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June 5, 2020

In times of chaos and change, what can you rely on?


We live in polarized times. People feel incredibly strong one way or the other about issues and argue about it on social media. Democrats and Republicans are at a stand still in Congress because they can’t agree on anything, police and protestors face off in the streets, and people feel isolated and scared. It’s important to have a voice and to express our opinions, however what can be lost in all of this, is our common ground, which can be understood as the Ground of Goodness. Let me break it down. 


Goodness itself is a loaded term. We might think of “goody two shoes” (which is a really weird saying btw) or good vs.bad, as in, “I’m trying to be good”. But that’s not how goodness is used here. Rather, it’s goodness as in: the sun is good, or to eat is good. There is something so elementary about certain aspects of our lives that it’s easy to overlook them or take them for granted. Goodness refers to the essential and basic qualities of life here on earth such as friendship, water, our beating hearts. We may value these things differently, but the sun rises and sets every day regardless of your opinions. This is what’s meant by goodness. 


Ground refers to something we all share and that pervades all of life on earth. It’s basic and fundamental. No matter what we all need to eat, drink water, sleep, and attend to being human. Even animals, plants and all life on earth shares these basic needs. So there is a ground we all share. The ground is basic and pervades all of life on earth. 


So the Ground of Goodness is the basic fundamental quality of goodness we all share. It is good to be alive. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy or that we always feel good, goodness is the ground of all-even when we feel like crap and it seems like the world is going to hell, goodness is the ground of all. When things are difficult we can stop and tune into this ground of goodness, it’s always there no matter what, we can rely on it. 


Why does this help? It helps us establish the view of how we’ll move through the world. Rather than taking a stance that things are either relatively bad or good, working in our favor or not, or that my opinion matters more-why don’t we establish the view that no matter what-goodness is the ground and it’s all workable. It’s hard to lose sight of this view when atrocities are happening and people’s basic civil liberties are being violated. At the same time, without this view we can easily become angry and blame others and that doesn’t help the situation at all. 


Let’s take the bigger view and remember that despite the relative causes and conditions, all beings have basic goodness and that it’s all OK, it really is. That doesn’t mean people don’t need to be held accountable or that some really shitty stuff happens in our world; it’s a both/and situation. We can both demand relative justice and hold the view that goodness is the ground of all. That way we can stay nourished in kindness and non-agression for ourselves and the world. 


I suggest that you write Goodness is the Ground of All in big capital letters and put it somewhere you can see everyday. And when things are difficult close your eyes and put your hand on your beating heart, feel the solid ground beneath your feet. You can rely on it. 

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