"And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." Gen. 2: 16-17, NRSV
Most of you know the rest of the story... the serpent convinced Eve that they would not die if they ate that fruit, and that God's prohibition of eating from that particular tree was because he (God) wanted them to remain ignorant. The fruit looked good, the tree was beautiful, and Eve decided to believe the serpent, eating the fruit herself and feeding some to Adam, as well. Their eyes were indeed opened, they realized they were naked, and experienced shame. When God showed up, Adam blamed Eve, she blamed the serpent, the serpent was condemned, women were sentenced to suffer in childbirth, and men were doomed to suffer and toil in their work forever more. Everyone involved was kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and so began the troubles of humankind on earth.
You do know the Bible is not a history book, right? We weren't kicked out of the blissful experience of the Garden of Eden because a personality named "God" was jealous of our ability to know the difference between good and bad. We weren't expelled as punishment by a vengeful, disappointed deity. While the Bible can be a helpful resource along our journey, we need to look for the message contained within the story. For me, one of the primary meanings is that as long as we choose to "see" good AND evil, we will find the evil we're looking for, and the acceptance of the reality of anything other than Good will cause us to suffer. We will not know paradise until we are able to "see" only Good.
Our spiritual journey is one from forgetfulness to remembering. What we have forgotten, and must remember, is our Divine Identity. Our first Unity principle reminds us that there is only One Power, One Presence, Absolute, Good-Without-Opposite, unchanged, unchanging, unchangeable. Our second principle reminds us that, as the creative expression of Wholeness, we are also Good. Our innate identity is Divine, but we have forgotten. We have looked at the evidence of the manifest world, the outer world where everything changes, where suffering exits and we appear to be separate, and forgotten the Truth of Wholeness. We think we are humans trying to become spiritual, and have forgotten that we are already Spirit, whole, complete, perfect.
Our Master Teacher, Jesus, also shares this lesson in a number of ways. Here are a couple: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" and "The light of the body is the eye: if thine eye be single, they whole body shall be full of light." To me, both of these are reminders to focus only on Good, to stop accepting outer appearances, and claim only Good.
Whatever is happening in our lives, we must be willing to say, "Even this. No matter what, no exceptions, nothing is outside of Good. There is Order, even when we cannot see it's fullness. Even this serves if I choose for it to do so." This body. This life. This house, this job, these people, this political climate, that group, that religion, that "unacceptable" thing. Our job is to Love, to be kind, to hold Good as not only possible, but actually here, present, now. No matter what.
In the beginning, all was (and still is) Good. At some point, we began to believe in "Good and..." something we chose to call not-Good. We have placed things outside the circle of Good, which in Truth has no circumference. There is no "other" out there doing "bad" things. There are only forgetful humans, doing the best they can, and sometimes that's not exactly a high level of accomplishment. This doesn't mean that we just put up with whatever shows up. We claim willingness, we assess the situation, we say "Show me the Good", and we listen. We allow Wisdom to speak to us, and we take the actions which will help restore Wholeness.
Be willing to look for the Good, which is always and everywhere present. Be willing to take the actions which will increase the manifest Good in the world. Be willing to remember What You Are.