Following impermanence and interconnection, the third "I" teaching we received at Plum Village was about living our lives with intention. Basically, we were reminded that every action we take has a reaction that creates either more peace or suffering (for ourselves and/or others). The teaching was timely and really resonated with me because I had been reflecting on the idea that everything I choose to do (or not do) today and in each moment, impacts my future. Wearing sunblock today prevents wrinkles and skin cancer in my future. The way I eat and exercise today determines my future physical and mental health.
EACH MOMENT MATTERS.
Each thing we do and say every day compounds and creates who we are tomorrow. Our decisions make us in every moment. One of the rules Jordan Peterson promotes in his book, 12 Rules for Life, is to tell the truth. He suggests that we speak and act with integrity, even (and especially) when bending the/(our) truth (even just slightly) seems easier and expedient.
For me, it comes down to whether my actions are being motivated by fear/greed/anger; or loving kindness and compassion? Am I living my Truth?
Below are two meditations/contemplations I came across while at Plum Village, in case you might connect with them:
Self-love Meditation #1:
I am a flower in the garden of humanity. I smile because a flower is always smiling.
I am stable and solid. Without solidity I can't truly be happy. I will be pulled away by provocations, fear, greed, regret or anxiety.
I am water, reflecting exactly what is there. I am not a victim of wrong perceptions (my stories). When my mind is disturbed by craving, anger or jealousy, I perceive things wrongly. Wrong perceptions bring us a lot of anger, fear, violence; and push us to do or say things that destroy.
I am space and freedom. I need space in my heart to be happy. Each person needs space to be happy. We give space to those we love, so they can be happy. We also don't impose ourselves or our ideas on other people (so they can be free to live their lives in the way they choose.
Self-love Meditation #2:
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May I learn to look at myself with eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
(...and you can add your own)
May my understanding become externalized into action, so that I can use peace, love and compassion to transform the suffering I see in the world.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!