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Lions Roar : January 2014
alive. So much has been given, is being given to me, all the time.” When we meditate and quiet the mind, we get a deeper look at the true nature of our life and see that it is interconnected. This uncovers in us a well of gratitude. Can we open the mind’s awareness and investi- gate what we’re being given right now? We notice our breath. What in the breath is given to us? We are given the air and the body that breathes. We cannot make air. We cannot build and manage our minutely complex body ourselves. We notice the pressure of the cushion under our seat. We are given its firm support. We notice the touch of clothing on our skin. We see the people who planted, weeded, and har- vested the cotton, who wove the cloth, who cut and sewed, packaged and shipped, who drove the trucks, who opened the fitting- room doors, who took our payment. We realize that the life energy of many people covers and warms us in the form of this shirt, this pair of pants. We are not self-made. We are made of the raw ingredients of sunlight, soil, and water, shaped into the flesh of plants and animals, shaped into our life. Our life is one big gift, given by countless beings. When we truly see this, gratitude natu- rally arises, as does the question, “How can I repay the many beings who are con- tinually giving to me?” Is there a gift we can give to anyone, anywhere, anytime? The greatest gift is the gift of dharma, the gift of relief from suffering. Who would not receive this gift gladly? We give this gift first to our- selves, studying and practicing it, trans- forming our own suffering into a greater measure of ease and happiness. As we do this, we pass this gift along to whomever