The purpose of this meditation is to make firm the decision to finally abandon self-cherishing and to cherish only others, and then to meditate on this decision in the light of renunciation – the wish to be personally free from all the sufferings of samsara.

I began the meditation by settling my mind and establishing a very calm and peaceful feeling centred around my heart.

I then thought about the explanation of this meditation given by Geshe Kelsang in his book The New Meditation Handbook.

In his brilliant explanation, Geshe Kelsang says that NOW is the time when we should FINALLY realise that self-cherishing does not work, and that it has failed to deliver the true lasting happiness that we all want and long for. He says that now is the time we should switch our obsessive self interest for the pure mind of cherishing others.

I thought about these simple points, and the last couple of meditations (on the advantages of cherishing others and the disadvantages of self-cherishing) also came to mind, and crystallised into a very simple point:

Self-cherishing causes all my problems. Cherishing others solves all my problems.

I let these statements roll around in my mind, seeing them as two sides of the same concept.

I made the very firm decision that from now on I will only cherish others because this will solve all my problems, and I will avoid self-cherishing because it is the cause of all my problems.

I felt a very clear and joyous feeling of having, in that moment, solved all my problems.

I then brought this feeling into my previous calmness in the centre of my heart, and the feeling of meaning increased exponentially. It was all encompassing and blissful. I have solved all my problems! I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then decided it was time to think about what this means in the light of renunciation.

Being free from the sufferings of samsara is the definition of solving all my personal problems, so in that way renunciation is a component of exchanging self with others. It seems to me that this is the case because to wish to attain personal liberation is wishing for my personal problems to be resolved. But this excludes the problem that others are not free from suffering, and this is also a problem for me – I want everyone to be happy.  Exchanging self with others is a method for achieving the ability to actually free others from their suffering, and is a path to a greater achievement.

Exchanging self with others will also reduce my self-cherishing, and lead to its elimination, with supports my training in higher wisdom.

I settled on the feeling that renunciation and exchanging self with others were mutually supportive wishes, moving in the same direction and completely non-contradictory. I brought back the peaceful, free and placid feeling in my heart, the feeling of cherishing only others and solving all my problems, and centred on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings eliminate the cause of all their problems, cultivate the solution to all their problems, and thereby follow the path to its ultimate conclusion, the state of perfect enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

As I write, it seems to me that it has never been clearer that self-cherishing is the cause of all my problems, and cherishing others is the solution to all my problems. Therefore I will constantly request the blessings of my Holy Spiritual Guide to enable me to achieve the yoga of exchanging self with others.