"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. "
Christ (Matthew 5: 28)
One of the great points of emphasis in Christ's teachings is that if we wish to live a truly happy life (and, in the process, make a positive impact on the world around us), we need to go beyond mere external actions.
Yes, they are hugely important; but important too are our thoughts and feelings.
If our external actions are 'good' but the accompanying thoughts and feelings are 'bad', then negative results will inevitably follow.
To return to - and expand - Christ's quote above, we read the following (modern translation by Eugene H. Peterson):
"You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices - they also corrupt."
This highlights the problem with simply 'doing your duty', with simply doing 'the right thing', with simply performing the 'correct rituals'.
Unless they are also done with the proper spirit, then they can easily do more harm than good.
The reason for this is simple: thoughts and feelings also carry energetic vibrations. So if our mouth says one thing and our thoughts and feelings another, then we can be blasting someone with negative energy even as we praise them.
Similarly, if we help someone out of obligation but resent doing so, we are showering them - and the world - with negativity even as we do this apparently noble deed.
This problem becomes apparent when we make 'fake' apologies.
You know those times when we're pissed off with someone but feel that, in the circumstances, we'd better try to smooth things over even though we are still furious.
So we approach the person we're mad with, we apologize through clenched teeth and, lo and behold, find that the best result we ever get is a frosty reconciliation.
But we've also experienced the opposite: times when we are genuinely sorry, apologize and find that, in many cases, even when it would be fair enough for the person we are apologizing to to still hold a grudge, we are forgiven.
This person feels the regret beneath our words and is moved by this energy.
Beyond External Actions
Of course, sometimes - as Christ's quote suggests - the problem doesn't so much arise from the dissonance between thoughts, feelings and actions, but simply the thoughts and feelings alone. In other words:
You don't have sex with your friend's wife.
You don't whack someone over the head with a bar.
You don't verbally abuse someone.
You don't provoke someone with a wicked stare.
But you do imagine, think and feel doing some of these things and, as such, send negative shockwaves out into the universe.
You may object that holding ourselves accountable to this 'inner morality' seems rather tough and, possibly, even unfair ('Hey, we didn't do anything after all, did we?'); but you only need to turn to your past experience to see that positive and negative energy emanating from a person can easily make a huge impact on those around him or her.
Recall situations, for instance, where you're enjoying time with friends, the mood is positive and then...someone enters the room full of hurt and anger. Haven't you noticed that, even if he or she doesn't say anything, the mood of the entire group often shifts?
Naturally, the reverse can be true: the group is feeling down, someone full of life and positivity enters and voila - everyone starts to feel better.
So we're talking about a phenomenon that we have all experienced. Something we can verify as true if we look within.
And that is why we would do well consider this higher form of morality, because otherwise we might be doing all of the 'right things' but still end up miserable.
There is a well-known - apparently true - story about a rainmaker (made famous by Jung), who was called into a village in China that was suffering from a terrible drought.
The villagers had tried everything to make the rains come. The Catholics had made their processions. The Protestants had said their prayers. The Chinese had burned incense and fired guns to frighten away the 'drought demons', but all to no avail.
In the end, desperate, they called in a little, old rainmaker from a far away province.
When he arrived they asked him what he needed and he said only a quiet room, some food and water. Once he received these, he disappeared into his room and didn't come out.
Four days went by and then, from out of a clear blue sky, a massive snowfall came - something totally out of character for the season - and, with that, the drought was broken.
When asked how he made the snow and rain come, the rainmaker at first said he did nothing.
Then, pressed further, he explained that when he first arrived, the village was in a state of disharmony.
He therefore retreated to his room so that he could bring himself into a state of inner harmony and, as a result of that, draw the village into harmony with him. After that it was only natural for the rains to come.
Becoming a Beacon
From the above story and from your personal experience, it should be clear that your inner state of being matters both to you and the world.
I therefore invite you to embrace this higher form of morality. A form of morality that includes both the inner and outer world.
In so doing, I invite you to become a Beacon.
Beacons know that every thought and feeling they have makes a difference to the world and, as such, do everything they can to create as much inner harmony as possible.
Yes, there will be moments - sometimes short, sometimes long - when inner balance crumbles and they feel grumpy, irritable and dark; but each time this happens they do their best to rebalance themselves, because they understand that their inner happiness is no longer only about them.
Afterwards, once their inner balance has been re-established they then do their best to shine as brightly as possible so that the world around them can be bathed in healing energy.
In this way they are 'Warriors of the Light'.
Protectors of the planet.
Guardians of Earth.
Are you willing to join their ranks?