THE ENERGY OF GOODWILL
The errors and mistakes of past centuries, culminating in the recent world war and our present problems, are the joint errors and mistakes of humanity as a whole. This recognition will lead to the establishing of the principle of sharing, so needed in the world today.
There are no problems and conditions which cannot be solved by the will-to-good. Goodwill nourishes the spirit of understanding and fosters the manifestation of the principle of cooperation. This cooperative spirit is the secret of all human relations and the enemy of competition.
There is a blood relationship between all people which, when recognised, dissolves all barriers and ends the spirit of separativeness and hate. The peace and happiness of each is the concern, therefore, of all. This develops the principle of responsibility and lays the foundation of right corporate action.
These are basic beliefs of the men and women of goodwill and provide the incentive to all service and action. These three practical and scientific truths embody the three basic facts and the initial acceptance of all world servers. They are contrary to no world position, subversive of no government or religious attitude and are innate in the consciousness of all human beings, evoking immediate response. Their acceptance will ‘heal’ international sores.
We are living in one of the major transition periods of all human experience.This transition is so general that it involves changes in every department of human affairs and thought and is producing fundamental modifications in people’s attitudes to life itself. Not only are we changing the physical world, but we are slowly transmuting and altering the quality of our desires and profoundly altering our ideas about science, education, religion and government as well as our standards of social betterment and security.
Every transition period is inevitably one of struggle and difficulty, but it is also one of great opportunity. And since the transition today affects the entire human family in every part of the world, it is basically the day of opportunity for every one of us. Suffering and difficulty is universal but human progress and achievement is being made along every line.
The record of human history has been largely one of greed and aggression, of selfishness and ambition, and no race, nation or group is exempt from this indictment. Today, as humanity approaches maturity, the conflict between selfish values, attitudes and ways of life on the one hand, breeding hatred, differences and separation, and the better ways of goodwill and understanding, cooperation and sharing on the other, becomes acute. The struggle is long and hard, and the end is not yet in sight. But there are many powerful indications that good will triumph.
The Need for Goodwill
There are many different qualities and energies impinging on human consciousness today, producing both constructive and destructive effects. The most needed, if we are to move safely into the new age, is the energy of goodwill.The best-laid plans fail if those who implement them lack goodwill to one another.
Without goodwill, conferences are empty of any real and lasting results. The existence of a spirit of goodwill is an essential pre-requisite for the creative solution of the many problems of humanity. Goodwill is the common platform on which all races and creeds can meet.
Hope lies in the fact that goodwill is far more widespread throughout the world than is recognised. The spirit of goodwill is present in millions of people, and it evokes a sense of responsibility. Men and women of goodwill will sense this new world responsibility and seek to undertake their share. They think increasingly in terms of the whole and their influence is growing as a positive force for good. It is upon this steadily growing goodwill that the hope of the world is based. It is found in the membership of every group which exists for world betterment. It constitutes an unused power which has never yet been organised as a world force.
If the men and women of goodwill in the world are to grasp their present opportunity they must deepen their understanding of this energy they possess, and understand more clearly how it may be applied in practical terms in the modern world.
The Meaning of Goodwill
Goodwill is humanity’s first attempt to express the love of God, for goodwill is the lowest expression of true love and the one most easily understood. It is time that people should, temporarily at least, stop talking about love, about loving their fellowmen, and about the use of love in solving problems, and talk instead upon a lower and more practical level – that of goodwill. To many the use of the word love in matters of group and national relationships is meaningless. But goodwill still retains significance and can be understood by all. Goodwill is both an attitude and a harmonising energy. Goodwill is love in action.
It is interesting to note that the meaning of “goodwill”, from the angle of an actual dictionary definition, and as it is used today by men and women of goodwill, has never been clearly defined. Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition:–
“Good intention or good disposition; benevolence. Cheerful consent; heartiness; readiness.
Law: The favour or advantage in the way of custom which a business has acquired beyond the mere value of what it sells.”
The emphasis is upon the more superficial meanings whether emotional and sentimental or commercial and materialistic. In fact, however, goodwill is an expression of “the will to that which is good and ought to be”. It is no longer to be misinterpreted as a sentimental or negative kindliness, but as a practical and dynamic force for constructive action, capable of remaking the world.
The Role of the Mind
Goodwill is without direction if not controlled by thought. It is the mind that gives this direction and helps the individual to discriminate between right and wrong, to choose between what is good and what is evil, and to direct energy into the desired channels.
Energy in fact follows thought. This is as true of the energy of goodwill, generally regarded as an essentially emotional and sympathetic impulse, as it is of any other kind of energy. The mind is a better carrier of the potency of goodwill, and of divine love, than the emotions. Until experienced this is hard to believe for, compared to feeling, thinking seems rather cold to most people. However it is impossible to escape from personal glamours and biases until we move from emotional living to the more impersonal level of the mind.
If goodwill is as much an expression of true love as humanity at its present stage of evolution can express, its use under wise mental direction can be of tremendous potency on every plane of human experience and activity.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”, is another expression of the truth that “energy follows thought”. Permanent changes in the individual consciousness rarely occur overnight. They are a matter of growth and the following of a plan with a fixed mental intent. Thought power is, in fact, the greatest power we have in the world today for transforming individuals and humanity, for the creation and unfoldment of goodwill, and eventually the capacity to express true love. It is no accident that love has been defined as “pure reason”.
The Platform of Men and Women of Goodwill
All work becomes spiritual when rightly motivated, when wise discrimination is employed, and when spiritual power is added to the knowledge gained in the physical world where emotion and thinking also play their parts.
One of the main qualities of men and women of goodwill everywhere is their attitude to the major problems which confront humanity at present – a strong sense of responsibility for helping to solve those problems.
These people of goodwill are to be found in every country in the world, and in every racial grouping. They are members of every religion and church; they are to be found working in every political and economic grouping without exception.
There is in fact no area of human life or thought that lacks the harmonising presence of people of goodwill.
Men and women of goodwill who are associated with particular political, religious, economic, cultural or other groupings in the human family do not work for the benefit of these groupings at the expense of others. Whatever their outer affiliations, people of goodwill stand for:–
1. The belief in the underlying unity of humanity, which is part of the oneness of the whole planet and the life upon it.
2. The belief in a worldwide brotherhood (removed from the realm of sentiment, of idealism and of mystical aspiration) as a demonstrated reality.
3. The belief that the major need today is to awaken interest in and mobilise the forces of light and the resources of the men and women of goodwill. If this is done the negative and evil forces will lose their hold and power in human affairs.
4. Harmlessness in speech, writing and action. Public opinion must be educated in the principle of non-separativeness, and people’s minds must be prepared for the changes of thought and techniques of work of the new age.Harmlessness is not a negative or sweet and kindly activity, and does not remove the need for firm or even drastic action if the occasion demands.Harmlessness is a state of mind in which the motive behind all activity is goodwill.
5. An unprejudiced mental analysis of all human problems so that any solution may be in the interests of the whole.
6. An inner blending of objectives which recognises the value of the individual as well as of true group work, which means group understanding, group interrelation and group goodwill.
Above all people of goodwill stand for the fundamental freedom of the human spirit. Men and women of goodwill should remain free to think and choose and act according to their own conscience, for there is no uniformity of people. There can be uniformity of purpose and approach, but a uniformity of reaction must not be expected. Unity is not uniformity. Diversity does not exclude unity, nor create chaos. The chaos is essentially in the minds of humans, and with clarity of thought and goodwill a right and constructive relationship between the parts can be established.
The Science of Relationships
An analogy can be drawn between human service and an electrical current.The current only flows when it is providing energy for something beyond itself.Selfishness drains away power as surely as a short circuit and, if too great, can equally surely halt the whole flow of power. When the technique of goodwill is more generally understood, its energy will begin to flow and its power be felt more widely.
Each of us is involved in a complex network of relations, individual, group, community, national and international. These may be thought of as the “horizontal” relationships of individuals with their fellows and with their environment. This horizontal system of relationships is a means of contact, communication and influence. It is a carrier of energy at different levels, physical, emotional and mental. And since we live in a rapidly evolving world, this system of relationships is in a continual state of flux and change. The task of the person of goodwill is so to handle his or her place within this system, and the forces and energies under their control, that he or she assists in establishing right human relationships. Right relationships may be defined as those which encourage the maximum evolutionary growth of all the individual and group units within the system. The energy of goodwill is the most fundamental and important means to this end.
But humanity is also part of another relationship system – the “vertical”, which links us to spiritual levels of awareness, to God and to the Universe. Contact with this vertical system is made by knowing and living up to the highest in oneself. Prayer, meditation and reflective thought are the essential means of creating and maintaining the “vertical” life of the spirit.
Creative living, involving the dynamic expression of the soul, or inner spiritual nature in the world of human relationships, calls for a right balance between the “vertical” and the “horizontal” systems of relationship, between the subjective and objective factors. Lack of attention to the “vertical” life of the spirit leads to static, crystallised and uninspired relationships and action in the everyday world. Excessive concentration on the subjective, or “vertical” life without allowing any opportunity for right expression in the material world can lead to overstimulation, tendencies to glamour and unreality, and to those distressing cases of messianic fanaticism that occur only too frequently among the well-intentioned but unbalanced aspirants.
The right balancing of the “vertical” and “horizontal “ life can only be accomplished when the individual can balance the forces of their own nature, within their own psyche. The symbol of this balance, which also symbolises the goal for men and women of goodwill in the new age, is the even-armed cross. Once the balance is achieved, the fire of the spirit can inspire and permeate the world of everyday in a wisely adjusted system of human relationships.
Programme of Action
Focused, determined, enlightened public opinion is the most potent force in the world. It has no equal, but has been little used. The gullibility of the average citizen, their willingness to accept what is told them if it is said loudly enough and with sufficient plausible force, and especially if supported by one-sided evidence, is well known. The well-turned phrase of the trained politician, intent on personal selfish purposes, the arguments of the silver-tongued demagogue as he or she exploits some pet theory at the expense of the public, and the rantings of the person with a cause, a theory or an axe to grind, all find an easy audience. Mass psychology and mob determinations have been exploited down the ages, for the unthinking and the emotional are easily swayed in any direction, and hitherto this has been turned to their own advantage by those who do not have the best interests of humanity at heart. It has been used for selfish and evil ends far more often than for good.
But this negative receptivity (which does not deserve the name of public opinion) can be as easily turned to good ends as bad, and to constructive measures as to destructive. Planned direction and a wisely outlined programme with this in view can bring about the needed change and make a sound and intelligent public opinion one of the major factors in bringing in the new age.
The major task of the men and women of goodwill is therefore an educational one. They hold and advocate no miraculous solution of world problems but they know that a spirit of goodwill, particularly if trained and implemented by knowledge, can produce an atmosphere and an attitude that will make the solving of problems possible. When people of goodwill meet, no matter what their political party, nation or religion, there is no problem which they cannot eventually solve, and solve to the satisfaction of the various parties involved. It is the production of this atmosphere and the evocation of this attitude which is the principal work of the men and women of goodwill, and not the presentation of some cut and dried solution. This spirit of goodwill can be present even where there is fundamental disagreement between parties.
The service of any man or woman of goodwill can conveniently be considered under three headings.
It is essential for everyone to realise that, as an individual, they are a definite and integral part of the whole, and have therefore a very real sphere of influence. It is impossible to give useful service if we are oppressed by a sense of futility and are not really convinced that what we do makes any real difference. We must next recognise that unless we discipline and train ourselves, we shall fail to take full advantage of the many opportunities for service that will come our way. On the basis of these two recognitions, each man and woman of goodwill can plan a simple but definite programme to increase their usefulness, as follows:–
1. Cultivate the spirit of goodwill in themselves and eliminate all attitudes of hate, prejudice, bias, and criticism. Service, unless rightly motivated, is of little value.
2. Train the mind to be useful in two directions – in understanding and interpreting the world of human affairs, and in reaching the world of creative ideas and inspiration. All men and women of goodwill need to be familiar with what is going on in the main fields of human activity. They need a realistic understanding of the major problems that humanity must solve and a recognition of the major trends now shaping the future. The modern world cannot be understood without reference to the underlying causes that have created the present human situation. This calls for conscious planned study, wide reading, and the development especially of a wise discrimination. Similarly the man or woman of goodwill needs to develop the capacity for reflective and meditative thought without which it is impossible to tap that level of consciousness from which come those creative ideas and that intuitive understanding that makes it possible to solve the most difficult human problems.
3. Express whatever goodwill and understanding they may possess in service. We can only learn to serve by serving. Without some practical expression our aspirations, intentions and ideas remain purely theoretical. They must be tested out in life, in the light of actual experience.
4. Reorganise our lives so that we have time for the needed service. Effective service requires sacrifice and the ability to put first things first. If we really desire to serve and to be useful, we shall need to adjust the patterns of our living so that we make time available for what is really important. Many people quite unconsciously act according to the dictum “Service as convenient”. Others see the problem, but do not see how they can find time for what they would like to do. More often than not no solution can be found until the person decides to put a life of service first, no matter what the cost. Once this reversal has been achieved, solutions can be found.
Life of Service
No matter what the individual’s circumstances, environment or job may be, it provides many opportunities for the life of service. Service is essentially the spontaneous expression of soul contact. The meeting of human need and the creation of a world understanding within our immediate circle and environment is one of the first responsibilities of each man or woman of goodwill. The following suggestions form the basis of a programme that could be the starting point for a life of expanding usefulness for any individual of goodwill:–
1. Discuss your understanding of world affairs and humanity’s problems in your home, among your friends and in your environment without fear or favour. Regard such discussions as a service and believe that your interests and enthusiasm cannot fail to have an effect.
2. If possible, gather people together to discuss the problems of this transition period and the principles of the coming new age or cooperate with those who are already doing so. Look upon such meetings as a contribution to the moulding of public opinion and as a means of helping to change the content of world thought.
3. Study the objectives, methods and techniques of the various groups and organisations interested in world service along many different lines. You may not agree with all of them or with their plans and modes of working, but all are needed. The types of men are many, the races and conditions are varied, and the problems facing humanity call for innumerable ways of working. All can play their part if based on real goodwill and if fanaticism is absent. Keep a record of such groups, and establish helpful and friendly relations with them to the best of your ability. Where it is possible to associate yourself wholeheartedly with the objectives and work of a particular organisation, offer your services of time, energy and money for whatever work needs to be done.
4. Find and keep a record of the men and women of goodwill in your environment. Be spiritually aggressive in this matter and go out to discover them. When you have found them, be interested in what they are doing, and also endeavour to have them cooperate with you in your lines of activity. Likewise strengthen and develop your contacts with men and women of goodwill in other countries all over the world.
5. Pray regularly, and to your prayers add meditation and reflection. Behind the world pattern and structure stands its originator, its planner, its motivating energy, its central will, its living creator. Seek by prayer to reach that central will, thus blending yourself with the sensed divine objective and identifying your will with the divine will.
6. Find two other people to work with you. There is a unique potency in this triple relationship. God himself, so say all the world scriptures, works as a trinity of goodness, and the person of goodwill in their own small sphere can do likewise, finding two other people of like mind to form a goodwill triangle of light and spiritual interplay. Each of the two who cooperate can, in their turn, do the same, and thus a great network of goodwill can spread throughout the world.
7. No matter what the personality may demand, lay aside whatever money can be spared for work of world service. Lack of money is one of the major hindrances to all goodwill work today.
This is a simple but effective basis for a programme of goodwill action. Many men and women of goodwill are already working along these lines. Their numbers can be rapidly multiplied. In playing our part we should remember the dangers of fanaticism and the need for personal discipline and preparation. It is not difficult to formulate large and unrealistic plans for world progress and betterment and, as many do, seek to impose their vision of what the world should become on others.
The need today however is for dedicated servers who will cooperate, under impression from the soul, with the divine plan as it seeks to work out.
There is a dearth of effective leadership today in the ranks of people of goodwill. This is well illustrated by the fact that whenever a person of ability and dedication offers their services and time to an organisation, he or she is very quickly given responsibility. Opportunities are as varied as the abilities of those who offer help. Organisers and administrators; teachers, lecturers and discussion group leaders; writers; investigators, information specialists and research workers; and the many people who, though they have no specialist skills, are able to help keep a group alive, creative and forward looking are all needed.
Those who recognise the need for goodwill workers and who train themselves for service, find expanding opportunities open out before them. What begins as a spare time activity can become, if the individual is suitable and the need sufficiently great, an all absorbing life task. Goodwill work, in its many forms, should increasingly provide vocational opportunities for those who are prepared to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary for a life of world service.
This pamphlet is issued as an act of service by World Goodwill. World Goodwill is a
worldwide movement helping to establish right human relations through the constructive power of goodwill.
World Goodwill is an activity of the Lucis Trust, a registered educational charity founded in 1922.
To stimulate and encourage men and women of goodwill everywhere to establish right human relations between races, nations and classes by an intelligent understanding and adequate communication.
To assist men and women of goodwill in their studies of world problems, and in the effective application to these problems of goodwill, cooperation and sharing for the common good.
To cooperate with other organisations in constructive activities contributing to world unity, stability and right relations
To make available up-to-date information on constructive current action in the main areas of human life through the publication of a quarterly newsletter.
To establish a goodwill Commentary on issues of world interest.
To aid in establishing goodwill as the keynote of the new civilisation
To create a world-wide mailing list of men and women of goodwill.