The value in sincerity

I was inspired by something I heard this week.

I was listening to another Gil Fronsdal dharma talk, and he related a story from the Zen tradition.

A student asked his teacher “If I practice Zen will I become enlightened?”.  And the Zen teacher replied “If your practice is sincere, it is almost as good”.

I was incredibly inspired by this simple concept.

I know myself that I practice Buddhism because I identify with the precepts very strongly.  However I do not hold the belief that I will become enlightened – I would imagine very few Buddhist practitioners ever will become enlightened.

However I can practice with sincerity.  We all can.

And it doesn’t have to relate to Buddhist practice – we can live our lives with sincerity full stop.

I love that thought so much.

Sincerity encompasses so many things – living ethically, honestly and with pure intention.  And all of those things make such a difference not only to our lives, but to the lives of those that we touch.

You can’t really put a value on sincerity and honesty.

So this week I’ve tried to really keep that as my intention.

Also in this past week I heard a discussion on the Buddha – how before he became enlightened he had to live through many lives, and learn from each one.  He was reborn many times.  And of all the lives he lead, and the mistakes he made (as a lay person) one thing he never did was lie.  And specifically he did not lie to himself.

It’s a deep concept – to never lie to ourselves.

It’s also been on my mind this week, and I have given a lot of reflection on the ways I have lied to myself in the past.

There are so many great things that can be gained from self analysis and knowledge.  I feel blessed to have access to the dharma teachings.

And a new day each day to learn from them.

Namaste,

Meg

 

Lessons learnt

It’s been a very stressful, sobering and insightful day for me today.  And one where I learnt a valuable lesson.

I’ve always been very passive and very meek.  If someone was nasty to me I would get upset and “hide” rather than address the issue.

And even at 38 years old it’s still something I struggle with – to be direct and to speak up for myself.

Today I heard – on the grapevine – that someone had said something hurtful about me.

And I reacted a way I never have before.  I was hurt, and indignant and for the first time I wanted to say my piece.  And I did – very directly.  I contacted the person who was supposed to have said this about me, and I told them what I thought.  And immediately ended the friendship.

And in some ways I was very proud of myself for taking a stance, and for the first time ever (and I do mean ever) tackling something head on and saying a few words.

The only problem?

I was wrong.

It was apparently a case of interpretation of what was said, and not a verbatim quote by the person who overheard as I had thought.

And I’m deeply deeply ashamed.

I went against my very valued Buddhist belief of not gossiping, and of speaking with kindness and understanding.

And in the process I hurt the person I accused, as well as the person who confided in me as to what was said.

I apologised to both parties, but of course the damage has been done.

Trying to learn from it though, I realised that there’s a reason I have always acted cautiously and not lashed out like I did.  I acted without having the full story, and without giving the benefit of the doubt.  And I also broke someone’s trust (unintentionally).

I was not nasty, and at least said my piece in a civil manner.  But it was wrong regardless.

I feel sick about it still, but I feel determined to learn a valuable lesson from it, and watch my words – and mouth – more carefully.

 

 

Live life with more GRATITUDE and less ATTITUDE

Further to my post from yesterday – my intention at the start of this new year is to turn around my mindset, and experience more joy in life.

It’s quite widely recommended now to practice more gratitude – and most people would agree it’s a great idea, but it’s actually putting it into practice that becomes a stumbling block.

I know myself I’ve started doing it with good intentions, but after a while it just peters out and I stop doing it.

I’d like to try to focus on it more.

But not just to “list” what makes me grateful, but to truly give thought and thanks to those things.

The more you are in a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

I was driving to my favourite coffee shop today, and along the way I was thinking about those things that truly make me happy.

My daily coffee is definitely up there.  And it’s not just the “coffee” but the entire experience.  I’m grateful for the conversations I have each day with the lovely people at my local Zaraffas (coffee shop).  I know them each by name (and vice versa) and every single time I go in I enjoy the friendly chat with them, and getting to know more about them.  I always walk away smiling.

And really how could I not be grateful for the white chocolate mocha that I receive at the same time 🙂

I’m grateful for the 2 dogs I am currently dog sitting.  It’s certainly been an experience having 4 animals (the 2 dogs, and my 2 inside cats) in my very small house.  But it’s also bought so much joy into my life.  As I type this I have 2 dogs asleep at my feet, and one cat purring away happily in my lap.  You can’t really put a price on that.

Lily.JPG

Lily the spoodle

I’m especially grateful for my health and fitness.  At almost 40 I am the fittest and strongest I have ever been.  I am lucky to be able to run, and swim, and do weights, and be active.  And I’m lucky that I can (at the moment) still get away with wearing beach clothes.

shorts

New shorts

bike riding.JPG

Keeping fit

And lastly – for today – I’m grateful for the small things.  Like fresh summer fruit, rainy cool days, my friends, and my faith.

Good days give you happiness and bad days give you wisdom.  Both are essential.

Facing

Facing anger: practise compassion, patience and self-confidence
Facing attachment: look at the disadvantages and temporariness
Facing uncertainty: forgive yourself for being human
Facing fear: practise relaxation and mentally give away whatever is threatened to be taken
Facing greed: practise gratitude for what you have
Facing jealousy: practise rejoicing in others’ fortune
Facing pride: practise humility, equanimity and real self-confidence
Facing guilt: act instead of regret
Facing other’s pain: gather some courage and allow it to tear your heart open! Have compassion for their suffering and frustrations. Also have compassion for your own helplessness & frustrations.
Facing others’ cruelty or rudeness: remember they can only act that way because they suffer themselves.
Facing any negative emotion by myself or others: the quicker I can recognise my own negative emotional patterns, the better I will be able to avoid these actions myself

Courtesy of  Chung Tian Buddhist Temple

Image