For years I have known that there is an inherent goodness in all of us. This is not a belief, it is a knowing. Most of my loved ones - family and friends - have always said I am naive to think this way. I have never quite agreed with them, but I did try to see things from a different perspective - theirs. If I shut my inherent knowing out then it is easy to believe that there is so much evil in the world. Even people like Maya Angelou talk about, 'First time someone shows you who they are, believe them.' The basic premise being that people are incapable of changing - for the better.
I know this is not true. The only thing necessary is the desire to change. If I can see my behavior as an error in ways I can correct it. If I am labeled as a liar, or a rapist, or a thief and begin to believe I am that then I also begin to believe that I am beyond repair. There are many spiritual organizations that are visiting prisons to help rehabilitate inmates and they are showing positive results that have never been seen before. The change is really a shift from identifying with the ego to identifying with the Self. Nothing more. Self Realization is not all that difficult. It is the expectation that it will be a mind blowing event that makes it appear remote.
Ego is fear personified. It is afraid of losing its identity. This comes about since the ego identifies it's existence with the body,with possessions, with name, fame, glory, external beauty. Tangible but transient things that it knows can never be forever. Ego depends on the five senses to appease it's thirst for victory. The more it has the more victorious it feels and the more sorrowful it makes our lives. The ego begins to believe it is invincible and eventually ends up defeating itself and making errors along the way. Once the realization of the errors of the path is reached it can be reversed. That is when rehabilitation begins. Confession is about this return journey towards our Spirit and is a very fulfilling event. It is the point at which our surrender to our own Higher Self happens and change becomes absolute. Changing my way without knowing Myself is always transient. Permanency can only come with Self Realization.
Doing evil is about committing errors - one error is not bigger than the other. The ego wants us to believe it is. It justifies some of it's errors by grading them. An extra cent returned by the cashier - from the ego's perspective pocketing that cent is no big deal - the value of the error is in the cent. The knowledge that I have pocketed an extra cent takes me away from the present moment and makes me think a series of unnecessary thoughts. No different than if I had pocketed a large bill. The quality and quantity of the thought is immaterial - all that matters is that I was not able to stay present in the moment in both cases. Staying true to my inherent goodness keeps my mind in the present moment at all times. It is ready to be Inspired always. It is ready to serve, to love, to be at peace, be happy, be present and at One.
Doing evil is not about being evil. It is about being afraid. Fear is what motivates evil thoughts and actions. I may not be able to identify the fear or even choose not to acknowledge it but deep down I know that every evil thought is based in fear. Fear about something as primal as losing my own peace of mind prompts me to think evil thoughts about the other. When I am established in Love and Peace in my core then fear is unable to overpower me. Swamiji talked about doing no evil in action or thought. I often think evil thoughts and pat myself on the back for not acting on them - but a negative thought is no smaller error than a negative action. The ego sees it differently only because it has a different set of values from the Spirit. To be able to Love unconditionally is the only resolution. Goodness is shrouded by fear. Recognizing this is a beginning to the return journey.
Being good takes no effort. It requires no planning, no conniving, no secrets, no formation of teams - nothing. Goodness has no degree - it is a function of a stable mind that is in perfect alignment with the Soul. In the Silence of the mind - the gap between thoughts, Goodness abides. The longer the gap the more I enjoy the moment the more inspired I am the more merged I am in Me. Goodness is my knowing and I bask in it's Glory.