The 44: Seeing Our Basic Goodness
The idea of touching our tender heart and seeing our basic goodness is totally foreign to most of us. It might seem corny, or like mystic b.s. That’s OK, let things seem foreign and corny, but still give it a shot. Don’t close off your mind to things that seem weird.
What I’d like to dive into today is the idea of seeing our basic goodness. How strange is that, to think that we have a fundamental goodness underlying everything we do, always there? Most of us think of ourselves as fundamentally flawed, with all kinds of ugliness or things to be dissatisfied with. How can we be good all the time, then?
Think of the “bad” things that you do:
- Being dishonest
- Being lazy, procrastinating, being slothful
- Eating too much junk food, smoking, drinking, doing weed
- Being jealous, judgmental, show-offy, vain, mean
And so on. Why do we do these things? Usually because there’s some kind of pain in us, and these are the ways we know to deal with that pain. We numb ourselves, strike out at others, get angry or complain, go down into patterns of envy or criticism. These are the ways we deal with our pain and fear.
Underlying the pain and fear is simply a tender heart that doesn’t want to be in pain or fear. It wants to be loved, wants to be safe, wants to be at peace, wants to be recognized as good, wants to not hurt. There is nothing at all wrong with these things — the problem is not the tender heart, but our habitual strategies for dealing with the pain and fear. Under all of it is a tender heart that hurts.
And under that tender heart … is pure love. It’s awareness and love. It’s goodness. You might have trouble seeing that, but trust me on this. I have studied it in myself and others, and many wise people have studied it and come to the same conclusion. It’s there. It just takes practice to see it.
So what I ask is not that you take this on blind faith, but that you give it a chance, and investigate it with full faith. Whenever you feel pain or fear, try to feel your tender heart underneath. Then feel the basic goodness under that. Don’t feel it yet? Keep practicing.
Eventually you’ll feel it, I believe. And then you’ll start to develop a trust that it’s always there, and trust that it’s in others too. And what an incredible life that is, trusting in our own basic goodness, not needing to run when we’re afraid or hurt, being able to stay and feel the basic goodness underlying everything we do.
How wonderful! Keep practicing.