I’m not only seeking an intellectual understanding of goodness on this quest, but also a path to practicing goodness. The problem, of course, is figuring out how to actually do that. In other words, how exactly does a human being practice goodness on a daily basis?
Should I say a cheerful hello to everyone I meet? Be nice no matter how I feel? Be honest even if I’m angry because honesty and authenticity are also a path to goodness? Should I give to charity? Shun charities because some are con games? Become politically involved to make society a better place? Avoid politics because politics leads to compromise and negativity? Pray because prayer is a path to God, and God is the source of all goodness? Shun prayer because religion leads people to pettiness and robs them of compassion?
Yesterday on my morning walk, I bumped into an old friend from the Kansas Zen Center and posed the question to her: How does one practice goodness? “A place to start would probably be the cushion,” she said.
“The cushion” is Zen-speak for meditate, meditate, mediate. (When you’ve done that, meditate some more.) This seems like a good first step. From past experience, I know that meditation helps clear my mind and push it out of its tangle of preconceived notions. Moving through the world without assumptions has got to be a good thing.
Linda Roberts suggested that first I do no harm, and that also is wise counsel, but I keep wondering if there’s more I should be doing. I’m on Day 70 of my quest. That means I’ve got 295 days to pursue this phase of practicing goodness in my life. What daily habits of goodness should I adopt? What has worked for you? What do you think I should do?