The Power of Now
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Chapter Nine: Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness There
The Higher Good beyond Good and Bad
The End of Your Life Drama
Impermanence and the Cycles of Life
Using and Relinquishing Negativity
The Nature of Compassion
Toward a Different Order of Reality
The Higher Good Beyond Good and Bad
Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace?
Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as
positive; inner peace does not.
Is it not possible to attract only positive conditions
into our life? If our attitude and our thinking are always
positive, we would manifest only positive events and situations,
Do you truly know what is positive and what is negative? Do you
have the total picture? There have been many people for whom
limitation, failure, loss, illness, or pain in whatever form
turned out to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let
go of false self-images and superficial ego-dictated goals and
desires. It gave them depth, humility, and compassion. It made
them more real.
Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep
lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the
time. Even a brief illness or an accident can show you what is
real and unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what
Seen from a higher perspective, conditions are always positive.
To be more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They
are as they are. And when you live in complete acceptance of
what is — which is the only sane way to live — there is no
"good" or "bad" in your life anymore. There is only a higher
good — which includes the "bad." Seen from the perspective of
the mind, however, there is good-bad, like-dislike, love-hate.
Hence, in the Book of Genesis, it is said that Adam and Eve were
no longer allowed to dwell in "paradise" when they "ate of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
This sounds to me like denial and self-deception. When
something dreadful happens to me or someone close to me —
accident, illness, pain of some kind or death — I can pretend
that it isn't bad, but the fact remains that it is bad, so why
You are not pretending anything. You are allowing it to be as it
is, that's all. This "allowing to be" takes you beyond the mind
with its resistance patterns that create the positive-negative
polarities. It is an essential aspect of forgiveness.
Forgiveness of the present is even more important than
forgiveness of the past. If you forgive every moment — allow it
to be as it is — then there will be no accumulation of
resentment that needs to be forgiven at some later time.
Remember that we are not talking about happiness here. For
example, when a loved one has just died, or you feel your own
death approaching, you cannot be happy. It is impossible. But
you can be at peace. There may be sadness and tears, but
provided that you have relinquished resistance, underneath the
sadness you will feel a deep serenity, a stillness, a sacred
presence. This is the emanation of Being, this is inner peace,
the good that has no opposite.
What if it is a situation that I can do something about?
How can 1 allow it to be and change it at the same time?
Do what you have to do. In the meantime, accept what is. Since
mind and resistance are synonymous, acceptance immediately frees
you from mind dominance and thus reconnects you with Being. As a
result, the usual ego motivations for "doing" — fear, greed,
control, defending or feeding the false sense of self — will
cease to operate. An intelligence much greater than the mind is
now in charge, and so a different quality of consciousness will
flow into your doing.
"Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your
destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?" This was
written 2000 years ago by Marcus Aurelius, one of those
exceedingly rare humans who possessed worldly power as well as
It seems that most people need to experience a great deal of
suffering before they will relinquish resistance and accept —
before they will forgive. As soon as they do, one of the
greatest miracles happens: the awakening of Being-consciousness
through what appears as evil, the transmutation of suffering
into inner peace. The ultimate effect of all the evil and
suffering in the world is that it will force humans into
realizing who they are beyond name and form. Thus, what we
perceive as evil from our limited perspective is actually part
of the higher good that has no opposite. This, however, does not
become true for you except through forgiveness. Until that
happens, evil has not been redeemed and therefore remains evil.
Through forgiveness, which essentially means recognizing the
insubstantiality of the past and allowing the present moment to
be as it is, the miracle of transformation happens not only
within but also without. A silent space of intense presence
arises both in you and around you. Whoever or whatever enters
that field of consciousness will be affected by it, sometimes
visibly and immediately, sometimes at deeper levels with visible
changes appearing at a later time. You dissolve discord, heal
pain, dispel unconsciousness — without doing anything — simply
by being and holding that frequency of intense presence.
Excerpted from The Power of Now. Copyright © 2001 by New World