Sometime in the past few decades the idea of a moral “grey area” has become popular. In prior centuries there was a lot of “black and white” in terms of morality. It was the reality that a fair number of our black and white assessments were grounded firmly in a lack of education and/or awareness that undoubtedly contributed heavily to people having a natural affinity for “grey area”. Like it or not, we’re all ignorant of quite a lot at any given moment. Ignorance is simply an occupational hazard of being a developing human in our universe. But while there are valuable meditative techniques to help us overcome any anxiety we may be experiencing when we realize how ignorant and/or powerless we are, ultimately our task is not to accept our ignorance but to educate ourselves.
A part of our educational process as developing sentient beings on Earth is to overcome our fears and prejudices around practices which our respective cultures may have historically, but ultimately unreasonably, condemned. It is also an important part of our process to gain clarity on values and/or actions which do genuinely threaten our well-being and survival. Some of these may be the same values and/or practices our which our ancestors counseled us against.
Despite the multitude of new names and faces being used, many, if not all, the threats we face today can be distilled down to the same threats our ancestors faced; greed, dishonesty, fear, anger, prejudice, poisoned food, polluted air and water are a few examples. However technology has amplified these threats and enables/allows the actions of a few to threaten not just another person or a city or even a county, but to threaten the well-being of entire countries and continents.
In our growing pains as a species on this planet if we allow ourselves, our worldviews, to be seduced by essentially the same temptations our ancestors faced, we will find ourselves facing the same threats they managed to avoid, at least enough to allow us the opportunity to be born. Wars and their precursors; starvation, want, disease, envy. Envy, it is worth noting, can come about via at least two avenues; it may be the result of an overly self-centered entitlement mentality. Or it may come about due to an unhealthy imbalance, inequity in the distribution of material wealth.
Why is there so much attention given to the material aspect of our being? Of course it can be overdone, we are so much more than strictly material beings. However, the material world provides us with a readily observed and measured dimension in which to assess how we relate to one another. It goes back to Hermes Trismegistus’ axiom “As above so below, as below so above.” If there is imbalance, intolerance, greed, hoarding, taking place in the material realm, then we can be sure those actions are taking place on transcendent levels also. Spiritually we can’t have our hands in corruption and our heart in heaven, so to speak. If our hands are in corruption our heart is right there with them.
The material world is our spiritual “canary in the mine”. It is our yardstick to our transcendent reality. That is why it is important for us to pay attention to and take care within our material world. The habits we develop and employ in our material world, the conditions we allow to develop, are a reflection of our spiritual condition; a part of us throughout our transcendent reality and resonate above and beyond our mortal coil.