Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25--Conscience

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
     --George Washington

     I found this definition of "conscience" in the Cambridge Dictionary: the part of you that judges how moral your own actions are and makes you feel guilty about bad things that you have done or things you feel responsible for. This seems to be what we commonly think of as our conscience. This definition tends to make it a "head" thing.
     "That little spark of celestial fire" is quite a different definition. Use of the location "in your breast" implies that conscience is a "heart" matter rather than a "head" matter. Celestial fire suggests an other-worldly source, to me a spirit-given, born-with implant, if you will, that guides us in the direction of love, always, if we will simply follow it.
     I would say that my greatest teacher relative to conscience has been the 12-step program. Addicts are burdened with a guilty conscience from the get-go, due to inability to control one's substance abuse and all the collateral damage that results from it. The 12 Steps are all about clearing one's conscience, with the ultimate cleansing process being the making of amends. While it is a very worthwhile and necessary process, making amends is not my favorite thing to do. Therefore, I strive to be very aware of "that little spark of celestial fire" and follow it, so that I don't get myself into situations requiring amends. This makes for a peaceful heart and a peaceful head. 
     For your consideration: I periodically ask myself if there is anyone I am in relationship with, should they die today, I would feel guilty about anything "on my side of the street." At this moment of writing, there is no one. That's a lovely clean way to live, and I strive to keep it that way, an ongoing life practice. Maybe you have some tidying to do? 
     Loving life,

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