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Lions Roar : November 2016
LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 63 to see goodness happening in so many ways—rational and irrational, visible and invisible, through signs, words, and examples. We feel it happening when we acknowledge someone with a smile, when we appreciate a simple conversation. From those glimpses of basic goodness arise virtues like patience, exertion, and generosity. Our ability to move forward comes from strength, which includes a sense of vulnerability. People will do stupid things; society will do stupid things. When something goes wrong, we feel like we failed or that something is wrong with us. But the reality is that when we experience any suffering, if we notice that, we have reached the beginning of our journey. There is always an opportunity to feel fear and animosity, but even at such times, basic goodness can be touched. There are two steps. The first is not trying to cover up our vulnerability. Something has touched us. Even though that feel- ing is mixed with anger and other emotions, we can take the opportunity to stay with what’s happening, not wall ourselves off from it. This is part of the magic of turbulent times: if we feel our tenderness, we will discover our deep strength. This allows for bravery, the second step. Rather than cower, we have the courage to join with others in responding from the heart and mind of goodness. This is the notion of a good human society: not letting confusion dissuade us from believing in our own humanity. Through personal kindness and care, we can transform our culture in a nonaggressive way, which brings intelligence to us communally. It’s less about saving the world and more about how can we serve it. The act of meditating becomes a socially transformative experience if we understand that relating with our inherent humanity through self-reflection is the pivotal catalyst of change. An enlightened society is not a utopia, but a place where we are brave enough to see—and be—just who we are, surrendering our fantasies of something better. When we do that, the discovery of our own goodness on this planet becomes an exercise in appreciation and wonderment. Slowing down to self-re- flect and feel our worthiness, and to feel confidence in it, creates space and equanimity. It combines a sense of softness with a quality of strength. Because we have confidence in who we are as human beings, we know how to go forward. ♦ If we draw the conclusion that humanity is not basically good—that we do not possess inherent wisdom—what hope can the future hold?