SEEING THE WORLD AND OURSELVES THROUGH AN ETHICAL LENS – By Pierre Zimmerman 1/1/21
SEEING THE WORLD AND OURSELVES THROUGH AN ETHICAL LENS – By Pierre Zimmerman
A care-based, ethical path involves connectedness and meaning, which engenders presence and authenticity. Connectedness is being in relationship with other sentient beings. Meaning is the awareness of being alive and understanding the depth of living ethically. This means we have to know what is beneficial or not and have a common notion of what causes harm.
We can foster a care-based, ethical path through empathy, feeling the suffering of others, by using discernment and not becoming hyper or hypo-aroused. We cultivate moral sensitivity by filtering out what action is most appropriate with a motivation geared towards making the most beneficial decisions and inflicting the least amount of harm. When taking an action that is not consistent with our ethical values, we experience moral distress and deep disconnect.
Three tenets can support us in espousing our “North Star” when facing conflicting principles: One is to practice beginner’s mind, not having fixed or solid ideas and beliefs that might separate us from others. Next, we bear witness to the situation, not becoming demoralized about the reality of the moment, just observing the situation at hand without judgment. Finally, when attentional and intentional stability and clarity arise, we cultivate compassion for anyone or any situation overwhelmed by suffering.
To be committed to authentic relationships we practice transparency. First, we are transparent to ourselves, no longer being ruled by our emotions, preferences and conditioning. We don’t need to espouse our narratives. Instead, we stay with what is meaningful to us, cutting out unnecessary thoughts, speech and behavior. Then, we can let the world be transparent to us, by releasing ideas, opinions and judgments, and letting go of our biases. Lastly, we can be transparent to the world, not hiding behind roles, identities, our persona or history, being undefended and invested in connecting with others.
When we operate from the heart and mind, strong back and soft front, there is no lack or excess in expression of speech and meaning, nor any compelling reason to deceive oneself or anyone else. Adopting ethical coherence, we welcome everything, push nothing away, bring our whole self to whatever experience we face, and find a place of peace in the middle of adversity and felicity.