August 31, 2022
The Buddha, one of the many wisdom l teachers that I study, talked about the importance of “gladdening our minds” daily, and really before we undertake any activity. I learned about the practice as a way to start a meditation or yoga class and the idea is always that we practice these techniques “on the mat, or on the bench” and then we take them into our daily lives. The purpose behind gladdening the mind, from my understanding, is that we start our day, or our activity by taking a few minutes to create a flow of love or good vibrations in our our entire being. We focus on positive thoughts and let that energy fill us up.
It is an easy practice that anyone can do. All that is required is to quietly say to ourself at least 5 things that we love. I do this every morning before I get out of bed. I love my breath. I love the 3 poppies growing in my garden right now. I love walking in the meadow that we live on. I love the spider webs outside my window. I love my family. And on it goes’. The idea is to say what I love and give my mind, body and heart a chance to fully feel the sensations of love rippling through my entire system. I gladden my mind. And then I continue on with the task at hand which could be meditating, doing some yoga or hosting a dinner party, playing with children or grandchildren, taking my garbage to the dump, painting a picture or reading a book. This practice is very helpful when life gives us challenging situations which we all get such as a difficult relationship with a friend, a grumpy co-worker, illness, things not working out the way we want, feeling lonely etc. The list go’s on. Life is challenging at times. It can be very easy to become overwhelmed, angry, sad, envious or tired. The Buddha taught that what we practice we get good at. If we spend a lot of time being angry, negative, mean spirited, jealous or envious that is what we get good at. If we practice gladdening our minds, focusing on positive thoughts and things we love we get good at that. We getter better at seeing our own essential goodness, and the goodness of life around us. We develop a habit of love.
There is an additional part to the practice. As you go through your day and you experience a moment of love such as watching the sunset or rise, or seeing beauty in your art or garden, or listening to a beautiful piece of music, or having dinner with friends, really take the time to absorb that moment. Feel it, sense it and experience it for at least 30 seconds and in doing so you strengthen the gladdening of the mind, the positivity and the joy. You are building a habit of love 30 seconds at a time. Rumi says “The very centre of your heart is where life begins. The most beautiful place on earth. “ Let love guide you through all the activities of your day.