I believe there is a basic goodness that exists inside of every human. It has nothing to do with religion, politics, nationality, or culture, and it there as much inside the atheist as it is the spiritual seeker. This goodness is what is left when we remove all the bullshit. It is not concerned with intellect, ego-masturbation, self-serving ambition, or being right, but with compassion, kindness, and humility. Some people refer to this force as a mysterious higher-self, but I think of it simply as my true self. I am agnostic when it comes to the existence of a God, but I would view this inner goodness as the best evidence for the existence such a thing.
The Hole inside the Addict’s Soul
This basic goodness is always there inside every one of us but we can feel completely cut off from it. Those of us who fall into addiction often describe this as a ‘hole in our soul’ – we know there is something missing, but we just don’t know what it is. We desperately try to fix ourselves with alcohol or drugs, but this can never work, it can only make us feel even more cut off from the thing we most desire. The irony is that the hole we are trying to fill doesn’t even exist, it is just buried deeply under all our self-hatred and bullshit beliefs.
Even during the deepest depths of my alcoholic misery, the goodness inside was always there in the background. I tried my best to ignore it and my self-hatred worked to keep it subdued. I felt unclean and it was too clean to be trusted. I didn’t feel there was any room in my life for compassion, kindness, and humility because that would mean opening up to emotional pain – it was to avoid this pain that I drank in the first place. I gave up on this inner goodness, but it never gave up on me – it continued like a car alarm in my brain until I finally became willing to listen.
How We Suffer
I now clearly understand how my level of suffering is always determined by my willingness to allow this sense of goodness to control my life. It has nothing to do with what I believe, which spiritual practices I follow, or which books I’ve read. This doesn’t involve me being right and other people being wrong. It is simply having the humility to allow my true self to guide my life rather than my intellect or ego. It is about coming home and no longer feeling like an outsider in the world.
The fact that there is so much evil on our planet is often used as evidence for the non-existence of a God. Where is the fucker when all this horrible shit is going down? Is he incompetent or just a bit of a sadistic prick? But what if God is this inner goodness inside of us all? What if he can only help us to the extent that we allow him too? What if he doesn’t give a flying fuck what we call him, or if we worship him, or even if we believe in him, only that we allow him to blossom by being our good selves? How would that be?
George Harrison says it all in his song ‘Awaiting on You All’
You don’t need no passport
And you don’t need no visas
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus
If you open up your heart
You’ll see he’s right there
Always was and will be
He’ll relieve you of your cares