Basic Goodness

In a professional conference, I facilitated a panel discussion. The topic was The Positive Lens and the Acceleration of Development. One of the panel members was Trugram Gyalwa Rinoche. At 18 months, he was identified as a lama incarnate. At four, he entered a Buddhist monastery. As an adult, he left the monastery to obtain a doctorate at Harvard. He is currently creating a center for meditation.
During the session, he spoke with insight and simplicity about the mind and the process of living a conscious life. At one point, he said, “Mindfulness leads to an understanding of the basic goodness of one’s self.”
Afterwards we had a meal and a meaningful discussion. I told him I was fascinated with the notion of finding our basic goodness.
He said that we have all the resources we need to find our basic goodness. We simply need to take care of our minds. The objective is to remain conscious in challenging moments, to turn our emotions positive. Three keys to this discipline are perception, conception, and consciousness.
When something happens, we have a perception and in the non-thinking mind we have a reaction. Then we have a conception: we interpret the event. Then we have an emotion. If we interpret the event as bad, the emergent emotion is negative.
At that moment of interpretation and emotion, we have a choice. The emotion is like the air in a balloon. It is simply energy. The negative energy can be transformed into positive energy. The key is to learn to look inside, to see the process, and to take charge of transforming the energy. Through mindful engagement, we can come to understand the basic goodness in the self.

  • What does it mean to “understand the basic goodness of one’s self?”
  • How does being in touch with your basic goodness accelerate development?
  • How could you be in better touch with your basic goodness today?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

3 comments on “Basic Goodness

  1. Wonderful post, and wonderful experience. It remind me of Pema Chodron:
    From Pema Chodron The Places That Scare You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Boston, Shambala Classics, 2001) p 83
    Strong determination is our commitment to use our lives to dissolve the indifference, aggression, and grasping that separates us from one another. It is a commitment to respect whatever life brings. As warriors-in-training we develop wholehearted determination to use discomfort as an opportunity to awaken, rather than trying to make it disappear. How do we abide with disagreeable emotions without retreating to our familiar strategies? How do we catch our thoughts before thy become 100% believable and solidify “us” against “them”?
    Ricardo Levy

  2. Such a lovely post! I just returned from a conference on integrating mindfulness into the higher ed curriculum. The focus was on clarity of mind AND clarity of heart. In higher ed we spend so much time developing students’ minds, but preparing true leaders requires that we develop their hearts as well.

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