Good People

Who are good people? This is a question that has stumped humanity for generations. In this day and age, we see acts of kindness and generosity followed by acts of selfishness and greed from the same person or group. We meet “bad” people every day, and it can be difficult to distinguish between those who are “good” and those who are not.

Years ago, if you had asked me if I was a good person, I would have confidently said “yes.” However, in my youth – anytime between high school and my thirties – I made some foolish choices. I had lied to and cheated on girlfriends in the past, driven drunk often, and even stolen lunches at work, scarfing them down whilst the innocent party ranted to our coworkers and blamed the cleaning crew or some poor intern.

In the past, I used to be an internet “troll,” enjoying starting arguments for my own amusement. I admit, I was a bit of a disaster. In fact, there was one time where I caught a ride to a party with a girl I met at a bar and spent the entire night pretending to be deaf just to avoid talking to her! All these shenanigans were in my past, however.

As an adult, I prioritized taking care of my family and attending church every week. I volunteered at a homeless shelter and accepted the role of coaching my children’s basketball team when no other parent would. I was a giver – I gave presents to all my friends for their birthdays and Christmas, invited lonely coworkers over for dinner and board games during the holidays, and bought gifts and cards for all my single relatives every Valentine’s Day. I got donuts for my colleagues every week, which, in my mind, made up for all the delectable lunches I had enjoyed in the past. In my opinion, I was a good guy.

Then came the pandemic, and with it, the lockdown. Plenty of folks talk about the negative impact these events had on their relationships with the outside world and other people. For me, however, the biggest toll was on my relationship with myself.

I typically had a drink when I came home from work, two hours stuck in traffic; the 405, the 105, or the 110, take your pick always put me in the mood for a glass of Glenlivet single malt scotch and a Killian’s Irish Red.

When I was alone, with nothing to do, one drink became two, and then three. I began to look forward to my alone time, as it meant I could drink as much as I wanted without my wife or anyone saying anything. I’d put on some 90’s R&B and hip-hop, blend a drink, and log on to social media to see who was still awake and felt like talking.

For a minute, I felt like I was reliving my old clubbing days, except virtually. It became repetitive and, at some point, alcohol lost its luster, so I began to mix it with prescription pills and other stuff.

This went on for some time, and then one night, something happened. I recall sitting in our family room, eating a bowl of cereal, and then flipping through channels looking for something to watch. I don’t remember what I ultimately settled on, but in my mind’s eye, I can still see the room fading to black, as if someone had slowly turned a dimmer switch.

The room went from a brightly lit shade of grey to a heavy solid black, velvety darkness that felt deep and warm to the touch. I wasn’t asleep; I cautiously moved about in the darkness to make sure. I believed I was dead, but then I realized I was still in my body, breathing and that, despite being surrounded by an ebony light-erasing substance that looked like darkness but felt like sand, I could still see. Then I felt it – the light. I didn’t see a door, but I knew one was there, off in the distance, and a light emanated from that door that filled me with an indescribable sensation. It was vast beyond measure, and infinite, yet complete.

It was like floating on a warm ocean made up of love, acceptance, peace, safety, passion, joy, and creativity, there was no urgency, no anxiety, or fear. I knew that this was The Source, The Infinite, that this was God, the Universe, The Everything, The One, The Grand Puba- whatever folks want to call it, this was It.

Being there in that moment felt more like reality than any moment I’d spent living, and in comparison, the world I’d exited felt like a dream or a memory. The experience defied anything I ever felt, dreamed, or imagined. God is not like us, God’s thoughts are alien, foreign to ours. There is no anger, jealousy, or judgment in God.

God is the physical embodiment of good, of peace, of all-knowing wonder. God has no human enemies; it’s insulting to God to even imply that we could do anything to even disrupt Its peace. God, The universe – or whatever you want to call it – is too good, too pure to be contaminated by hate, anger, judgement or envy, It was an embodiment of peace and love, and I felt it through my entirety.

The closest thing that God has to an enemy is our belief in time and other man-made concepts that cloud our ideas about who we are and who God is.

I saw my entire life display in front of me – my worst moments from past relationships, I saw myself, I physically felt myself from various perspectives – past girlfriends, my wife, friends, strangers, and finally, my own perspective. I saw how my one-drink-a-day habit seriously affected my marriage, and how my “good guy” persona fell apart under scrutiny. But despite all that, I didn’t feel judged. It was all being shown to me to help me, to realize who I was underneath the mask I wore in society.

I spent months afterward trying to make sense of what happened, at my wife’s urging, I joined NDE (Near Death Experience) groups, I studied many religions, I followed spiritualist, psychics, online personalities focused on narcissism, yoga, astrology, and other disciplines, but nothing was totally compatible with what I had experienced.

I found out that a lot of people had had very similar encounters, but because we are all different, what we learn and bring back is different. Our souls/spirits/energy/good are as individual and unique as fingerprints, snowflakes, or tree rings. We are all unique, different, and special in our own right, and we are here to create our own stories and become our own heroes.

What I experienced wasn’t a judgment; it helped me see that I wasn’t a bad person, but rather, part of something bigger, something magical beyond description. “Good” is subjective and means different things to different people. You are a good person, regardless of where you are or what you’ve done. Your identity as a human being assures that you are connected to the same source of magic that enables you to dream, create, love, and manifest your thoughts into the reality surrounding you.

Being good isn’t about what others think of us; it’s not about the car we drive or how we look, the amount of money in our bank accounts, how faithful we are to any person or institution, or the number of man-made rules we keep. Good people are those enchanted beings in tune with themselves. They bask in the glow of inner peace and form a bond with the world around them. Good people aren’t some elusive, glittering concept; they are humans just like you and me. They have a sense of humor that can tickle your funny bone or move you to tears. They are dreamers and visionaries. They can weave tales that transport you to far-off lands, have ideas and perspectives that they hold dear, and can be open to change and growth. They aren’t out to hurt anyone, least of all themselves, and are devoted to evolving and making the world a better place for us all.

The divine doesn’t pass judgment or sentence you to a life of misery; it only wants you to be whole and understand your true potential. It takes a unique shape for each of us, and it’s only when you find the goodness within yourself that you can be a force for good in the world.

I founded Light Haven because I am a passionate believer in the magic of helping others. It is a balm to my soul to see people discover their own strength and beauty, and to see the ways in which we can all come together despite our differences. At Light Haven, we believe that the key to unlocking our best selves lies in learning to love ourselves and each other unconditionally. We know that this kind of love can only flourish when our basic needs are met, and so we work tirelessly to provide for those in need.

Light Haven is not a religion, and yet it is a place of belief in the power of human connection. Here, there is no literature or dogma, no prescribed ways of being, but rather a shared commitment to kindness and love. Our light shines bright, illuminating those who are in need of help now.

The story of humanity is still a young one, and we are only at the beginning of what we can accomplish together. So, I invite you, my fellow traveler, to join me on this journey and see where it takes us. Together, we can create a world that is full of wonder, magic, and joy.