The Idea of Basic Goodness

Some western philosophers (notably Augustine and Hobbes) postulated that our nature is evil and destructive and if left alone, we would act selfishly and hurt others. When we take a mystical path (a path based on looking inward for truth) the belief that we start with is that our nature is good.  The Shambhala school of Buddhism calls this idea “Basic Goodness.”   Basic goodness tells us that we don’t have to impose rules on ourself to act well and to express the best of our nature, we simply have to release layers that obscure that nature.  In other words, when we act from a conscious and unconflicted place we will be our best selves. With this understanding, the practitioner can freely explore and examine their own deepest thoughts and sensations without judging and without picking and choosing the “good” ones.     Meditation and Yoga are examples of practice that strip away layers to reveal our nature - Meditation strips away layers of mind and habitual thoughts, while yoga strips away layers of tension from the body that prevent it’s full expression.