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Lions Roar : July 2015
Two Practices continued from page 45 us another opportunity to connect with our deeper aspirations. At the end of day, for instance, before you go to bed or as you lie in bed before sleeping, reflect on your day. Briefly review the events of the day (including significant conversations, moods, and other mental activity) and touch back on the spirit of the morning intention setting. See how much alignment there is between the two. It’s important not to get caught up in the details of what you did and did not do. The idea is not to keep exhaustive scores, but to broadly survey to see the synergy between your intentions and your life that day. Whatever thoughts and feelings this reviewing might bring, just stay with it. There’s no need to push them away if they have a negative quality, or grasp at them if they seem positive. Simply stay with whatever you experience for a while in silence. Finally, think of something from the day that you feel good about—a helping hand you gave your neighbor, an empathetic ear you lent a colleague in distress, not losing your cool in the drugstore when someone cut in line. Then take joy in the thought of this deed. If nothing else, take joy in the fact that you began your day by setting a conscious intention. Keep this exercise short; three to five minutes is a good length. If you normally do some reading before bed, you could set aside three to five minutes at the end for dedication time. If your habit is to watch TV, could you watch three to five minutes less? Or go somewhere quiet during commercials? Taking joy in the day, even in the simple fact of the effort we have made, is important. It gives us something positive to carry into the next day, and helps us harness motivation in the service of our intentions. Joy plays a crucial role in our motivation, espe- cially in sustaining motivation over a prolonged period of time. Exercise: Focused Review Sometimes it’s helpful to do a more focused review. This is especially true if we are struggling with a particular issue or are engaged in some endeavor, such as an eight-week compassion training course! Each week in Compassion Cultivation Training we work on certain qualities and attitudes we seek to foster. Say, one week it’s self-compassion. During this period, we set inten- tions around being kinder to ourselves. In turn, at the end of a day, our dedication might pay special attention to kindnesses we may have shown ourselves that day. Now, when we undertake such a targeted assessment, most of us will find that we fall short. We will see the gaps between our inten- tions and our behavior, between our aspirations and our actual life. When this happens, it’s important not to beat ourselves with negative judgment and self-criticism. We simply acknowledge the difference and resolve to try again the next day. This aware- ness itself will help us be more attentive the next day, opening opportunities to bring our everyday thoughts and actions into closer alignment with our goals. ♦ 25th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of Vajra Regent ösel Tendzin Presented by SATDHARMA on August 14 - 23 in California satdharma.org/celebrate A Celebration of his Life, Legacy & the Continuity of the Dharma Transmission SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 81