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

 

Everyday Wisdom #96

At the end of the day, what we really want is to feel inspired.

We can only do that if we stop gazing toward the future, looking for confirmation of our worth.  

We feel inspired when we endeavour to be meaningful, when we make choices based on what aligns with our intentions.  And therefore feel good about each step along the way.

 

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 
― Jane Goodall

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My intention

To live with kindness, compassion, empathy and grace.

To enrich the world with happiness, joy and laughter.

To cultivate calm and peace.

To bring mindfulness to every activity and aspect of my life.

To give more than I receive.

To live ethically, wisely, and skilfully.

To be humble and not conceited.

To live deliberately and with intention.

To do no harm.  To not contribute to the suffering in the world.

To leave the world a better place than when I entered it.

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Everyday Wisdom #6

Consider your reactions

Dedicate today to carefully observing your reactions.

Observe your responses to people, and situations, as they occur.

Then pause for a brief moment….

And make a conscious choice as to how you are going to react, or what you are going to say.

 

When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept.  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Everyday Wisdom #1

What can you do today to bring your life more in line with your intentions?

It’s easier to start small.

You might decide to walk instead of driving your car.

Or plant a tree.

Or sign up for a course.

 

Decide what your intentions are, what’s most important to you, and then act on them.

 

What exactly are your intentions?!!

Intention sets direction

All of us have different intentions that will arise – depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

We can’t control those intentions, impulses and desires that arise, but we can choose whether or not we follow them.

The intentions you do act on define who you are.

There are many different situations that we face throughout life – some of them difficult – and most times we have little direct control over them.

What we do have control over is how we react to those situations, and with what intention.

Our intentions have a huge effect on our minds, and our behaviour.  And not only do they affect our ourselves, but also the people around us.  And subsequently how we see and experience the world.

For example if you have an intention to be kind and generous, you will mostly find that people around you will react positively and kindly.  Conversely if your intention is to be angry, you will likely be met with the same from those around you.

It’s nearly like “instant karma” where we can immediately feel the effect that acting on certain intentions has.  And this doesn’t just apply to our speech and actions, but our thoughts as well.  By practising mindfulness, you will notice how angry thoughts produce unpleasant sensations in your body.  And vice-versa.

The intentions that we live on also create a habit in the mind.  It strengthens those intentions, so the mind is more likely to react in the same way in the future.  If your intentions are mean-spirited, then you are strengthening those tendencies.  If your intentions are to be kind and generous and giving, you will also strengthen those conditions in your mind.

And the time that your unconscious intentions and reactions are most likely to arise is during times of stress and anxiety.

Practice exercises

Spend some time considering the following:

  • Which intentions do you act on?
  • Which intentions do you decide are useful?
  • What conditioning arises for you during times of stress?

And most importantly, spend some time asking yourself the following question:

“What is the deepest intention that I want my life to be based on?”

And how can you follow through on that intention?

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  What we think we become”.  The Buddha.