Meditation and Basic Goodness

An article I wrote in 2010 after a weekend meditation retreat:

This past weekend I learned that the successful person in life is kind to herself or himself.  That sounds selfish, but it is actually the major component that makes up our journey to enlightenment.  Most of us have been told all of our lives that we were unworthy worms.  Some of us follow traditions that are based on the idea that we are not good and cannot possible “do” good except through the influence of some objective entity.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says that, “Fundamentally, primordially, innately we are good.  Is a very powerful thing to be brought up in that environment: to be told that we are good.  A lot of times we think, I’m not good, I need more, I’m not complete.”

Basic goodness has much to do with the natural energy that exists in our world.  This energy is the motivating factor behind what we do and what we think and who we are.  It is through the practice of meditation that we “tap” into this basic goodness and begin to understand it.  Basic goodness is experienced in our day- to- day lives at work, play and home. It is learning to appreciate the snow, the sunshine, the rain, the wind and all the elements of our natural world.  It has to do with perception.

Mediation allows us to be aware of what is happening in our minds. When we become aware of the discursive way our mind works we can learn that to stop and to be mindful of what is around us is a way to understand things as they are.  We can relate with appreciation to what we see, hear, smell, taste and see.  In other words, we learn that were it not for the darkness we could not know what it is to see the light.

In “The Sacred Path of the Warrior” Chogyam Trungpa wrote that, “If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings.  We have moments of basic non-aggression and freshness..it is worthwhile to take advantage of these moments..we have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good.” (pages 29-33 Sacred Path of the Warrior)

On this path we are taught that we need to open ourselves to ourselves.  “Developing tenderness towards yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately.  You don’t feel you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential.” (pages 35 – 36)

Through working with our minds we can become familiar with how our mind convinces us that we are bad or that the world is basically bad.  We can learn that our concepts, notions and ideologies are sometimes hindrances to really starting to appreciate who we are.

Trungpa, Chogyam, Sacred Path of The Warrior, from pages 29-36, Shambhala Publications, Boston, Massachusetts, 1978 by Diana J. Mukpo.

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