I Heard it Like This…
Reflections of an inspired talk by Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax.
TEN STEPS ON THE PATH OF SELF AWARENESS
There are ten steps we all can take to enlarge our self awareness. These steps are like strings on an instrument or notes on a piano. We can practice them separately but when played together, we can make beautiful music.
(if you prefer to listen & meditate – there is approx. 30 seconds of silence after the bell, before Alan speaks again; but you can fast-forward if you don’t wish to meditate)
The third step is INTENTION. What kind of intention? Intention that has a high regard for unselfishness. Often, we are unconscious of our own motives, going through our day reacting to people and events with habitual behavior. We smile at what amuses us and frown at what frustrates or annoys us. Certainly we pay attention to others, but not with any particular intention to listen, comfort, or care for them.
When we set our intention to be considerate of others, remarkable things can happen. Possibly it is in small steps, like letting someone go ahead of us in line or preparing a meal for a friend who is ill. Sometimes it can have larger consequences. I know a business executive who said his life was changed when he approached his staff with a “generosity of intent.” Setting an intention for unselfishness creates a tension, balancing our own needs and perspectives with the needs and perspectives of others. This tension makes us wake up to a higher purpose in life and becomes the ground from which we continue down the path of learning.