By Leo Babauta
There is a part of us, in all of us, that worries that we’re not good enough. Not good enough to succeed, to handle the chaos of life, to be loved.
It’s the reason we get anxiety and stress — if we’re not good enough, what will happen when everything collapses and we can’t handle it? It’s the reason for social anxiety — if we’re not good enough, what will happen when people find out? It’s the reason for attachment to social media and constant distraction, for procrastination and unhealthy habits, and much more.
What if we trusted that we are good enough, that we don’t have to do anything to prove it, that we don’t have to worry about that anymore?
We could be at peace. Completely present with the moment in front of us. Completely focused on the task before us. Completely open to the people around us. Completely in love with the world as it is.
The way to build this trust is to meditate on our basic goodness.
The Basic Goodness in Each of Us
We each have, at our core, a goodness that we are born with, that is our basic nature. We just have learned not to trust it, and to see faults in ourselves.
Our basic nature is primordial, a nature that is before thought, free from concepts, connected to everything, pure experience. It’s easier to experience than explain, so I recommend meditation as a way to practice with it and learn to trust in it.
This basic goodness is always there, and because of that, no matter what chaotic things are happening around us, we can count on it. We don’t need to prove it to anyone, or worry that we won’t be good enough. It’s freeing.
You can feel it right now: feel the goodness in your tender heart, as a sensation in your chest. This is just a piece of it, but you can feel it. This is present all the time, but we forget that it’s there. We become blind to it.
The answer is to wake up to it. To sit with it. To learn to trust it.
A Meditation on Basic Goodness
I’ve recorded a meditation that you can practice daily, that I believe will help you to start to see and trust in your basic goodness.
Here’s the basic process:
- Start by taking your seat and dropping your awareness into your body, then your breath.
- Start to notice each breath, as if it’s the first time you’ve ever felt a breath. Bring curiosity to each breath. The same kind of freshness of experience as if you smelled fresh laundry for the first time ever.
- Then bring the same fresh beginner’s mind to your tender heart, that is always there, that feels the pain and sadness and stress of the world, that feels the love and joy in the world. Start to trust in this basic goodness.
- Bring the same fresh, open experience to every sensation, with a wide-open awareness that is as vast and unconstrained as the blue sky.
- Practice this fresh awareness throughout the day, and learn to trust in this basic goodness, this tender heart, this wide open consciousness.
Source: Zen Habits