‘do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’


June 6th 2013
Most traditions symbolically associate the right side with good and the left with evil. We find this symbolism of left and right in this saying from Jesus: ‘When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’ To interpret this saying correctly, you have to understand that the right and left hands represent a human being’s two natures – the higher and the lower. When the right hand, the higher nature, wants to ‘give alms’ – an expression you have to take in the much broader sense of doing good – it must be careful that the left hand, the lower nature, does not come and erect obstacles or turn the action to its own advantage. This is a principle of strategy; you will never see generals lay out the battle plans they are working on for the enemy to see. So, the right hand must not only act intelligently to work out the best plans; it must also make sure it protects them from the machinations of the left hand.