Many of these standards are hard to argue with because most would consider them common sense.
However one stark reality when it comes to human morality in my opinion is that its a dismal failure. Even the most basic moral standards are routinely violated not only by individuals but by entire governments. Human beings kill each other by the thousands every day and even the most average people regularly lie, cheat and steal. We are conditioned with moral standards of behavior and simultaneously exposed to role models and entertainment that glorify the opposite. The most popular entertainment in our society consistently uses the worst aspects of humanity to entertain us. We enjoy watching people being killed, we enjoy stories about crime and corruption and get off on sexual dysfunction. When you really look at it there is an incredible dichotomy here. The question we have to ask is, what does it do to the human psyche to be conditioned into a moral system that is then violated at every opportunity in everyday life by the most powerful and influential members of society?
I would say the answer to that question is that it breeds both a collective and individual mental illness because in the end we are being conditioned into conflict. The conflict begins internally as children as we see that the adults around us don’t follow the rules that we are being asked to follow. The conflict intensifies when we begin to engage in immoral behavior as teenagers (we wouldn’t be cool or accepted if we didn’t). The moral conditioning becomes the inner judge that tells us over and over again in our minds that we are not good people because we do things that are not acceptable. This inner conflict is a part of most of what we normally consider mental illness but its also a part of almost every persons experience in our society to some degree. This inner conflict of dissonance also plays out on the collective stage in conflicts between political parties, religious groups and nations. We regularly see politicians speak of morality and then get caught engaging in the worst of behavior. One country goes to war with another based on the moral high ground and then engages in torture and slaughter in the name of that morality.
I would say that morality was a necessary stage in the development of human consciousness but in my view it has outlived its usefulness and shown its limitations. The inherent problem with morality is that it is indirect and limited. Morality is based on a set of guidelines for behavior that are dictated by someone else and conditioned into us without our consent. I don’t know about you but I never agreed to the moral codes of my society in advance. Rather they were more or less dictated. The indirectness of morality results in not only its failure but in the need to enforce it through laws and punishment which inevitably are not applied equally to all members of society. People obey the moral code out of fear of being punished or they seek ways to circumvent it altogether. Much of the impetus for imagining we need a moral code is the idea of original sin, that human beings are inherently bad so without an imposed moral code they would wreak havoc on themselves and the world.
When I speak of the indirectness of morality what I’m referring to is the fact that someone else is telling us what is right and wrong instead of us determining that for ourselves. This creates a disconnect with our inner guidance and wisdom which are the alternative to this disjointed approach to life. The alternative to morality is teaching our children to value a direct connection to spirit in whatever form is meaningful to them. If one operates from the assumption that our true nature is divine then a direct connection to that divinity serves as an inner source of guidance that we can fully depend upon. From there they can be encouraged to connect with their intuition and inner guidance and learn to trust it from an early age. When one is in touch with the actual experience of spirit in the intense aliveness of the present moment morality becomes meaningless. We intuitively know what is right and what is wrong for us and we live in accordance with spirit which cannot be nailed down into a code of laws but can always be counted on as the most trustworthy guiding force we could possibly imagine. If children were raised by parents that truly put this into practice they would learn by example while still having the freedom to allow their own unique connection to spirit and inner wisdom to form rather than having it squashed by an imposed set of standards.
We have reached a stage in our evolution when disconnection from spirit or our true nature is no longer possible if we are to continue as a species. Evolution must continue in harmony with spirit or the dysfunctional chaos we see around us will inevitably consume our civilization as it is now doing. We have everything we need to live healthy, happy, conscious and fulfilled lives right here right now if we are willing and able to go inward and realize our true being. The voice of spirit is always whispering in our ear if we can quiet our everyday mind enough to listen. The endless distractions of our society makes this exceedingly difficult for many of us but it is possible. So many of us feel hopeless about our lives and the world, sick and tired of the misery that passes for mainstream life and that is the catalyst to break free from it and make that inward journey. The only way our society can truly change is if we individually make that journey back to spirit. The time for that is now and the journey starts here……