‘Good people’?

The term ‘good’ might mean differently for different people. What is ‘good’ for some people might not be ‘good’ for some other people, and vice versa.

What happens when we recognize some people as ‘good people’, and we tell them, “You are a good person.”? Usually it’s when our minds perceive and feel touched by some qualities in these people which our minds recognize and agree as ‘good’ qualities based on the thinking and belief in our minds about what are ‘good’ qualities. What are ‘good’ qualities for some people might be different for some other people.

Most of the time, when people act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘good people’. For example, when someone gives us what we want, or when someone gives us the help that we needed, or when someone fulfills our desires, or when someone shows agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions, then our minds will react with delight, and will acknowledge and identify this person as one of the ‘good people’. We will tell this person, “Oh, you are such a good/nice/wonderful person.”

But what happens when people don’t act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, or they act and react or behave in the way that our minds dislike and disagree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘not good people’. What happens when a person doesn’t give us what we want, or doesn’t give us the help that we needed, or doesn’t fulfill our desires, or doesn’t show agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions? Our minds will react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness and resentment. Our minds will categorize and identify this person as ‘not a good person’ or ‘not a nice person’, just because they don’t give us what we want or they give us what we don’t want, or our desires are not being gratified, or we are not getting what we like and want in the way that we think it should be or the way that we would like it to be.

This shows that in many cases, what our minds think and recognize and identify as ‘good people’ and ‘not good people’ can be impulsive judgments based on our desires of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and wants and don’t wants, and based on a particular thinking and beliefs about how people should and shouldn’t act and react or behave.

We can perform inquiry by applying this mind behavior of judging what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ onto anything that we can think of – ‘good citizen’, ‘good teacher/student’, ‘good father/mother’, ‘good son/daughter’, ‘good brother/sister’, ‘good husband/wife’, ‘good friend/lover’, ‘good man/woman’, ‘good Buddhist/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/and others’, ‘good yogi’, and so on… And we will see, most of the time the judgment about what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ is based on what pleases us, or not, according to our thinking and beliefs about how everyone should/shouldn’t behave, our personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and the way that we think it should be and what we want them to be.

For example, when our teacher gives us what we like and want, we will say, “This is a good teacher.” and when our teacher doesn’t give us what we like and want, we will say, “This is not a good teacher.”
Or, when our husband/wife behave in the way that we want them to behave and gives us what we want, we will say, “You are a good husband/wife.” and when our husband/wife doesn’t behave in the way that we want them to behave and doesn’t give us what we want, we will say, “You are not a good husband/wife.”

When people feel happy and satisfied as they are pleased when we gratified all their desires and they tell us, “You are such a good/lovely/nice person.” we can ask them, “Let’s see if I couldn’t please you when I can’t gratify all your desires of what you want and don’t want, will you still think and say that I am a good/lovely/nice person?”

The teachings and practice of yoga and meditation is to free the mind from all sorts of worldly attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, and be free from impulsive judgements based on desires of craving and aversion under the influence of personal thinking and beliefs.

‘Good people’ who ‘want’ to be good and do good, who want to be recognized/labeled as ‘good people’, are not necessarily ‘peaceful and happy’ if there is egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. The possession of some ‘good’ qualities in oneself and the identification as ‘good people’ doesn’t determine that one will be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t mean that one has to be in good mood and behave ‘nicely’ or ‘appropriately’ all the time, so that one will not be disqualified as ‘good people’. Those who do their best to be good and do good might not be always ‘right’ and ‘know best’ all the time, or won’t make any mistakes and bad decisions in life. It’s okay that we are not always right and we could be wrong some of the times, that we don’t know best, that we are not in good mood all the time or we might not behave ‘nicely’ and ‘appropriately’ some of the times, and that we might make mistakes and bad decisions in life, as long as we are aware of the ‘wrong’, ‘deficiency’, ‘bad mood’, ‘bad behavior’, ‘mistakes’ and ‘bad decisions’, without denial or self-criticism towards all these ‘not good’ qualities, without attachment and identification, and are not being over-powered by pride and arrogance to justify the ‘bad’ qualities relate to oneself, or try to blame some other people or things for the qualities that we don’t like about ourselves.

Most people growing up and living their entire lives being told or disciplined to be ‘good’, to do ‘good’ and to be ‘good people’, or to have a ‘good and meaningful life’ according to particular guidelines or standards about what is ‘good’ and ‘good people’, about what is ‘good and meaningful life’. Many people ended up being disappointed and unhappy with themselves or other people for not being able to be perfectly ‘good’ or live a ‘good and meaningful life’ as what they expect themselves and other people to be.

Peace and happiness is not determined by whether we think we are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’ and whether we live a life that is ‘good and meaningful’, or not. It is whether we think we are ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, and having a ‘good and meaningful’ life, or not, there is no egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. When we perform actions that we think and believe are ‘good’ actions or when we behave in the way that we think is ‘good’, it’s not because we want to be ‘good people’, or we want to live a ‘good and meaningful’ life. It’s not because we want to be recognized and acknowledged by ourselves or other people as ‘good people’.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s okay if other people don’t recognize/acknowledge us as ‘good people’ or they recognize/acknowledge us as ‘not good people’ when they feel unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed and resent when we didn’t give them what they want, or didn’t fulfill their desires of craving and aversion, or we didn’t act and react or behave in the way that they expect us to be. That’s their freedom of reaction, thinking and expectation.

Everyone is just what they are, and they act and react or behave as they are. It’s neither good nor not good, neither nice nor not nice, neither right nor wrong.

Allowing everyone to be what they are, as what our minds think whether they are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who they are. What our minds think and what other people think whether ourselves are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who we are.

There’s no ‘I’ to be identify as ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’.

Be free.

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