Sunday, April 5, 2015

Embracing Service to Others: On Having One Intention

The new slogan has me thinking about how it would be so easy to disregard the inconvenient aspects of studying lojong, because this one is definitely presenting some difficulties.
All activities should be done with one intention.
My initial dig for commentary, at, yielded an alternative translation - "Use one practice for everything" - and my first inkling of I-Don't-Wanna. The toddler reaction came from the explanatory passage:
"Bring taking and sending to bear on everything you experience, in formal meditation and in daily life."
Everything? EVERYTHING? It's easy to apply these ideas with the negatives in my life - with my mistakes, with my neurotic moments, with my occasionally uncontrollable worry about my elderly and sick cat - but I don't wanna do it with the positives. I want to hold onto how people had such positive things to say about both of the presentations I gave at ACRL. I want to hold onto the memory of a macaw that danced with my friend at the zoo. I want to keep those for my own and hold them close.

So turning to Tricycle induced a bit of trepidation, but I did it anyway. That internal toddler might be loud at times, but I can usually resist her. And, as usual, I was glad I'd pushed through. 

The one passage that resonated most made me wince but it also made me a bit more willing to let go of the positive things:
"Without saying it in so many words, often the thread holding all our thoughts ad activities together is: 'What's in it for me?' We wonder how we can survive, get ahead, win, succeed, overcome, take over, grab something, be recognized, appreciated, rewarded... you name it, the list is endless."
Though that way of thinking, of holding onto all the positive things, might be helpful in the short term, it's not who I am or want to be in the long run. I want my "gestures, speech, thoughts, and emotions should all be expressions of one intention: the powerful intention of benefiting sentient beings." (It was upon reading that phrase that I got the image of a cat using a dog as a pillow stuck in my head, thus the above illustration for this teaching.)

Lief's advice for this tenet is especially appreciated since I know this will be hard for me to put into action:
"Notice the way in which your underlying intentions color your actions.  Notice also the quality of pointlessness or aimlessness and times when whatever you are doing seems to be without any clear intention. Choose an activity, you normally do and see what happens when you link it with the intention of cultivating gentles and service to others."
So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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