Good and Bad
Benjamin Hoff

  

Is "good" necessarily good?  Is "bad" necessarily bad?  It's considered good to be beautiful, but many people through being beautiful have ruined their lives and the lives of others.  It's considered bad to be unattractive, but because of being unattractive, many have come to concern themselves with matters more important than surface appearance and have gone on to make something Special of themselves--in quite a few cases becoming Beautiful in the process.

It's considered good to be healthy and strong, but many energetic people lose their health and strength by taking what they have for granted, not knowing what it's like to be old and depleted--and therefore not taking care of themselves--until it's Too Late.  It's considered bad to be ill and weak, but many have responded to such conditions by examining their lives and changing their ways of doing things, thereby building up their health and strength to remarkable degrees.  Unattractiveness, illness, and weakness have many valuable lessons to teach to those willing to learn from them.

It's considered good to live a long life, but many spend their long lives sitting and complaining, watching television, describing their operations, and retelling for the umpteenth time what Aunt Gertrude said forty years ago.  Many Great Achievers died young, yet lived every minute of the time they had.  As Chuang-tse pointed out, even death itself may not necessarily be bad:

How do we know that to cling to life is not an error?  Perhaps our fear of its end approaching is like forgetting our way and not knowing how to return home.

Li Chi was a daughter of the border chieftain Ai Feng.  When Duke Hsien claimed her as his wife, she cried until her sleeves were soaked with tears.  But after she had come to know the duke and had shared his palace, she laughed at her former tears and sadness.  How do we know that the spirits of the dead do not do the same?

Those who dream of feasting may awaken to hunger and sorrow.  Those who dream of hunger may, when they awaken, rise and join a hunting party.  While they were asleep, they did not realize that they were dreaming. . . . But when they awoke, they knew.  Someday will come a great awakening, when we will know this life was like a dream.

These words may seem strange, but many years from now we might meet someone who can explain them, unexpectedly some morning or evening.

In the meantime, we can look clearly at our lives and the life around us, and Live.  Before we start crying and praying to the Universe to take away our Trials and Tribulations, we might more closely examine what it has given us.  Maybe the "good" things are tests, possibly rather difficult ones at that, and the "bad" things are gifts to help us grow:  problems to solve, situations to learn to avoid, habits to change, conditions to accept, lessons to learn, things to transform--all opportunities to find Wisdom, Happiness, and Truth.

When we see Things As They Are, we find a world of Magic--the world that has been there all along.  And we find ourselves wondering how we ever missed it.
  

   In The Te of Piglet, a good deal of Taoist wisdom is revealed through the character and actions of A. A. Milne's Piglet. Piglet herein demonstrates a very important principle of Taoism: The Te--a Chinese word meaning Virtue--of the Small.  

More thoughts on goodness, perspective, and awareness.
  
  

In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage.
In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.

Robert Collier

  


 
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