Seeing the Good in Everyone

Once upon a time there was a king who knew he would be dying soon. He wondered, “Which of my two sons should I leave in charge of this kingdom?” He wanted to find out which son would be a noble, benevolent, and loving caretaker of his people

The king called in his first-born son and said, “Search throughout the kingdom and find one good person and bring him to me.” So this son went throughout the kingdom in search of a good person. For over a year he searched out all the kinds of people who he thought might be good. He extensively talked to teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, students, yogis, holy men, old people, and children. But with each person, he found some defect in their character, personality, or behavior.

Finally, he came home to his father and said, “I have been throughout this whole kingdom. I have talked to every kind of person you would expect to be good. Yet I could not find a single truly good person to bring to you.”

The king then called his second son and said, “My dear son, please search throughout my kingdom and find me a truly bad person.” So this son left to fulfill his father’s request. First, he went to all the places where you’d expect to find a bad person—from the gambling and drug dens to the prisons that held the most violent people. He went everywhere and interviewed people who, at first, seemed bad to the core. But the more he talked to each person, the more he saw that beneath the faults, bad habits and flaws, he saw something good in each person—albeit very small.

After a year of searching, the second son gave up and returned home to report to the king. “My dear father,” he said, “I am very sorry, but I have failed. I have been unable to find a truly bad person.” His father embraced him, saying, “My dear son, you are worthy of being king.”

According to the great yoga spiritual masters and texts, the more we cultivate the goodness within our own hearts through yoga meditation and lifestyle, the more we are able to recognize the good in others. But if we fail to cultivate the goodness within ourselves, we will, unfortunately, not be able to see the good in others … but rather, will always be searching out their faults and flaws.

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