benevolence  humanI often find myself wondering about the deep nature of reality, and ultimately searching for benevolence, I could even say longing for it.  Musing further on the question of good and evil, I sometimes ask myself how and where is goodness, benevolence to be found?

Hmmm, what do actually I mean by that?  Well, many spiritual traditions claim that the nature of reality is love, that the universe is benevolent at core.  Others are equally clear and sure that the universe is amoral, they scoff loudly at the idea of searching for benevolence in the nature of reality.  benevolent universe

I know personally that I have experienced for myself a soft kind of kindness, a gentle, yes, I could say benevolence, when I tap into the formless unity that we arise from.  But I long for more, for some convincing, lasting, indubitable proof…I guess that’s my scientific background coming through!

Some have tapped into benevolent, loving, peaceful oneness using drugs.  That hasn’t been my path.  It is my belief that it will never be proven either that the nature of reality is love, of that it is not love.  So for those of you for whom the nature of reality, and searching for benevolence are of interest, I offer here are a few other modes and ideas for your ongoing consideration.

The Book of Joy is a series of interviews with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, by Douglas Abrams.  It is a deeply generous, kind, and provocative book, a pleasure to read.  The flavor is one of benevolence, joy, goodness, as a way of living our lives.  In additional to being profoundly philosophical, in many ways it is also a simple “how to” book, how to find and live benevolence and joy.  Doing for others, learning to direct our attention, cultivating fundamental human values… all approaches that are transformative.  Simple.  Not necessarily easy, but simple and accessible.

benevolenceSearching for benevolence?   Can we actually learn to be a “Beneficial Presence” ourselves?  This is a phrase found in the teachings of Dr. Thomas Hora  and it struck a deep chord in me.  A good life is not only about actions, trying to do enough, give enough, making a difference in an active ways — my usual modes.  The possibility of simply being a beneficial presence, just resting, just being, is such a beautiful thing to me.  Here are some inspirations in this direction.

Rick Hanson, the spiritual neuropsychologist whom I deeply appreciate, has written a “JOT”, Just One Thing essay on this very subject. Here is Be Benevolent 

Where do you stand (or fall :-)) on the nature of reality?  What are your musings and benevolence Julianexperience searching for benevolence?  What do you believe, hope, know for yourself?

My heart opened when I was reminded of Julian of Norwich’s words, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. 

In closing, these Musings on Labor Day  Where do you find goodness and benevolence here?

Your comments and questions, musings and insights, are most welcome.  We’re in this together!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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