The purpose of this meditation is to develop the wish to abandon self-cherishing, and then to think about this wish in the light of actions and their effects.
I began the meditation by thinking about what self-cherishing is. Self-cherishing is a complex attitude which basically views ourself to be more important than anything (or anyone) else. This view causes me so much trouble! By believing I am more important than everyone else I naturally put myself first. I want the praise, pleasure, resources and respect, and a good reputation. I naturally think of myself before anyone else. Where does this get me?
In the short term it might seem to work, securing some meagre advantage and pleasure, but what are the longer term results. My selfish actions cause me relationships with others to be hollow – I see others as competitors or people to use to get what I want. I will squander friendships and ruin any chance of happiness I might have by wanting something better.
The mind of self-cherishing causes me and others so much pain in the immediate wake of my actions. But it also causes me to experience suffering in the future in the form of painful experiences. Self-cherishing hurts me twice.
I got the impression of a horrible stain which spreads out through time, soiling me now and again in the future. I felt a revulsion towards this mind which causes so much harm and disruption. I dwelt on this disgust for a while and then developed a wish to be free from it. It felt like I had dropped a huge disgusting weight and that I was able to fly upwards into a pure clean sky. I connected the pure clean sky with the abandonment of the disgusting mind of self-cherishing, and focused on the feeling for a while.
I then thought about what this feeling means in the light of actions and their effects. Abandoning self-cherishing is an action, and its effects are for me to create positive actions which will benefit myself and others immediately, and that will cause me to have good conditions in the future in which I can continue to benefit others. It seemed so advantageous to abandon self-cherishing bearing this in mind. I returned to the feeling of abandonment of self-cherishing, and floated in the lovely clean sky for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings see the faults of self-cherishing clearly, and by abandoning it completely become enlightened for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to recognise self-cherishing as it arises, recognise it’s bad qualities, and develop the determination to abandon it.