Your True Ability Lies In Your Vulnerability
t’s one of those questions that we get asked, or ask ourselves, often. “Do you think mankind is inherently good or bad?” There was a long time in my life where I’m pretty sure, if you asked me what I thought about the human race, I’d respond with “bad”. A 21-year-old version of myself would have probably told you this because, frankly, it just seemed so hard for people to be good. I grappled with the choices of an evolving global population...undoubtedly triggered by my pursuit of sociocultural environmental studies. When I thought about all the things our species prioritized over that which birthed and sustained us, the gift of life on a perfectly fashioned ball of rock, and what we were leaving future generations to inherit, my heart broke. Paired with my own regrets of poor decisions and resentment of nasty habits, I grew cold. I perceived relationships, both with the earth and with one another, with doubt...always giving credence to my depraved mind-chatter of apprehension.
Yet when I proposed the question to myself recently, I thought about the relativity of time. If I had asked myself about mankind 20 years ago, to a seven-year-old Martel, surely she would have said “good!” with confidence and some hand-on-hip action. At seven, my world was simple. I had not yet encountered tragedy, tortured love or hard work. Difficulty was measured in collecting seashells that looked alike or having to wear socks that felt different on each foot. The younger we are the more vulnerable our nature is, but it’s what makes us trust in goodness. As we grow, we develop tools to protect ourselves from lies, displeasure and disappointment. We loosen our grip on trust, tightening it around self-preservation. And so we close ourselves off to threat and the sense of powerlessness that is vulnerability.
But back to age seven...or younger. I realized that the closer we are to our birth into this world, the closer we are to our natural and most fundamental state of being. We are born defenseless creatures that have no concept of fear or pain or power. We are an expression of nature, perfect beings that are reflecting, if not radiating, all of it’s most potent qualities. Beloved guru Radhanath Swami said that man is like a raindrop; we come into this world clear, from above, and in contacting the soil of the earth get muddied. Like raindrops we become our surroundings, soaking up energy that exists outside our self and morphing into an altered variation of the same soul. And also like raindrops we each derive from a single source. We are made of the same stuff. Like that drop from the sky, or like a drop scooped out of the ocean, it is still part of the atmosphere or the sea. It’s why we say namaste: the divine in me bows to the divine in you because we’re both a piece of that same divinity.
It became apparent to me that I’d forgotten the “inherent” part of the burning question. When I had grown cold from mistrust and doubt in goodness, I blamed humanity. But the coldness and disconnect I had toward human nature had an origin deep inside of me, first and foremost. Our egos have a way of reflecting our own perils outward. The same way we are a reflection of purity at birth, we continue to reflect our internal world onto the external throughout life, creating our reality. On top of that, our egos notoriously forget that we are all one unified thing, separating the “me” from the “them”. Once I began to heal that origin and remember source, mankind became more beautiful. I began to breathe, and it was like earth was breathing through me, like I could take a big sigh for all mankind… because I remembered my inherent light, and that my light is the light of the world.
With mindsight and compassion, we can see the inherent goodness, and it starts within. Our true nature is that pure raindrop, that vulnerable youth - claiming responsibility for filtering out the mud, the ego, is the start of our journey toward self realization. Namaste.
Image via @freeandnative