Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

Building the good


Painted Desert

“Painted Desert” by Judy Hughey Wright

Dwelling on imperfections, berating myself or others for them, saps time, energy, and attention (those resources over which I have choice). It offers them to what is counterproductive, even destructive — when I have been invited, instead, toward the building of the good.

“Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils – which are in essence negative – will fade away and be no more.”  ~ From a letter from the Universal House of Justice, 1974

The same letter noted, “… demolishing one by one the evils in the world is a vain waste of time and effort.” When asked about evil, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá offered this definition: Evil is imperfection.


“Pueblo” by Judy Hughey Wright

When I choose to participate in the building of the good, I become aware of how much preoccupation with negativity can surround our lives, fill our thoughts, and absorb our personal resources. I can also come to see how this is the debilitating presence of blind imitation of the past, including the kind of thinking that was born in earlier, fearful experiences and has led to attitudes, behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs that have no basis in reality — nor, indeed, anywhere near it.

My encounter with the contrast of imperfection can urge me toward accepting that there is much I don’t know, or can’t change, yet I can always discover the limitless possibilities of love in that more-productive kind of response that I’ve been created and equipped to make.

WTOEimage.phpRather than exercising my survival-driven instinctual reaction to fight imperfection, or try to escape it, there’s a response better-aligned with the purpose for which I’ve been created. It will contribute toward building what “has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils – which are in essence negative – will fade away and be no more”. 

I open, today, to the possibilities of that response.

Adapted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?


2 thoughts on “Building the good

  1. Phyllis, this is SO good and SO true. As I get older I’m not necessarily “easier” on myself, but I am far better at putting things into perspective. I.E., if I screw something up it’s not good but I don’t obsess about it because I know I’ll probably get the next thing right, and the next one after that. Also, for better or worse, nobody else can be me. I often take heart from actress Kathy Bates (who will be playing me in the biopic, fingers crosses) and her response to a reporter who said, “Well, you’re not Michelle Pfieffer.” Bates told the journalist, “Well, she isn’t me.” BINGO! My current philosophy of life is, I get up every day and do what I do, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Period.

  2. Kind Kathy – you’ve given me rich content for my morning reflections today. 🙂 I’m very grateful that you are willing to show up for the service of being you each day. Have been, for a long time. xx

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