by Michael Ketterhagen
“Do something good today!”
--Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
These were Pandit Rajmani’s desires and wishes for us during the closing session of the Vishoka Meditation Retreat. For the past nine days I participated in a virtual retreat, as best I could. (If you’ve ever been on a retreat where silence, meditation, contemplation and much alone time is required during the day, you know that that in itself is a challenge. It was truly challenging for me while at home, attending also to my family and health needs.)
Nevertheless, Pandit Rajmani elaborated on his hopes for us. He said that it is one of the most effective practices for our spiritual growth and
Everything we do has consequences. Therefore, every “godly” thought, word or deed has a positive or negative consequence. Every time we do something good, whether that is for ourselves, for our friends and family, for our neighbors, for the environment, for any aspect of reality, there will be good fruit that will grow from that thought, word or action.
God is good! At least that is what Jesus of Nazareth said. The Yoga tradition also believes this. Anytime we act like God—namely, acting friendly toward the virtuous, feeling happy and non-jealous toward the fortunate, being compassionate toward the poor and needy, and non-judgmental toward the non-virtuous—we are making the world more “divine.”
Simple acts of love and goodness/kindness that are not required of us, that are “beyond” what the law expects of us, will quantitatively balance out some of the negativity that we experience today and will qualitatively infuse the sub-atomic world with peace and joy. It is the Law of Karma and modern physics’ understanding of motion.
So, making the world a better place can happen gradually the more we do things that are good for ourselves, others and the environment. Just resting or taking a daily walk will bring peace to the planet. Just waving to a new neighbor or bringing the new neighbor something that you have baked will strengthen and make the neighborhood safer. Just planting a vegetable garden or buying solar panels for your house will reduce the negative effects of climate change. Or, going to more extremes, inviting someone from a different part of the culture, or a different class, or a different caste to your house for supper will continue our universe’s movement toward peace and sustainability.
All we have to do is think of goodness and do it! Happy Good Deeds!