It is a distinct stage in the development of the aspirant when — rather than being easily distracted by some imagined consolation for his pain, or by concluding who is to blame for it — his first and real preference in the moment is to increase his consciousness of his condition, and not to find ways around it.
Guy Finley explains that true goodness is not measured by actions which validate your image of being good. What is truly good has no self-reference — it comes from pure action, which is a natural outcome of being present.
The character of goodness, of compassion and kindness that we would like to reflect and express before our friends (and enemies), requires that we place “its” life before our own. And yet, when we agree to this interior action of self-sacrifice, not only is our life returned to us, but we find that it has been made greater than it was — even though we had to first surrender it to something seen as being greater than ourselves.
Once we see it’s impossible to please ourselves at the expense of the pain of someone else, we are released from the cycle of seeking a false comfort whose conflict compromises “winners” and “losers” alike. Only then are we free to enter a new world – above the opposites — where goodness is its own reward.