Attaining To The Good
Nature doesn’t have morals nor does it observe niceties. A cat doesn’t generally appear to consider the Buddhist precept to respect all life before pouncing on a mouse and killing it, it just pounces spontaneously.
However us humans have been graced with the faculty of self-awareness and so are able to use it to temper our natures to some extent. This isn’t to suggest we place ourselves on a higher level than other animals – far from it. For sure if all the food suddenly ran out, our survival instincts would hold immediate sway and who knows what we’d do. But as things are, we do have the ability to remain in command of our instincts to a great extent.
When I was a boy I used to consider it normal and proper to swat flies if they bothered me – it was instinctual. Then I started learning Aikido at 11 and was introduced to the concept of the ‘Do’ or Tao, the background presence, and how it expresses itself through all life forms, so that even killing a fly was harming the Tao, since when I’ve never harmed a fly again, nor wilfully harmed any other life form, all the way from plants to humans.
I find that if I can remember the Tao informing others, even others who appear to want to harm me, it instantly transforms them and reduces their malign tendencies.
The world is not good or bad. The world just is. It’s us who place the judgement on it. The background presence generates life. Generation of life is good (without it we’d not be here discussing this right now), hence if anything is good, the background presence is. That’s why in the West we call it God, an abbreviation of good. Focus on the background presence informing all phenomena, no matter how seemingly perilous exterior conditions appear and things balance themselves out benignly for you naturally without you having to meddle with the externals.
Develop an ongoing love affair with the background presence benignly informing all phenomena and even the flies will delight you. And if even meeting with flies gives you an existential thrill, imagine how much more so it’ll be meeting with other people.
Love the Tao and you’ll transform your whole existence into one long miracle. Which in fact is what it has been all along but perhaps you hadn’t noticed much of the time for being so engrossed in the externals.
May you be blessed with full awareness of the Tao informing you, informing others and informing every aspect of reality, starting right now transforming your life into one long miracle.