Does Goodness Beget Goodness?
A person questioned whether good actions always bring good actions in return.
The truth does seem to be that when we put our faith in people and in circumstances we are doomed to disappointment. There is only one who disappoints us never: God.
But if we act in the right way—not to please people, but to please Him—then it is true that all things begin to flow smoothly, and a world so full of a mixture of circumstances, pleasant and unpleasant tumbled and tangled together, suddenly is seen to be basically good and right.
Our own outlook is the most important thing to be improved. With a right attitude, even harsh-seeming treatment may appear full of hidden purpose, even kindness. To act kindly toward others with nothing but a view to buying their kindness in return would imply a selfish, mercantile attitude. The merit of kindness could never be proved in this way, for the initial act would have little in it of genuine feeling.
Rather, an attitude of true kindness will be its own greatest reward. In whatever way people respond, the kind person sees kindness somehow being reflected back to him from all sides. He is able to turn even curses into blessings, and hurts into an opportunity for inner growth.
But what I said remains true objectively also. You are looking at the short view. What we draw to us now is the result of many attitudes of the past. If people treat us harshly despite our present kindness to them, it is because the seeds of harshness have not been completely erased from our own subconsciousness. For the short view, you can certainly say that goodness begets more goodness in return than badness does. Then is it not reasonable to suppose that, if you perfect that goodness, those relatively desirable returns will improve proportionately?
Still, as I said, in the end only God can never disappoint us, for only God is real.
In divine friendship,
From Letters to Truth Seekers, 1973 (Currently out of print).
Growth: “Every growth in awareness is, in the last analysis, a growth in Self-awareness.” Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness by Swami Kriyananda,
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