Spiritual Basis for Right Action

In Response to Quora Question: "Spiritually speaking, what is it that forms a true or right basis/motivation for action?"

Thanks for the A2A invitation.

It seems as though your question is speaking to intention, so I will answer from that perspective. There are three components to what I would describe as beneficial or constructive intentionality. These are a) the cultivation of an indwelling compassionate affection (love-consciousness) that advocates for the greatest good, for the greatest number, the greatest amount of time; b) the ongoing deepening of discernment, which integrates multiple inputs streams to calculate efficacy for all actions intended to support such loving intentions; and c) an underlying and abiding trust that these conditions, intentions and actions harmonize with constructive forces that are larger than our individual consciousness. All of these contribute to what we might call "a moral frame for skillfulness."

However, the question that often arises here is that one's individual ego and/or animalistic impulses can still be involved in all of these components - compulsive "desire" can still intrude into any formula for refining a more love-centric, constructive basis for actions. Indeed it seems that love expresses itself through us in many ways, and sometimes in unskillful, constricting or even destructive ways (the "binding or conflict producing" outcomes you allude to, for example).

So it would seem this is our journey: to move beyond egocentric or animalistic patterns into a more unfettered, unmitigated experience of compassionate affection. And this is what many spiritual traditions seek to encourage through various forms of worship, contemplation, meditation or other disciplined spiritual practice. As we commit to a path that resonates with our personal predilections and strengths, we will begin to experience a greater fluidity of love-in-action as a result of letting go of an egoistic self-concept and its separateness. In the meantime, as we inevitably vacillate in our commitment to that process (and even our confidence in its efficacy), there will be imperfect expressions of our love-in-action. That is, alas, just part of the human condition.

There is much more to this discussion, of course, but I hope this provides a helpful finger pointing at the moon.


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