Tolstoy: From War and Peace
In one of the most famous passages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Pierre Bezukhov — an outsider in Moscow society — visits Natasha Rostova, a young woman who gives up seemingly everything that would have made her part of society elite for a love affair that fails before it gets off the ground. (PS, Natasha, I feel you, girl.) The experience coincides with a sighting of an epic comet and Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Amid all of the predictions of the end of the world, however, Pierre sees the comet and feels emboldened, joyful, and blossoming into new life. Renewal and reconciliation.
Rather than an omen, the comet becomes a manifestation of the divine in each of us. Pierre and Natasha are imperfect people, but they possess an innate goodness that is part of the larger fabric of all sentient beings. We might call this a "basic goodness," with "basic" meaning something along the lines of "primordial" versus #basic. Like the universe, this goodness existed before us, and will outlast all of us. At the same time, it’s also within us.
Today: Take a moment to look up at the sky. Place one hand on your heart if that feels honest, and focus on feeling that bit of you that is basically good and innately whole; its tail raised energetically, its white light shining and playing among the countless other shimmering stars of others’ inherent wholeness.