While I can’t get with the doctrine of original sin (“humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man, stemming from Adam’s rebellion in Eden,” says Wikipedia), I was never sure how to reconcile my own conditional self-love with beliefs in humanity’s inherent goodness. I had read and heard that ultimate self-worth, and worth of all people, lies in the fact that, simply by virtue of being, we are worthy. “God don’t make no junk,” and all that.God don’t make no junk. Click To Tweet
From a certain point of view, I guess that’s true. It’s kind of ridiculous and jumped-up to second-guess God (or the organizing principle, or whatever you want to call it). Who do I think I am, to assess something that was created, or came to be, as part of some plan or pattern that is bigger than I, as bad (or good, for that matter)? Just because, relative to me and my place in the order of things, I judge it as bad or good, doesn’t mean it actually is. (Here’s a great story about that: Old Sai Loses a Horse)
I’ve heard the saying humans are “spiritual beings having a human experience,” but I never really knew what that meant. I mean, I understand the words but didn’t get the meaning. With spacious awareness practice, I’m beginning to get something about the relationship between relative me and a “greater I.”
If I accept the premise that there is an I from which I am not separate, but of which I am not the whole, and that my relative I is an expression of that other I (that is not really other, but not limited to only me), that neutral force around which, or by which, life is organized, then at the very least, I’m neither bad nor good, in a moral sense. My being-ness is being-ness, or we could say my being (noun) is be-ING (verb). Even better, we could depersonalize this, take it out of the realm of just me, the relative I, and say being-ness is being-ness, or being is be-ING. It’s a neutral thing, at the very least. It is—I am—life expressing itself through this personality, this process of being.I am life expressing itself through this process of be-ING Click To Tweet
It makes me think of how plants are not inherently either good or bad. It depends on the context. In fact, we could almost say that every plant is inherently good, since at some level, somewhere in the ecosystem in which it has grown, it is needed. It might be showing up in my garden, where I happen not to want it, precisely because it also shows up somewhere else, where it is needed. It is the needing of it that makes its growing possible, even where it’s not needed.
The needing of it makes its growing possible, even where it’s not needed. Click To Tweet
We could extend this logic to the relative I, to your and my particular expression of the “greater I,” Absolute I, or of life. Somehow, somewhere, this I is needed because of the interdependence of the entire ecosystem. We humans tend to think of ourselves as outside the natural world, but it seems pretty clear to me that, even though we can’t see the glass container, the ecosystem in which we live is like a so-big-as-to-be-infinite terrarium, and we are one of its many elements.
Remember those terraria you built for science projects in school? Remember how the whole system functioned in perfect balance without any additions, once it was put together? Similarly, the life that is being expressed through our personalities is as needed in the larger ecosystem as moisture is in the ongoing life of the terrarium. And if needed equates to inherent goodness, then I can think of this relative I as inherently good, as in, there is a goodness to it.
This is not to say relative I gets carte blanche to do what it wants because, “Hey, I’m essentially good so what the hell??!!” But it does give me a way to think about my small self that can set me free from self-hate when I’m having shame attacks (sometimes, on good days, lol). I can take refuge in the notion of the essential goodness that can come through this I. I am not the whole of this goodness, but I am not separate from it either.I am not the whole of this goodness, but neither am I separate from it. Click To Tweet