Creating space for our good to shine

An age-old question is whether we are essentially good or evil. Or whether we're blank slates with the potential for both of these, which is another perspective that was recently brought to my attention by a beloved person in my life.

I have always known in my heart of hearts that we are all cut from one cloth, and that we all have a beautiful loving energy within us. But I also live on this earth plane, and am painfully aware of all the evil doings and goings on in our world.

These two clearly conflicting certainties have long posed a struggle for me and they are one of the reasons I refuse to take in the news in anything but small and irregular doses. It's important to know what's happening in our world, yes.

But as the all the wonderful, beautiful and hopeful actions and events are not recorded as news, we receive a lopsided, disproportionately negative picture of not only our world, but ourselves as human beings. This is disturbing, discouraging, soul crushing, and, frankly, highly deceiving.

So if what I suspect is true, and we really are essentially good, or at least hold the potential for goodness, what causes all of the evil we see and hear about every day?

In an insightful talk this month, our spiritual director at the cslto, Helen Valleau, identified three of the barriers we as human beings build up inside ourselves against the love we seek externally, but that has existed within each of us all along.

These barriers (among others) are fear, anger and resentment. She highlights fear as worry about the future, anger as a form of resistance to the present, and resentment as holding onto anger from the past. The more we hold onto these feelings, the more they accumulate, taking up valuable energy and space within us, and the less the love that is the essence of who we are has room to grow and express.

This is the first time I feel I have a possible explanation for the conflict that exists between my knowledge about our world and my knowing about our people.

This month's theme at cslto is 'Revealing our common good'. While some among us may have too many barriers to reveal their good at present, most of us reveal our good every day. Some of this revelation takes place through the type of 'uplifting service' (note: cslto theme for 2019!) that had members of this community lovingly packaging and delivering care bags to Toronto’s homeless people. Other revelations of good are felt in small interactions between us, whether in the form of smiles, laughter, or just a knowing look from a stranger that reminds us that we are all one, and that each and every one of us ‘gets it'.

Try this: Place your hand on your heart space, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Ask yourself, how do I reveal my good? Then ask, what good can I see in each person I meet?