Sunday, May 10, 2009

looking for goodness

I do my best to improve my spiritual disposition. often my efforts leave me frustrated and wondering what in the world is wrong with me. my left brain is a big, big brain and very powerful. most recently, I have been exploring the tenets of buddhism. I am very far from zen. the girl who is far from zen is exactly the girl who should take a good look and try to get closer to zen. so the past few months, I have been happy to have a look and think. I am currently reading the art of happiness, by his holiness the dalai lama (I know, it's buddha for lightweights).

and there it is, in the book's introduction. the belief that causes my skin to prickle and my brain to move into dissonance: all humans are basically good. I am outing myself here. I do not believe this. (on the flip-side, I also do not believe western religion's notion that we are all sinners.)

my husband thinks this misunderstanding of mine (he is one of those lucky souls who truly believes in the basic goodness of the human spirit) is due to the field I work in and that I am surrounded by pain, suffering, depression, and endless cycles of violence and personal irresponsibility. (I have even met children who scare me.) there may be some truth to this.

but consider that the opposite may also be true; that his holiness and other enlightened souls can carry this belief because of the people who surround them. I would imagine that the throngs of folk who seek the dalai lama, visit zen retreats and conferences and whatnot have already experienced some growth and that their hearts were open in the first place to goodness and light. it would make it easier to believe that all humans are good when the energy swirling around you is pure and magically oriented to growth.

is goodness an environmental concept? can we believe in pure good as long as we surround ourselves with it? I want to believe this. especially since it looks as if true happiness is out of my reach until I authentically grab on to at least a bit of this belief. this blog community that I am blessed to be a part of demonstrates that there are pockets of good. but are we, as seekers of goodness, in denial of the rest of the story? I am eager and open to hearing your thoughts. (momma zen, if you are here, please, please chime in with your wisdom and any reading you recommend.)