Being Good

Even my kids know there are good guys and bad guys. As adults, we decide what we are. This post is directed to the good guys. If you’re a bad guy, maybe I’ll write something for you another time. My Buddhist meditation teacher talked about good guys a couple of weeks ago in our class. Here’s a version of what he said.

We want to be good people, but there are often occasions where our inner life does not stack up. We try to turn away from the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that we think tell us something bad about ourselves.

— Within all of us, there exists every human emotion, “good” and “bad.”

Our unpleasant states of mind create tension, we want to get over them or we act them out, and then we feel shame. Later on, we do it again.

— Aversion invests emotions with energy; every time we act them out, we condition our mind to behave in that way.

It is better to make a home for all of our emotions. Accept that it will not all be pleasant or comfortable, but it will all be workable. Their existence means nothing about who you really are. It’s what you do with these emotions when they occur that determines whether your actions will help or harm others.

— By becoming more open and accepting of ourselves, we become more compassionate towards others.

Mindful awareness observes the breath, the body, and the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that arise and fall away. Mindfulness holds anything completely, without judgement. This holding is an approximation of love.

— There exists in all of us a capacity to hold instead of react.

Every experience exists on its own. We just have to show up for it without resentments, judgements, opinions, or desires. That is what having an open heart means.

— Goodness flows from an open heart.

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About jubuhoo

I am a writer and editor in Seattle, Washington. I live with my two children, my husband, and our surly cat. View all posts by jubuhoo

2 responses to “Being Good

  • Meredith

    Thanks for this sweet post, Stacey. I interpret the teaching to mean that we are all in effect, good guys and bad guys. The judgements of good and bad come out of clinging to our precious concept of self. If we can release our identification with the self, even for a moment, we may find ourselves within a spacious awareness where all we can do is accept everything.

  • jubuhoo

    A high school friend posted this on Facebook. I wanted to preserve it here on Jubuhoo. Thanks Mike!

    I just checked out your latest blog entry…reminded me of the 27th verse of the Tao Te Ching…(mitchell’s translation)

    A good traveler has no fixed plans
    and is not intent upon arriving.
    A good artist lets his intuition
    lead him wherever it wants.
    A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
    and keeps his mind open to what is.

    Thus the Master is available to all people
    and doesn’t reject anyone.
    He is ready to use all situations
    and doesn’t waste anything.
    This is called embodying the light.

    What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
    What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
    If you don’t understand this, you will get lost,
    however intelligent you are.
    It is the great secret.

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