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Lions Roar : May 2015
we practice warriorship, it is easy to have little places where we seek escape and comfort. Personally, the more my path unfolds, the more I see the need for the kind of discipline and structure that keeps us on the spot, paying attention to how we dress, how we speak, what we do, and how we engage with others. Being on the spot pushes us into a profound form of practice. Even smiling at a stranger can bring us into the present mo- ment, which contains our own simplicity. The basic goodness of ourselves and others is a very big question—emotionally, ethically, and philosophically. Could it really be that humanity is basically good, kind, wise, and strong? In a materialistic society, we know the outer elements of what it means to be successful, but we are becoming less familiar with the inner elements that lead to deep happiness and positive so- cial connectivity. Through meditation, we practice reawakening those qualities by feeling our own worthiness. Meditation practice is an opportunity for us to contact the inherent openness of our being, known in Buddhism as buddhanature. This universal nature is characterized by kind- ness and compassion. A successful meditation practice is one in which we intimately connect with this naturally occurring love in our hearts, and then embody it in our life. When we practice meditation, we strip away the words and discover how it feels to be human. We come to an inexpressible experience of our own being that can happen only when we let ourselves relax—when we are not afraid of ourselves, others, or our environment. Especially in a time when there is so much self-loathing, aggression, and mistrust—not just of the world but of our own inherent strength and sanity—there has to be a point where we allow ourselves to rest and feel who we are. This is very important, because when we feel who we are, we have confidence in our goodness no matter what experiences we have. This is connected to nonattachment. Relatively we are hav- ing a lot of experiences, but ultimately we see that there really is no good day or bad day if you are thoroughly there to experience it. There is just basic goodness, beyond relative good and bad. This is when basic goodness really begins to manifest, as we recognize the potent quality of the human mind and spirit. If we understand and appreciate our worthiness, our life becomes a truly spiritual path. When we manifest human dignity, our society has a natural predisposition to manifest it also. If enough of us take this view, the fabric of our society will be completely infused with the sun of goodness, which allows the dignity of wisdom, kindness, and strength to arise naturally. By strengthening our own humanity, we engender confidence in the worthiness of humanity itself. Human existence does not have to be mired in aggression, selfishness, and deceit. As humans, we are worthy to exist on planet Earth. We communicate this by creating a good society, one that expresses genuineness and bravery. Basic goodness has no borders. It has genuine potential to benefit the multicultural nature of our modern geopolitical landscape. It is dynamic, alive, and energetic—the nature of life altogether. Basic goodness is not simply a concept to be explored but an immediate and tangible experience that we en- counter every time we breathe, smell, touch, or look. It is not a premeditated decision but the essence of our humanity. When we lose contact with what makes us human, society devolves into an individualistic struggle in which people are disconnected from themselves and others. This leads to a lack of care toward nature and the environment. In contrast, basic goodness is an expression of the natural harmony that exists when humanity connects with its own internal environment. This in turn connects us with the external environment. So in discovering basic goodness we have a great opportunity to influence how the world moves toward the future. We can use our understand- ing to create an enlightened society. The question of human nature is the most important global issue that we face today. Do we believe and trust in the basic goodness of humanity, as well as of society? Humanity has come to a crossroads—we can either destroy the world or we can create a good future. At this time, there is tremendous doubt regarding the inherent goodness and worthi- ness of our species. If we draw the conclusion that humanity is not inherently good—that we do not possess inherent wis- dom—what hope can the future possibly hold? In that case, it seems inevitable that the forces of fear and doubt will escalate, creating an internal environment that is detrimental to the hu- man mind and heart, as well as to the planet. In these challenging times, it is tempting to retreat into our own personal existence, hoping the world’s woes will not affect us too harshly. However, none of us can escape the social, politi- cal, spiritual, and environmental challenges of this time. Whether intentionally or not, we are all forced to contemplate the nature of our existence, and more importantly, the nature of humanity. The conclusions we draw will affect our global future. ♦ A successful meditation practice is one in which we connect with the naturally occurring love in our hearts. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 48