Buddhadharma in Everyday Life, Lojong XV: Be Grateful For Everyone. ~ Linda V. Lewis

Via on Dec 31, 2009

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For someone aspiring to enter the Mahayana path of compassion, the relative reality that comprises our world is very important. Without the sensational world of appearances there would be no journey on that path. We would have no feedback from the phenomenal world to see if we were making any progress. How else do we know if we are any more generous and patient and any less self-centered?

This relative or conventional reality is so rich in experience. And at this holiday time of year all our pleasures and hard times of working with colleagues, all the boredom and adventures of modern travel, all the frustrating lines and delays—all are reminders that, because everything is relative, everyone we encounter can be considered to be our relative! And furthermore, we can be grateful to them for they fuel our practice post-meditation.

Without recognizing these situations as path, especially at this heightened holiday time of year, we have no way to develop fearlessness, exertion, insightful prajna, and problem solving. It is in fact these very hassles and obstacles, along with the good times to which we get so attached, that remind us to practice mindfulness-awareness on and off the cushion.

If there are no irritations, if the bus or the airplane is never delayed, if the child on board never cries and our neighbor’s dog is always quiet—how do we know that we have developed patience? If there is never a snowplow burying the sidewalk just after we have shoveled it, how do we know if we have a sense of humor? Are we falling back into the habitual pattern of taking ourselves seriously? Without working with and enjoying the company and chaos of others, it’s difficult to test our selflessness.

Thus as practitioner we can truly……

Be Grateful to Everyone!

We can appreciate all sentient beings as our relatives—a crazy family of sorts—for giving us these opportunities to practice mindfulness-awareness! Every being from Buddha to the cat that chases the squirrel up a tree is helpful to us.

Practicing with this attitude off the cushion is so valuable as we are faced with the hopes, excitements, exhaustion, and disappointments of this darkest time of year—at least in this Northern Hemisphere. How else can we realize our bodhisattva potential? Even if we find ourselves with unsurmountable difficulties, we can relax with the situation just as it is and at least that diminishes our anxiety. With gratitude for whatever occurs and for whomever appears we develop equanimity when things go awry and have more resiliency and unconditional good cheer to share with others.

No matter what we are doing—walking to work, stuck at an airport overnight, feasting with friends—it is possible to make a New Year’s resolution to Be Grateful to Everyone!

About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.

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4 Responses to “Buddhadharma in Everyday Life, Lojong XV: Be Grateful For Everyone. ~ Linda V. Lewis”

  1. Bruce MacFarlane says:

    Thanks Linda for the reminder. My good wife is recovering from a 10 hour operation after being in hospital for 2.5 months, and has just been moved back to a rehab unit to work on mobility as a stepping stone to getting back home. The bed she got was a bit cramped as one of 4 in the hospital room after coming from a private recovery room, and my first thought was that this would not do. I looked more closely at the stuation and saw that this was actually good, as it could make it a bit uncomfortable for her and us, and help her work harder perhaps to get home quicker. Yes, a bit of irritation helps us focus on the issue needing to be worked with and opens us to the situation more deeply. Happy New Year!
    Bruce MacFarlane
    Halifax, N.S.

  2. Molly DeShong says:

    Linda, you're a gem and I love these goodies from you!
    Molly

  3. Beautifully written, Linda!

    The more I practice Yoga the more I see it as my everyday life and consciousness as opposed to being something separate that I go off and do–just as you say above.

    Looks like we came up with the very same metaphor in the humor of a " snowplow burying the sidewalk just after we have shoveled it". See my recent Elephant Journal article "Enlightenment in a Snow Shovel" http://bit.ly/6aNkQz (Hint–you have to read to the very end to see the startling resemblance.)

    Thanks for a great article.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  4. Beautifully written, Linda!

    The more I practice Yoga the more I see it as my everyday life and consciousness as opposed to being something separate that I go off and do–just as you say above.

    Looks like we came up with the very same metaphor in the humor of a " snowplow burying the sidewalk just after we have shoveled it". See my recent Elephant Journal article "Enlightenment in a Snow Shovel" http://bit.ly/6aNkQz (Hint–you have to read to the very end to see the startling resemblance.)

    Thanks for a great article.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

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