I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes, both with psychology, and my favourite New Thought teacher, Abraham/Esther Hicks.
A lot of things that used to matter to me don’t matter anymore. As I clear away negative beliefs about reality I’m discovering that what I thought were important issues and questions were really just my attempt to shore up unstable and burdensome beliefs.
The Abraham Hicks teachings have helped me a lot with their insistence that life is supposed to feel good, and that our reality is a reflection of our beliefs and expectations; what we are willing to allow into our lives.
But at the same time aspects of the teaching didn’t gel for me. And this is not a great surprise, given how far I’ve delved into different philosophies and interpretations of life.
A message that is tailored to a mainstream audience needs adjustment for people on the fringes. And to her credit, Esther is more than capable of adjusting her explanations to adapt to people’s preferred terminology.
What does “good” mean?
Years ago I learned that the original philosophical meaning of “good” was not some kind of arbitrary stamp of approval from the heavens, but short-hand for “good for me” in the same basic, visceral way that sunlight and water are good for plants.
The mainstream concept of good and bad is warped by moralism. People think good and bad is about approval and disapproval; and this is usually coloured by our temperament and our upbringing.
Religion exacerbates for many the ingrained belief that God is a big parent in the sky, just waiting for you to f*** up big-time like you always do; or distant and remote and coldly aloof regardless of your striving and struggling.
So it makes sense for Esther to avoid talking about God, using other labels instead.
And it also makes sense to focus on feeling good rather than what is good.
The Abraham Hicks teachings are all about heeding our emotional guidance. Our feelings are a direct indicator of how aligned our thoughts are with the perspective of our inner being.
Like Aristotle, Esther states that the only reason anyone ever desires anything is because they think they will feel better in the having of it.
From the perspective of what motivates us to act, Aristotle observed that the ultimate end of our actions is well-being or happiness, comprised of a number of things that contribute to our happiness – things like friendship and knowledge and basic needs and appreciation of beauty.
Aristotle observed that friendship fulfils a capacity in us and contributes to our fulfilment in a unique way. To put it in Abraham Hicks terms: friendship feels good.
For Aristotle friendship is good for us because there is something in human nature that is fulfilled by it. If humans were by nature solitary and unmoved by friendship, friendship would not contribute to our fulfilment and therefore would not be good for us.
For Abraham Hicks the emphasis is on the individual’s desire for friendship, and the goodness of friendship is glossed over. Instead we are told that friendship feels good because it is desired by the individual. If friendship were not desired, it would not feel good.
Reconciling the two
Both theories are important to me in different ways, and it’s also important to me that I feel comfortable and sure in my beliefs.
I don’t hesitate to abridge and adapt Aristotle, and I also note that Esther is always answering people’s questions….I’m yet to hear anyone ask my question of her.
So I’m both excited and forward in asserting my belief that the Abraham teachings are intentionally avoiding the terminology of good and bad because of how much resistance people have around it.
But for me, those terms don’t hold resistance anymore. Good means good for me. I desire things because they are good for me, and they feel good because they are good for me.
This shouldn’t impinge on other aspects of the teachings – such as where our desires come from. I’m not an Aristotelian after all, I just take whatever helps me from wherever I find it.
To me it just feels more solid and meaningful to accept that the things I desire are good, and feeling good is my natural response to the very thought of good things.
I prefer not to focus too much on feelings, because my focus is intense and feelings are a response to stimuli, and not meant to be the object of sustained focus in their own right.
My worldview has its own integrity, and it is good for me to find clarity and unity across all my beliefs.
All the work I have done in philosophy and psychology have changed and developed my understanding of concepts like God, truth, and good and evil, precisely where most people have a lot of baggage. Having done that work and attained that clarity, it is good to integrate it with the new insights I have obtained from the Abraham Hicks material.