I am a big believer in serendipity. In fact it is one of my favorite words. I have recently
had a chain of serendipitous events unfold in my life leading up to the point of my writing this post.
As some of you know from my previous posts, I follow a writer/blogger/meditation instructor named Susan Piver. I am a member of her Open Heart Project which means that I get two emails from her per week, each containing a 10 minute meditation instruction video. I am a meditation novice but am sensing more and more the importance of developing a regular meditation practice in my life. At some point many months ago I am sure I read on her web page that a man named Sakyong Mipham is her spiritual teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. This did not register with me though until I was listening to an interview of Susan Piver conducted by Jonathan Fields (another writer/blogger that I follow) as part of his Good Life Project. In that interview I learned that Sakyong Mipham is a runner. I am a runner too so at that moment Sakyong Mipham caught my attention.
About a week ago (and several months after learning that Sakyong Mipham is a runner) I, on a whim, decided to visit a store I like in the NoDa section of Charlotte, NC called Pura Vida. On this day, Pura Vida was displaying about 10 books mostly related to spirituality. While browsing these titles I pleasantly discovered a book titled, Running With the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham!! This was serendipity in action. I knew right away that I should purchase this book and promptly did so. Since purchasing the book I have read a few chapters and really like it. As you might imagine it focuses on the similarities and differences of running and meditation – two activities that I am very interested in. One that I have participated in for many years and know pretty well – running. And another that I have known about for a long time but that I have really just started to explore – meditation.
So after reading a few pages of this book tonight I decided to try to find Sakyong Mipham on Facebook. I was successful in doing so and literally in the last hour of the day discovered that Sakyong Mipham had declared May 7 (today – at least when I started this post) to be Basic Goodness Day.
What is Basic Goodness Day (from a note on Sakyong Mipham’s Facebook page):
“When we approach ourselves, others, and our world as basically good rather than basically bad, our actions, words, intentions,aspirations, gestures, energy—everything—change. This subtle shift in our state of mind can alter the environment we live in. It can actually change the world.
Each of us holds human destiny in our hands. It will be completely determined, not by what we think, but by how we feel. Do we want a world where everyone feels they are basically good, worthy, and kind? I believe we do.
We invite you to join the effort to declare the truth of goodness and reaffirm our collective belief in ourselves, our fellow humans, and our world.
We declare May 7, 2013 to be Basic Goodness Day, a day when people all over the world, no matter what their beliefs, religion, culture, or creed, collectively affirm their own and others’ basic goodness.”
~ Sakyong Mipham
Since I did not learn of this until the end of the day on May 7 that means that when you
ready this post it is no longer May 7 and the official Basic Goodness Day has passed. No matter. Simply make today, or some other day, or every day Basic Goodness Day in your life.
Here are some ideas that I plan to use in my own life in order to work on this concept.
I will start with Wednesday, May 8 as my first official Basic Goodness Day and will make an effort to acknowledge Basic Goodness every day going forward.
- I plan to take time to affirm the basic goodness of my children and my wife.
- I will also affirm the basic goodness of my parents, my brother and his wife, my in-laws, and other family members to thank them for being who they are.
- I will make an effort to affirm the basic goodness of friends, coworkers, and other work acquaintances.
- I will, whenever possible, choose to show my belief in the basic goodness of strangers that I come in contact with on a daily basis. This can be done without being intrusive by simply looking at people and smiling rather than walking hurriedly past without acknowledging their presence.
- When I witness the thoughtful or mindful act of another I will acknowledge it and express gratitude.
- I will relax and acknowledge my own basic goodness. I am not perfect. Nobody is. There is a lot I want to do. I will get there one step at a time. I am doing my best and my best is enough.
- I will look for ways to reach out in peace to people of various religions, cultures, ethnicities, etc.. I have an interest in finding people who believe, as I do, in the possibility of peace. I will begin making strides to locate others with this same interest. Together we can focus on our similarities and find ways to bridge the perceived gaps of our differences.
- Doing all of this will be a challenge, especially at first. When all else fails, I will take some time to just think about the basic goodness in the world. Reading Sakyong Mipham’s Basic Goodness Manifesto on a regular basis will help (see below).
I offer my plans for practicing Basic Goodness Day in hopes that they might help others find ways to celebrate basic goodness as well. Please feel free to leave a comment sharing your thoughts on how you might celebrate Basic Goodness Day as well. We can all learn from each other!!
With Peace and Gratitude,
The Basic Goodness Manifesto:
I trust in my own and others’ goodness.
I know that caring changes everything.
I trust my heart.
I trust you.
~ Sakyong Mipham