I’ve been trying to figure out ways to continue my spiritual practices in the most economical way and have therefore decided to spend more time reading to seek inspiration in addition to my occasional meditation sessions. I stumbled upon this article and it inspired a few thoughts.
I was just thinking about how hard it is to be selfless. I mean to actually put your own needs or preferences aside and sacrifice something big or small for someone else. Most of the time, when we do this, it causes us some discomfort which sort of cancels out the good deed. I read this saying a long time ago and I will loosely paraphrase here,..”if in the act of giving, you feel as if you have lost something, then is it truly a gift?” because afterall, isn’t it the intention that makes the act special. If you give a gift with expectations, then you will simply end up being a martyr and we have all certainly been there.
I think a lot of us think we are being selfless, but in reality, in the back of our minds, there is always some underlying reason for giving a gift or being kind. So, I’ve decided to be more aware of my actions and intentions and give more selfless gifts, even if it’s just a smile 🙂 In the meantime, I excerpted a few great quotes from the article that I think could be helpful to understand this concept:
I’d like to be more loving, but I also know it is my responsibility to give myself time, space, sleep, exercise, fun, and healthy meals. When I take the time to provide myself with those things, I find that I have more goodness to give to others.
Thinking of yourself first, when your goal is to help others, might seem counter-intuitive, but in fact it is the only way it can work. In the end, the notion of putting oneself last is really an inside-out form of self-cherishing. That’s why during pre-flight instructions the flight attendant says to put on your own oxygen mask first, and then put on your child’s mask. When we are happy, healthy, safe, and at ease, we can model those qualities for others as well as make choices and take action from a place of sanity and loving kindness.
And I especially love this:
A simple way we can try to connect our hearts to others is to try and repeat these four lines:
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be safe
May you live with ease
Each time you recite the sequence of lines, you visualize a different category of sentient being:
Those you love
Those you don’t love
Those you have never met
These three categories cover the entire spectrum of how we relate to other beings: attachment, aversion, and ignorance.
Quoted from an article by Cyndi Lee in Tricycle Magazine