The purpose of this meditation is to exchange the object of our cherishing from ourselves to others, and then to contemplate this in the light of death and impermanence.
I began the meditation by thinking about how self-cherishing is like an abusive partner which I keep going back to. I have relied on this partner to keep me safe and happy all my life, but where has this got me? I have not found the peace and lasting happiness I long for. In fact self-cherishing has brought me nothing but unhappiness. I know from personal experience that true happiness can be found only when I am cherishing others.
I decided that I will not go back to my ‘abusive partner’ – my self-cherishing, ever again. From now on I will only cherish others. I made this determination and repeated these words in my mind – I will abandon self-cherishing and only cherish others. I felt happy and free – a lovely feeling of happiness which was not centred on me but away from me. I stayed with this feeling for a while.
I then wondered what this meant in the light of death and impermanence. In this case it seemed very clear that once death comes my opportunity understand the wisdom of cherishing others will be lost. Although I may have others who I could cherish in my next life, will I understand how this is a spiritual path? I may not even have the opportunity (or desire) to cherish others. It is clear that I definitely need to cherish others 100% of the time, and I need to cherish myself 0% of the time. I felt my previous feeling of freedom and happiness take on a more intense dimension, and I stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings exchange self with others, and reach the state of enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
Simply to put my determination into practice, and turn my back on my ‘bad romance’ with self-cherishing.