How do we go about changing our minds? Here’s a daily practice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that just might help…
Every day, think as you wake up:
Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
Now, I rarely follow through on any of these wonderful aspirations. I usually get caught back up in my own petty fears and desires within five minutes of saying these lines. But since I’ve been doing this practice for the past few years I have noticed that, little by little, they are seeping into my daily life. They’re becoming, almost imperceptibly, reflexive. Maybe that’s a strong word, but at the very least they are helping me to notice more quickly when I’m being a jerk, and I can use them to pull myself out of the muck and mire of my self-absorbtion.
I don’t think you have to be Buddhist to do a practice like this. You don’t have to use these particular lines either. You can make up your own. Just remember to set your sights high and not to worry too much about missing the mark day after day, year after year. We’re talking about changing our minds here. Be patient. This takes a lot of time and effort. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say, without a doubt, it’s worth it.