The purpose of this meditation is to understand how self-cherishing harms us, and to develop the wish to abandon it.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then considered how self-cherishing is the actual cause of our day to day discontent. Because we hold ourselves as being SO important, we react to problems with an attitude of ‘this should not happen to ME!’ The suffering we experience is not so much due to the external circumstances, but to the attitude which believes that we should somehow be exempt from them.

spikesI thought about how I could conceptualise this, and it occurred to me that self-cherishing is like clothes with spikes on the inside. Whenever we bump up against something else, the spikes drive into our flesh and cause us harm. Instead of realising that it is our clothes that cause the pain, we blame external circumstances.

We cannot control the world, and stop encountering unfavourable conditions, but we can take off our spiked clothes and end our suffering. We fear what it will be like without the ‘protection’ of our spiked clothes, but there is nothing to fear because the suffering we experience is not caused by external circumstances – only our self-cherishing.

I made the determination to focus hard on this idea so that the wish would stay with me throughout the day. I focused on the understanding that my self-cherishing is like spiked clothes, and to be free from suffering, I need to take them off. It was a powerful image for me, and I rested my mind on it for the rest of the meditation session.

Dedication

May all living beings be free from suffering though casting off the mantle of self-cherishing.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will keep reminding myself that it is not external circumstances that cause me suffering – rather it is my own self-cherishing which tells me how important I am and how this should not be happening to ME!!!