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I began my meditation by recalling the benefits of cherishing others – that it makes myself and others happy, both in the short term and in the long term.
I recalled the disadvantages of self-cherishing, and the fact that it is the cause of all my problems, and makes me cause problems for others.
Then I recalled my previous meditation where I equalised my cherishing for myself and my cherishing of others. I recognised that equalising myself and others was a wonderful, virtuous activity, but I that it was not enough. Self-cherishing is so harmful that it is not enough to equalise - I need to abandon it completely. I need to drop self-cherishing out of my life completely, and cherish only others. The ‘scales’ need to tip completely to the side of cherishing others.
I thought about my life and my everyday actions. I recognised that I do some things for others, and I should make sure that when I act for others, I hold a mind of cherishing others. When I am performing actions for myself, such as eating and reading (or surfin’ the net!), I need to check if there is benefit for others in these actions. I need to look clearly and be honest with myself. If not, I should abandon those actions, and not engage in them in the future.
I thought about this for a while and a feeling of ‘looking outwards’ and ‘moving outwards’ arose. It was a very clear, calm feeling, with a recognition that everything was ‘moving away’. There was no energy going in an ‘inwards’ direction. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but as an experience, it was quite clear. I gazed at this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
I got my object this morning but I was still a bit distracted and found my mind going towards a particular topic. As I brought my mind back (again) to my object, I realised that this is how concentration in general protects us from suffering. When our mind goes to an object which makes our mind unpeaceful, we are unhappy. If we have good concentration, we can stop our mind going to those objects, and keep it on virtuous objects, which make our mind happy. So if we have good concentration, we can maintain our happiness. Simple, but I have never made that firm connection at that level before. Another benefit of meditation – it transforms superficial, intellectual understanding into a deeper, more heartfelt knowledge.
My practice today: to check all my actions to see what my motivation is. Am I motivated by the wish for others to be happy, or by self-cherishing?