The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong recognition that all living beings are essentially our mother, and then to meditate on this recognition in the light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing.

I began with breathing meditation to settle my mind, and then moved on to the main meditation.

I started by recognising that the body I have at the moment comprises material which has always existed. My body arose from physical elements which have existed since the start of the universe, and before that.  Since everyone agrees that something cannot arise out of nothing, my body’s causes existed even before this event, since beginningless time.

So it is with my mind. My mind is not physical. I cannot see my mind. I cannot operate on my mind, or directly take photos of it. My mind of this moment arose from the previous moment of mind, and the conditions it experienced. My mind also goes back to beginningless time.

In all my past lives I have had mothers – where are they now? They are all the living beings I see around me now. Whenever I see a living being, I should recognise them as my mother. Just because I do not recognise them does not mean they are not my mother. In Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso relates the story of a mother who came to a monastery looking for her son, from whom she was separated long before. They could not recognise each other, and when the Abbot introduced them to each other, she wept.

We are like this mother and son. Unless we recognise that all living beings are our mother, we will not generate the special feeling of connection we need to generate Bodhichitta.

Therefore, I made the determination to always regard all living beings as my mother. I felt a bond arise between myself and all living beings – there was only one relationship: Mother and child. It felt extraordinary. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing. Self-cherishing makes me believe that I am the most important and others are less so. But if I can recognise that others are my mother, this will prevent my selfish motivation from taking hold over me. I am naturally well disposed to my mother, and want to care for her and share with her. Recognising all living beings as my mother hampers self-cherishing.

With this in mind I returned to me meditation on recognising all living beings as my mother, and remained on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings come to recognise their true relationship with others, and quickly generate Bodhichitta and become enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will regard all living beings as my mother, and think ‘this person/animal is my mother’ when I see or thing of them.