Distinguishing Right from Wrong
Years ago, at a company party, I began to dance with my personal trainer, a female friend. Apparently, we were dancing too closely, because her two-year-old son ran to us and tried to separate us.
How did a two-year-old know that because I was not his mother’s husband my dancing closely with her was wrong? When the woman’s husband danced closely with her and kissed her, the boy did not run to separate them—he joined them and hugged them.
I wonder if children naturally know right from wrong.And, maybe it is not only children who intuitively know the difference—maybe adults intuitively know right fromwrong, too.
For example, watch children fight over something and listen carefully to what they say. They will try to communicate what they understand to be right and wrong.
We adults also fight, often literally to our death, for what we consider to be right and against what we consider to be wrong.
But, if there is a universal natural distinction between right and wrong, why are we not all in agreement? Why are we fighting to the death over what one thinks is right and the other thinks it is wrong?
Because we do not listen to the heart. We differentiate right from wrong in our head, and our head receives many, many conflicting messages from different sources: people, teachers, books, and experiences. We suppress what our heart is telling us, what feels natural. We suppress what our conscience says and use only our brain to justify our deeds. By doing so, we distort what we naturally know is right and wrong.
My insight is this: when you wonder what is right and what is wrong, do not only think.Stop that brain of yours for a moment. Just feel. Does it feel right or does it feel wrong?
Right and wrong should not only be judged but be felt as well.
When I wonder what the right thing to do is, I stop thinking. I close my eyes and try to feel.
This is why I recommend meditation. In meditation, you stop your brain from thinking and let thoughts pass by like clouds. You do not let thoughts take over. What is right will emerge in the meditation, without thinking and without deliberation. The answer you will arrive at will not come with justification for why it is right or wrong—it will just feel right or wrong, and that is good enough. The answer will come from the heart, and that is where God resides.
Not everything needs to be explained. Not everything needs to be understood. Not everything canbe understood. If we follow our feelings (after doing the due diligence of calming the mind and thinking about the subject), our decision will be final, and we will feel complete. The heart is connected to some absolute wisdom. An absolute conscience is communicated to us if we allow it, if we allow ourselves to feel by taking a moment to stop thinking.
There is something I would call absolute right and wrong. We get confused about what it is because our brains—as heavily influenced as they are by education, experience, and religion—cannot feel it. The heart, where we feel, is innocent. It is pure and clean. The heart should be a conduit to feeling this absolute knowledge and conscience. Feel more, think less.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder and CEO, Adizes Institute Worldwide