The purpose of this meditation is to feel the meaning of our precious human life.

This morning was absolutely beautiful. At 7am the sky was blue, there was no wind, and the sun was gently chasing away the last chill of the night. I set up my cushion and shrine on the patio at the end of the garden and settled down to meditate in the early morning calm. How wonderful to begin my meditation cycle on such a lovely day.

I first engaged in the prayers known as Heart Jewel, the Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa combined with the condensed sadhana of his Dharma Protector. At the appropriate moment, I began my meditation practice.

I started by calming my mind – imagining a space-like emptiness at my heart which had three characteristics – Light, empty like clear space, and still. I spent a while simply focussing on this experience at my heart until everything else disappeared, and I was left with the feeling of being mixed completely with light, empty stillness.

After a while I turned my attention to the contemplation for this meditation – my precious human life. What is the meaning of my precious human life? What is its significance? What conclusions should I draw from this, and how does it make me feel?

The answers came easily, and yet they still have the power to move me.

I thought about the animals around me – the baby spiders on the chair behind me, newly hatched and spreading out into the garden. I thought about the chickens I keep in the corner of my garden, and the countless flies, bees and other insects which share the garden with me. Are their lives meaningful to them? Probably not from their point of view. Although they may experience their surroundings and have some thoughts and feelings, are they aware of themselves? Do they think – why am I here? what choices do I have? is my existence meaningful? Because of their limited mental capabilities, animals are not able to ask these questions.

If I do not ask these questions, and arrive at some answers, then my life will have no more meaning than that of an animal.

So I asked myself the question – what does my human life signify?

Decided that my human life signifies my freedom from being born as an animal. It signifies my capacity to ask such questions, and to search for answers. It signifies my freedom from ignorance and indifference. It signifies my freedom to practice my faith, and my good fortune in having Dharma available, and the tendency to accept it.

FreeThen I asked myself – what conclusions can I draw from this significance?

I concluded that my human life gives me the opportunity to make . It gives me the opportunity to learn and practice Dharma, which is the method for making sense of my self and my surroundings.

With Dharma wisdom I can use every single thought, object and experience to establish the truth. Every thought is either virtuous, non-virtuous or neutral. With Dharma wisdom I can establish which thoughts are which. Every experience I have is a demonstration of cause and effect, and with Dharma wisdom I can recognise that samsara’s pleasures are deceptive and give no contentment, only torment. With Dharma wisdom I can recognise that all the objects I perceive, including my body, my mind and in particular, my ‘self’, are completely empty of inherent existence. They exist like hallucinations.

My human life gives me the unsurpassed opportunity to understand my self and my surroundings, and thereby to attain complete freedom from suffering for myself and all other living beings. What could be more meaningful than this?

I focused on this conclusion and I was slowly filled with a feeling of being able to use every thought, every object and every experience as a stepping stone on the path to enlightenment. My life is crammed full of the means to attain enlightenment. I felt almost enclosed by the meaning of my life – the sense that literally everything that appears to me IS my path – IS my means to attain enlightenment. At that moment, I recognised the preciousness of my human life, and I meditated on that feeling for the rest of the meditation session.

Dedication

May all living beings live the lives of humans, and not the lives of animals, and attain enlightenment swiftly.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep my view that all my thoughts, objects of perception and all my experiences are the opportunities given to me by my precious human life to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.