Waking up this morning I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book of gathas: Present Moment Wonderful Moment
As I mentioned in our group, Present Moment Wonderful Moment is a very helpful and thought provoking companion to The Miracle of Mindfulness. The above gatha is the first in the book. To start each morning with this intention, and to refresh it throughout the day, can be a very powerful way to keep our spaciousness and our focus fresh, and our desire to be of benefit to other beings ever stronger. I would like to suggest that all of us use this gatha on arising each morning over the course of our 12 weeks of exploring The Miracle of Mindfulness. Take a few moments each morning to say these words aloud, to reflect on them, and to truly set this intention for yourself. Know that there is a group of people who are setting this same intention with you each day. Let’s see what happens. (You may want to set a reminder of some kind for yourself!)
One concern expressed was about the vow regarding something that you feel you can’t really accomplish, such as being totally mindful all the time, or viewing all beings, all of the time, with eyes of compassion. Suggestions about this included using the words “I will strive to live fully…,” or “May I live fully…” rather than “I vow to.” The point of using gathas is that they are helpful to you, moving you in the direction you want to go on this path of understanding and compassion. They can be changed to something that feels more congruent to you. You can also write your own, which can be a very interesting and fruitful action.
I find that using the last three words of this gatha, “eyes of compassion,” frequently throughout the day is very helpful. Used often, it begins to arise seemingly on its own, when my thoughts are critical or judgmental about someone (including myself) and it immediately changes the way I am seeing.