From the Book of Joy: I asked the Dalai Lama what it was like to wake up with joy, and he shared his experience each morning: “I think if you are an intensely religious believer, as soon as you wake up, you thank God for another day. And you try to do God’s will. For a nontheist like myself, but who is Buddhist, as soon as I wake up, I remember Buddha’s teaching: the importance of kindness and compassion, wishing something good for others, or at least to reduce their suffering. Then I remember that everything is interrelated, so I set my intention for the day: that this day should be meaningful. Meaningful means, if possible, serve and help others. If not possible, then at least not to harm others.”
My reflection: For years now the idea of loving-kindness has resonated with me, although when my son was in active addiction, this concept was not even on my radar. Every day was survival, a nonstop exercise in trying not to drown under the weight of all our problems.
Today’s Promise to consider: Kindness and compassion are lofty goals, especially when we’re battling the tidal waves of addiction in the family. Perhaps the best we can do some days is set an intention to ‘do no harm.’ For me, that requires constant presence of mind and body. My first reaction is not always a loving one, but if I’m able to observe my behavior against the criteria of whether it produces harm or not, I’m able to live without the regrets unskillful actions cause. And from there, I’m one step closer to the next rung of the ladder: loving-kindness.4870