“We purify the mind of craving by practicing generosity. Desire, greed, is a centripetal longing in which we seek to draw everything inward toward ourselves. Giving is a basic reorientation of that attitude into one of opening, one of offering. Generosity is not merely the overt action of giving somebody something material: it can also be giving of care, of protection, of kindness, and of love. Generosity is not just interpersonal; it is also an inward state, a generosity of the spirit that extends to ourselves as well as to others.” ~ Sharon Salzberg
The Sutras tell us that we owe our gratitude to all beings, and especially to our parents, the head of our government – called the sovereign – and the three jewels – the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. The Buddha-dharma teaches the ideal of altruism, and that we are only able to practice altruism because other beings exist. Also, if it were not for other living beings, bodhisattvas could not fulfill their vow to liberate them. The 13th loJong slogan is “Be Grateful to Everyone.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche said, “A more literal translation of this slogan is “Contemplate the great kindness of everyone.” Without them we have nothing. Other beings are the grist for the mill of this life for us. We rub up against each other and see our shortcomings, our strengths, and everything in between. We need all the obstacles and troubles and encouragement and mentoring and pushing and prodding we get from other people. They are our greatest teachers. So we give to them out of gratitude: a “thank you” for all the help that we are given.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that we “need to know how to stop repressing, so that the mental formations of desires, fear, indignation and so on, have an opportunity to arise, be recognized, transformed. Producing mindfulness through the daily practice of meditation will help us recognize embrace, and transform our feelings of suffering.”
Today sit with the breath and the sensations in the body include the emotions as they arise with respect and tenderness. Five minutes, or 20 or 60 or 3 breaths. Bring an openness to the practice, free from judgment and expectation. Be mindful and at ease.