Feeling the goodness within
There’s a choice at the moment, do we go with Hobbes’ assertion that the natural state of mankind is ‘nasty, brutish and short’ or do we see the intrinsic goodness of each person? The former will be driven by our deepest fears, the latter will challenge some engrained beliefs but ultimately ask that we see the best in others and ourselves.
Seeing the intrinsic goodness in ourselves and others is not always easy, but in this time of pandemic it’s essential to our individual and collective growth. Our limbic, lower, brain with it’s pre-rational fight-flight responses can so easily takeover in testing times, whereby we seek negative news stories that confirm our worst fears, the so called ‘negativity bias’ (a primal mechanism of survival). As Rick Hanson says, the mind is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.
The is real but so often is not true. Fear can be positive as it prompts us to act. Fear untamed, however, leads conversely to increased fragility and less resilience as we become more risk averse and seek out negatives that confirm our worst fears. We can become cut-off from our and others’ intrinsic goodness which leads us to life that is filled with criticism, flatlining and rooted in searching for the bad in everything.
Seeing and feeling our intrinsic goodness requires practices and people that fire-up the wiring of the frontal cortex - the seat of rationality, reason and compassion. Meditation, even for just 12-20 minutes a day, is proven to improve our outlook on life; Yoga or any kind of mindful movement that brings us into presence help to connect to our original ‘buddha mind’. Practising gratitude helps to see that goodness is always happening inside and out.
But feel in your heart how believing in intrinsic goodness makes you feel compared to innate badness. Therein lies the answer.