Inherent Goodness

Do you believe some people are good and some people are evil? Do you think we’re born neutral and get to choose our path? Do you think we’re born good and then mess it up? Were you raised Catholic, born with original sin that you’re still recovering from?

Why does it matter? I still need to keep thinking about all these questions.

Nevertheless I’m going to go out on a limb today and encourage everyone to contemplate our future. To think about these very questions and how they impact your thoughts and actions. Our world is at a crossroads. Our country is at a crossroads in this election year.  I think it’s prime time to start some contemplation. If we make choices just based on our own “selfish” needs without thinking about the consequences for the rest of the people and animals and plants in the world then probably nothing can be sustained. (I should probably put some examples in here to illustrate my point) (Will this be more engaging if I ask you to come up with some examples of your own?) (Feel free to share!)

On the other hand, if we see that we are all interconnected and that what we do affects things we can’t even dream about, then maybe we’ll make some different choices. (Again with the examples!) Is that our inherent goodness coming out?

But what if we make selfish choices? Does that mean we inherently bad? Misguided? Not contemplative?

Going back to yesterday’s post, what if we take up the Sakyong‘s challenge and  see ourselves as inherently good. And further what if we start looking at others as inherently good as well? Can that make a difference?

Being Brave

Hello again! I’ve missed being here. I’m not sure how nine days of 2012 have passed so quickly. But here we are. The boys are back in school. The tree is down. And most of the decorations are back in the attic.

And so. I’ve made a resolution for the new year. I never do that. But here we are. And I’ve done it.

I’ve been listening to a retreat given by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Ani Pema Chodron and Acharya Adam Lobel titled, Being Brave: Transforming our World. These are teachings from the Shambhala tradition of Buddhism which emphasizes not just reflection but action.

The beginning of this retreat asks us to do two things. To be brave and to reflect on our basic goodness.

The Sakyong challenges us to contemplate our inherent goodness. He notes that it is very easy to doubt it. And the more we can explore, and talk about it, and contemplate, maybe instead of feeling that we are not worthy or good, or that humankind is selfish and flawed, that if we find our goodness we can create a better community locally and globally. We can take 2012 and make our world better. That is pretty awesome in every way you can define the word “awesome.”

So that’s my resolution. To be brave. To reflect on my basic goodness, and the inherent goodness of humankind. Because I think that if I do that and if we do that, it will really make a difference. So. Finally. First time ever. I’ve made a resolution.

And further, for me, and the scary part of this resolution, is the part where I feel like I need to find my brave. To put my money where my resolution is. And that is that I want to do it here together. I’m hoping this can be interactive and that I can bring thoughts and ideas to the page that are worthy of reflection and debate. That’s kind of scary for me. And for sure a challenge.

So. Thanks for bearing with me and joining in.