Well, I have had a very special day today. My wife is away for the weekend, and I was in charge of everything, including keeping my three children happy!

Once we were all up I gathered them all around the breakfast table and asked them what they wanted to do today. My 13 year old boy was plugged into his iPod watching youtube videos and didn’t want to engage, so I informed him that he’d better turn it off or I would take it off him for the rest of the weekend. He grudgingly put it down and I told them that we were not staying in on a nice day like today, and again asked them where they wanted to go.

Immediately my youngest – my daughter who is 8 years old said that she wanted to go to a National Trust property quite near to us, because she has been doing work on it at school and they are going to visit it in a few weeks time. She then reeled off some amazing facts about the place, which got us interested. It fitted the bill perfectly for a nice cheap day out.

We got ready, jumped in the car, and after a quick visit to Tesco’s to grab some lunch, we headed off. My grumpy eldest slowly started to engage with his younger brother and sister, and we ended up having a brilliant time all day long. Even a real downpour of rain half way through the day only made it more fun! When we got back, I read to both my younger children and put them to bed, and then went downstairs to find eldest watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He had been watching youtube videos of film bloopers, and as we watched, he pointed out continuity errors. This made it a really special viewing, with us talking and laughing. Then, he came over and sat on my lap. It’s a long time since he’s done that. We sat there together and watched the rest of the film.

We finally said goodnight and I have just done a short meditation.

I began by focusing my mind on my breath, and then moved on to thinking about our search for happiness. We all want happiness. Days like today don’t happen very often. If I have a couple of dozen days like this in my life, I will count myself lucky. In all my lives, I have searched for happiness. But I have always died and whatever happiness I have found has slipped through my fingers. In this life too, the happiness I experience from being with my children will pass and be lost. I don’t want to lose them. I don’t want to die and forget them. I want to watch over them forever, and guide them to true, lasting happiness.

To do that, I need to free myself from samsara’s grasp. I need to turn my back of samsaric pleasure and follow my Spiritual Guide’s instructions. I must free myself from samsara.

I focused on this wish to be free from samsara, and slowly began to feel a strong sense of wanting to rise above and away from this soiled existence – to experience a pure existence free from samsara’s temporary and unsatisfactory happiness. I focused on this wish to be free for a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I thought that by attaining liberation from samsara, I will be giving myself the perfect opportunity to then cherish others purely. What a worthwhile thing to do! I then brought my mind back to the wish to be free of samsara, and focused on it for a while.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the wish to be free from samsara’s grasp, and attain liberation and enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will cherish my family and hold them dear, and use this feeling of cherishing to remind myself that if I want to cherish them forever, I need to follow my Spiritual Guide’s instructions and attain liberation from samsara.