The Good, The True, and The Beautiful 

There is within every human being, no matter how low a quality they might be on the outer level, an ability to aspire to something better. It might express as a love of family or of their group, or it might express as kind of an appreciation of beauty through artistic expression, or maybe the mind is awake and alive and inquiring and curious. 

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Our theme for today is the good, the true and the beautiful, and the thought comes from the works of Alice Bailey: “The good, the true and the beautiful is on its way, and for it, humanity is responsible.” How can we define the good; what is beautiful and what is true? 

Sarah: Well, it’s not easy because these are such familiar concepts that I suppose anything one says descends into platitudes very easily. So, all I can do is draw upon the writings of Alice Bailey and that might give us a fresh insight. In her writings, the good is defined as the will to good, which works out on the physical plane, or the material outer level of life, as goodwill. And somewhere in her writings I read that good is related to that which relates the individual to the larger whole. So, taking that, it would mean that the good is that which produces the well-being, the welfare of the whole, and not the good of the individual, which might go against the interests of the larger common good. And the beautiful, she says, concerns a quality of life. It’s an expression of the soul, and that suggests the quality of radiance. You know how so often we say that something or someone is beautiful, even though its physical form is not perfect—that might relate to the factor of radiance, which is an inner quality that expresses through the outer form; that’s beauty. And the true, she says, is as much of divine expression as any individual can demonstrate at his particular point in evolution, and that’s why we often say one person’s truth is different than another person’s truth, because we aren’t all at the same point in evolution. But we have to live up to our own highest understanding of what is true and reasonable and right. 

Robert: When you say the group, though, is it the type of thought where we judge our actions and say, “Well, if everyone did this, would it be good?” Would that be a criterion for what is good? 

Sarah: That’s one way to apply it; have it come back at you from some other source—how would you feel? And ask yourself, does it apply to the common good? Does it serve the good of the greater whole? 

Dale: Of course, truth is a relative term. We tend to see ourselves, for example, as separate beings, separate from all others. This is true at a certain stage, at the personality level, but not true at the level of the soul, because at that level, it’s where we begin to realize our oneness. That is the great truth that lies behind this illusion that we are separate beings, and perhaps at one level we are, but at the level of wholeness there is the great truth that we are all one; there is a oneness there. So, that’s an example of how truth can be true at one level and not at another. 

Robert: Well, what’s interesting too is, Dale, you’re saying that we can’t really rely on our five senses to determine what truth is, then. 

Dale: No, we can’t. 

Sarah: But we have to start with our five senses; I don’t think I agree with that. I think we have to rely upon our five senses and the sixth sense, which is our intuition. 

Dale: Yes, I was just going to say that we have to look beyond the five senses as well. That’s where the real truth lies, behind the form. 

Robert: How are the good, the true, and the beautiful related to evolution? 

Sarah: Well, we could say that they are impulses to aspire or to move forward, because our sense of what is good and beautiful and true creates a kind of a friction within ourselves. We see something of beauty, of goodness, and we compare it or match it to our present attainment and expression. And we usually find ourselves coming up short. And so you could say that these values provide a kind of a spur or an impetus to change and grow. 

Robert: One of my thoughts is concerning the writings of Alice Bailey, where she speaks of the power of the good, the beautiful, and the true as, “mystical perception.” What does she mean by this? 

Sarah: Well, that’s a phrase that’s often puzzled me. But she says that mystical perception or mystical vision is the vision of the soul which dwells within the person. The divinity that is within the human being has a different view, vision, or expectation of life than the outer personality might have. So, it manifests as something that’s innate within every human being, and that gives that human being the power to aspire to something finer, higher, and better than their present circumstances. And maybe that’s related to a comment that a very famous defence attorney made some years ago, explaining why she defends people that commit such terrible crimes. She said she believed that people are better than their worst action, and I think that’s related to this statement. There is within every human being, no matter how low a quality they might be on the outer level, an ability to aspire to something better. It might express as a love of family or of their group, or it might express as kind of an appreciation of beauty through artistic expression, or maybe the mind is awake and alive and inquiring and curious. 

Dale: It’s really the basis for all striving; for some kind of vision of perfection. I think we see it in artistic creations. The registration and the recording of the good and the beautiful and the true is produced through the writer, the poet, the artist, or the architect. These artistic people are always striving to reach for some vision that they have. 

Sarah: And usually they’re frustrated by their inability to really express it perfectly. 

Dale: Right. And it’s the urge also of scientists or explorers, as they’re reaching out to discover and penetrate the secrets of nature and the secrets of the Earth. Explorers, whether on the Earth or even now in space, they’re trying to seek something that’s beyond themselves or where they presently stand. And it gets back to that mystical perception that you mentioned, because that’s innate in every one of us to some degree and perhaps more so in all these outstanding artists and creators. 

Robert: The Alice Bailey writings also relate the good, the true, and the beautiful to disease. Can you explain a bit about this? 

Sarah: Well, it’s based on one of the laws of healing and disease, which are outlined in the book by Alice Bailey called Esoteric Healing. And that law says: “Perfection calls imperfection to the surface. Good drives evil from the form of man in time and space, and the method used is harmlessness.” 

Dale: There’s another law that also addresses this whole question of disease and the good and the beautiful, and it says: “Disease, both physical and psychological, has its roots in the good, the beautiful and the true.” And one might ask her, how can this be? What does the disease have to do with the good, the beautiful, and the true? Well, according to the writings of Alice Bailey, this comes about because this divine urge within the human being is essentially the soul aspect, and it tends to produce a resistance in the personality life because the physical personality has its own agenda, has its own values, and its own direction that it wants to go. 

Sarah: It’s usually a status quo, isn’t it? 

Dale: Yes, and it’s usually a purely material direction and based on material values. But on the other hand, the soul has its own plans, its own direction, purposes, and values, which it is trying to work through this personality. So, there tends to be a point of friction within the personality life, and this in turn may cause an area of inflammation somewhere in the body, which in turn leads to a disease of some kind or another. We don’t always attribute disease to the discontent of the personality life, with the soul impact, but according to the Ageless Wisdom teachings, there is this factor that’s at work. Perhaps if we begin to think of disease in these terms, then it might put a whole different perspective on the way we look at disease in life. 

Sarah: It seems an inevitable part of the human condition until one achieves perfection, which for most of us is a long way down the road. 

Dale: It also says that in time—this may be a little hard to believe too—disease will begin to disappear, or phase out, or become less of a problem. Because, as the energy of goodwill becomes more apparent and prominent in human living, and becomes a spontaneous reflection, a spontaneous way of acting—which is a soul value, a soul energy—then as this happens, disease will begin to disappear. 

Sarah: Right, but there’s another way of looking at this. I think our society and particularly the healers who are trying to make human beings aware of more alternative approaches to health—which is very, very good—sometimes seem to give the point of view that if you are ill, you’ve done something wrong; you’ve failed somehow. It’s true that disease is a combination of the two words dis-ease, out of harmony, out of sync or out of order. And of course, that makes us think, “that’s not good,” and therefore the person who has perfect health must be a very advanced, very successful, very good person. But when we look at disease in terms of what you’ve just said—that there’s a friction that’s imposed by the indwelling divinity upon its obstinate, calcified, unresponsive vehicle or form, the personality—then disease can be an expression of an urge to growth and an urge to evolution, an urge to become something more. It doesn’t mean failure, always. 

Robert: So, what you’re saying is that it could be a conflict, or a disharmony between the soul that wants to bring the individual along a certain path, and the personality within the individual who says, “I want to stay within my comfort, my familiar surroundings, my security.” 

Sarah: Yes, the status quo. I have things just the way I like them. Please don’t ask me to change or move or budge in any way. I have things just the way I like it. That’s the personality. That isn’t necessarily good, and the soul might view that attitude with real horror. 

Robert: And the personality views disease with real horror also! (laughter) 

Sarah: True. Of course, we do. I’m not saying, “Oh, good, let’s all get ill.” No, we resist that, and rightly so. I’m just saying this judgmental view that says somebody who is ill has done something wrong with their life doesn’t necessarily hold up. 

Dale: When one begins to direct his life more towards the spiritual orientation, let’s say, then I think there is a peace of mind that comes over one. There is a synchronization there between the outer life and the inner life, and I think that’s very important. It reminds me of studies that are just coming out now in terms of hospitals and the use of prayer and the effect that prayer has on patients. Of course, people who pray already knew this, but doctors are finding out that it does have a definite effect upon the health of the patient, their well-being and the healing process. I think if you look at it esoterically and spiritually, what’s really happening is prayer takes the focus off the physical problem, off the physical disease; it lifts the focus up towards the spirit. This opens up a channel to the spirit and that energy of the soul can pour in more freely, and that allows a healing to take place and that allows a feeling of more contentment and ease. It does produce a healing effect, and that’s one of the values of prayer, because it lifts the focus of consciousness away from the physical onto the spiritual, and that’s very important. 

Robert: Does education have a role in developing a sense of the good, the beautiful, and the true? 

Sarah: I think it has an absolutely vital role, and I wonder whether modern education really gives sufficient value and importance to awakening within—especially within young children—a sense of the good, the beautiful, and the true. In some ways, our society seems so cynical and so reluctant to promote values, or even to discuss them. But I’ve often wondered what effect, for example, beauty might have on the development of a child. We know that children, and especially adolescents, have their own taste in music and sometimes— well, almost inevitably—it’s a style of music that older people don’t appreciate, and that’s just a part of life, that there are these differences in generations. But what if they had to supplement their own adolescent preferences in music with a good dose of what we consider really uplifting: fine music, classical music and so on. What might that impulse of beauty do to their sensitization, to their ability to aspire to something better? The same with literature and drama. I saw a program recently about a class of children—not from a particularly economically well-to-do area at all—who had put on a production of a Shakespeare play. It was not easy for them, especially to master the language, which is Middle English, and it’s not easy for any of us to be comfortable in that dialogue, but by golly, they did it and they were uplifted by it and inspired by it. So yes, I think education has a vital role in this! 

Dale: Yes, and unfortunately you wonder about today’s educators and whether they really recognise the value of this, because it’s those programs that first get cut. The arts and the humanities, band, the plays and all the creative works—this is really what would draw out the great spiritual aspect of every child if they could all participate in these activities, but they’re being cut out because sports comes first and that’s where the money is. 

Robert: Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction writer, said one time that if our civilization ever ceased to exist, the primary thing that future worlds and civilizations would be interested in discovering about us would be the humanities that we had, the arts and the poetry, because any society will eventually discover the law of relativity. I thought that was an interesting comment by Asimov. If the sense of the good, the beautiful, and the true produces a recognition of our shortcomings, who sets the standards by which we are measured? 

Sarah: Well, yes, that’s an interesting thought; the recognition of our shortcomings. Speaking of the friction that Dale mentioned a while ago, which is generated by the soul and its vision, and the personality’s recognition that it isn’t matching that vision fully—doesn’t that suggest that the judge of the shortcomings comes from ourselves, from our inner self? We are in many ways probably our own harshest judge, and we need to learn to be merciful and patient with ourselves, even as we strive towards something better, something finer. I think that that judgment is rendered by the soul. 

Dale: Yes, I was interested in reading the definition in the dictionary of what good is. One definition was: “something conforming to the moral order of the universe; conforming to a standard.” So, we’re always striving to conform to some higher standard. And I suppose ultimately it is God that is the judge of the standards that we set for ourselves.  

Sarah: And we learn to make this judgment step by step, I suppose, through choices and values, and through our ability to discriminate between the lesser good and the greater good, and our ability to set aside personal preference sometimes, or the comfortable choice, and choose something that our inner voice says is finer and better. That takes time and experience and setbacks, and that’s what differentiates people one from another. The real authentic spiritual seeker is the one who will not give up, who will not stop striving towards something better, who is always in a process of becoming and growing and not sitting back in self-satisfaction. 

Robert: So, the true person who is on the path of spiritual self-discovery does not reach a plateau where he sits comfortably and says, “I am not going on anymore. I’m not continuing on that path any longer.” 

Sarah: Well, I don’t think one dare say that. Maybe when you get to a certain age you have to let up on the inner pressure, but I’m not so sure about that because I once heard a very old lady—I think she was a hundred and two or three—say that every day she tried to be a better person. So, maybe we should never give up on that striving to develop our tastes and our sense of beauty, our recognition of the true and the good. It’s a self-imposed standard that we’re trying to meet and the goal is always extended further in front of us. 

Dale: It’s said, though, that the soul never gives us more than we can handle in any one particular lifetime. So, I suppose there is a limit to the goals that are set at that spiritual level, but I agree with what you said. We can always improve our attitudes to life, our attitudes to other people, and that is in as much striving for the good and the true and the beautiful. Just what we do with our own particular thought life and the relationships that we have with other people—we can always tweak those little things. 

Sarah: If the soul doesn’t give us more than we can handle as a goal, that suggests to me that maybe every human being has a different set of standards to meet and a different realm of possibility of attainment, and we have to live up to our own highest sense of what is best and most beautiful. It might vary with each person, but our conscience is our guide, really, our inner voice that says, “I can do better. I can aspire to something finer.” That’s what we ought to listen to and not anything said to us by society, in my opinion. 

Robert: I think the beauty of the universe is in its diversity. I agree with you, Sarah, and maybe it’s joy as a universe that can harmonize that diversity. In closing we invite you to ponder on this thought. Goodwill is the touchstone that will transform the world. Goodwill is love in action. It is the energy that draws us together in right relationship. There is a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program with the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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