Good vs bad
One of my trainers last week asked me how I define good and bad. These are labels that we use to judge almost all events in our lives. Every event is in fact neutral and we give it life by the opinion that we lay over it, based on our own individual experiences that make up our so called personally and image of who we think we are.
Don’t get me wrong, having an opinion and naming something good or bad can help to guide oneself and to stay out of harm’s way. But we are all so different and there is no real global correctness to form a universal line between good and bad.
What is good? The word itself brings up images for me of being able to please my teacher or getting praise from my mother. A warm, fuzzy pride from being acknowledged as a good boy. But that is not the heart of good. The other day I was staying at a hotel taking a night away from home after spending ten weeks healing from an ankle operation. Walking slowly with one crutch, I was amazed at how many people held open lifts and doors and offered assistance. I think that goodness is a quality that most people default to when their own ego allows them to. Or at least I would like to think that is so.
Bad has no boundaries. Prison guards in Auschwitz, the death camp in Poland in the Second World War, were sadistic and brutal. Administering often lethal punishment for seemingly irrelevant reasons. But these sadistic beasts were not always that way. Prior to the war, they were husbands and fathers, bakers, butchers and friendly neighbours. This is just one example of circumstances shaping our behavior and the extremes we may go to in order to survive. Interesting to note that after the war, many captured Nazi and SS soldiers thought they were doing a good job.
So, if good and bad are so hard to define it then boils down to how we live our lives and our own personal code of conduct. I take a more spiritual approach to good and bad, not to be confused with a religious approach. There is nothing wrong with a religious approach but many religions have lost their way and inadvertently created immense suffering. Good and bad actions still count when nobody is watching. The law of karma, course and effect is like a piggy bank that will either fill with good or bad karma. The key is to not continue to pile up bad karma and work to reduce it by living a good life, not creating pain for others or yourself.