The purpose of this meditation is to understand that I have a precious human life, and to use this understanding to commit myself to following the spiritual path, and then to contemplate this wish in the light of equanimity – the warm and friendly feeling I should hold towards all living beings.

I began the session by relaxing my body systematically, and then finally centring my attention on my breath and settling my mind on my breathing, until I developed a very calm and placid feeling.

Once I felt I had some stability of mind, I turned my attention to the contemplation of this topic provided by my kind teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his marvellous book, The New Meditation Handbook. He gives a long description of why our human life is precious, rare and can be so very meaningful. I thought about all the points he makes, and then thought about what I should do with this opportunity.

For most of my life I have not done anything particularly meaningful. I have done some good things, and I have done some bad things. I found myself dwelling on some occasions when I have done bad things, and I started to feel unhappy. I then thought that these things were in the past, and although I should always be aware of what I have done in the past, I also need to find a positive way of dealing with them. I can’t change what I have done in the past, or the effect it has had on others. What I can do it promise to never do those things again, and to use the rest of my life to benefit others rather than to harm them. I began to feel more positive. What is the most beneficial thing I can do with my life to help others? I can use my life to practice Dharma sincerely, and to love all living beings. Dharma shows me how to do this, and how to make my life meaningful.

I promised myself and Geshe-la that I would practice Dharma sincerely for the rest of this life. I was very moved by the power of this promise, and I felt like I was part of a significant endeavour – the most significant thing I can do with my life. It filled me with a real feeling of purpose and meaning. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity. I thought about how my attitudes towards others are mistaken, and although they may appear to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, these appearances are just my mistaken projections. In fact I should simply maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings. It occurred to me that I should also have this same view towards myself. When I think about the bad things I have done, it is easy to get unhappy – those feelings are so instantly painful. But again, when I think like this I am relating to myself as being an inherently bad person, but this is mistaken. Although I have done bad things, I am not inherently bad. I should relate to my ‘self’ with a warm and friendly attitude too. I make mistakes, but I also do good things. I should be warm and friendly to this ‘self’ of mine – not ignore its past actions, but use them to vault over unhappiness and as a source of energy to make my life meaningful and for the benefit of others.

It seemed a little odd to think about treating myself with warmth and friendliness, but why not?? I relate to myself in pretty much the same way to the way I relate to others – as a solid inherently existent person! If my projections onto others are mistaken, then so are my projections onto myself. With this thought, I kept focused on settled on this deep wish to make my life meaningful and to maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards myself and others.

Dedication

May all living beings find the essence of their precious human life, and attain true inner peace for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will see what it feels like to maintain a warmth and friendliness to my ‘self’.