Loving kindness meditation includes aspiring for ourselves and all other beings to know how to nourish the seeds of joy and happiness in ourselves every day. Daily practice of seeing, recognizing and nourishing those seeds of joy is not only a pleasure but an obligation towards our well-being, just as eating, breathing and sleeping are equally important obligations. Oh sure, we can get along without nourishing our happiness, but as a wise one said, “man does not live by bread alone,” neither can we flourish without regular infusions of joy. How do we know how to nourish joy? I find that it is mindfulness to daily experience, even the smallest things and seemingly irrelevant events, that provides the seeds of joy. Once perceived and appreciated, and shared, the small things and brief events are ours to savor with joy. In the past few days, here are just some of the things and events that have brought me joy:
- Watching a chipmunk eat piece after piece of a cut-up peach, filling his cheeks, running back somewhere in the underbrush, and returning for more
- Seeing the white-tipped, bushy tail of a red fox as he lept in tall grass near my garden, as this beautiful drawing by irishishka portrays
- Smelling a skunk under our window at night, the pungent aroma signalling some distress or confrontation but no indications of what by morning.
- Hearing the amazing hooting of an owl in the middle of the night, and learning that it was a Great Horned Owl
- Seeing wild raspberries near my garden Buddha
- Seeing Spotted Touch-Me-Not near the raspberries
- Realizing that my anger can teach me something wonderful and useful, healing, peaceful and divine, by reading “The Poison Tree” by Judy Lief in the latest Shambhala Sun. Click here for a preview.
What brings you joy today?