Saturday, June 12, 2010

radical change in human nature?

(fruit salad in a tree--bananas & papayas)

Despite the tremendous progress in material conditions the world over, suffering remains. The afflictions such as greed, anger, hatred and envy that underpinned much of our misery thousands of years ago continue to do so even today. Unless there is a radical change in human nature within a rapid period of time, these afflictions will plague us for many centuries to come.

~ HH Dalai Lama ~

I rarely disagree with HH. In principle, I agree with him here. However, I am not so sure that human nature is the problem. Human behavior is.

See, I think it is human nature to feel all those emotions/feelings: greed, anger, hatred, envy. And more. Feelings just are. They are a combination of body chemistry, training, history, and alignment of the factors that brings each person to this particular space in (and) time where the feeling emerges.

What we do with them--how we respond, react, or act--that is the issue at hand.

Love, compassion, generosity...those are also feelings that emerge from our human nature. Those are the ones we need to start developing. And here is where our choice comes in.

Do I foster love and compassion or anger and hate?

Do I react from greed and envy or act out of generosity and kindness?

Our nature is what it is.

Our behavior? That's another matter.

4 comments:

Joan said...

Right on! We all have the capacity to choose the right feelings upon which to act. Imagine if everyone chose the path of kindness!

kath said...

My husband's mother always said, "Your best is none to good for your own". She was talking in terms of family, how you treat those that are close to you, but we could apply it to our everything. If we do our best, choose the right thing, it is not only satisfying, it is easier.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

You make an excellent point!

Kathryn Grace said...

Sometimes I wonder, reading quotes like this, if HH occasionally experiences the sense of hopelessness many of us feel, momentarily at least, when faced for the bazillionth time with humanity's inhumanity.

You are spot on. Our behavior is a choice. I've seen it many times: A kind, loving response to a disturbing situation changes it, changes the reactions of others involved. Not always easy in the heat of the moment, at least for me, but worth the effort when I succeed.