Basic Goodness? Get Real.

Written by: Cafini Z ~~

Have you ever had this reaction to learning about Shambhala’s foundational principle? There was a time when I certainly did. At that time in my life it just seemed preposterous to think that anyone, especially me, or anything, except maybe babies, was purely basically good. Anyone who believes that is seriously crazy! I remember thinking.

That was my reality then. I was also chronically depressed and often suicidal when I thought basic goodness was an outrageous fairy tale, and I’m sure that colored my perceptions. Nowadays when I’m sad, it often stems from realizing that in one way or another, someone I love isn’t as aware of their inherent worthiness as I am. Basic Goodness is totally my reality now. So what happened? Did my perception just change over time, or did reality change? Isn’t my perception part of reality? How could reality change if it’s truly real? What is real?

I’m sure I’m not alone in coming to this question as quickly as (or quicker than!) I did, and being pretty baffled about how to find an answer, considering the magnitude of the question. Being a very amateur linguist and aspiring writer, I’ve turned to some very familiar phrases that I use probably more frequently than I’d like to admit, in an effort to ‘get real’ with reality and find some answers:

  • Let’s be real
  • I’m just being real with you!
  • Really?
  • That’s just what’s real.
  • ….but the reality is, …

In reading any of these phrases it’s apparent that, at least when I’m saying them, I know what is real. How is it then that I know what is real when I’m using one or more of these phrases, but not at other times? How can I know what’s real all the time? What’s really real: when I’m being real with someone or when I’m questioning what is real? Are they both the real deal? And just for the sake of argument, what’s basically good about questioning reality?

It’s questions like these that lead me and curious others to take the Basic Goodness III – What is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality course. I know we’ll only be exploring what reality is in the context of basic goodness and Buddhist philosophy, (as if that’s a narrow context!)–so no promises that I’ll consistently be sure of what’s real after taking it–but at least I’ll finish the course with a method to ascertain what reality is. Personally, it would be great to have a time- and people-tested method to figure out what’s real other than my real-phrase experiment which led to more questions than answers.

Even if what I discover about reality in taking this course tears asunder my current, semi-known reality, (which frankly is what it took to come out of a decade and a half of suicidal depression,) might it not be worth it to find out? Aren’t I basically good enough to know what’s real? Aren’t you?

Come join me in exploring basic goodness and let’s make this intriguing class part of our reality. Whatever that might be.