Spirituality, Liturgy and the Tao of Inner Peace
Live in Joy
Live in Joy, In love,
Even among those who hate.
Live in joy, In health,
Even among the afflicted.
Live in joy, In peace,
Even among the troubled.
Look within. Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.
–from the Dhammapada, Words of the Buddha
When was the last time you can remember giving something without any expectations of return? Now I don’t’ mean you expect a gift, or monetary reward, but we do more often than nought expect praise, affirmation, or in some cases that they will give you something. For the past two weeks I have been examining within my own self the addiction to outside affirmation or praise.
One of the precepts of Buddhism examines the idea that attachments are the source of suffering, and I have found that the attachment can be to the drug of affirmation. To find the pathway to giving without the subconscious need for affirmations is truly a gift towards the path to enlightenment. When we are addicted to affirmations we are not living our true self, we are living though the thoughts and feelings that someone else has about us. Giving away the power to look inside ourselves for those “feel good” moments. Each time we give that power to someone outside of ourselves we are diminishing our own source of peace and contentment.
As an experiment, the past two weeks I have given up social media. For someone who loves attention, and to be the center of likes and comments of affirmations this was an first difficult. Everything I did or thought, I wanted to post — why? I found myself asking why did I have the need to share my coffee and Baileys with the world, or my new outfit or hair? Wasn’t sharing it with myself enough? Did I need the confirmation of others to make the moment more special? I suppose I had…. So I started to savor those moments all by myself and there was the real enlightened power I had been missing. If you think something is wonderful isn’t that all that matters? The one person in this life we always have to be with is ourselves and you and I need to find out how to love that person and that space.
Now that leads me to my next thought and the real reason I started this post…giving without expectation. It begins with ourselves and the self affirmations and then expands to the way we treat those in our circle, our family, friends and neighbors. The world says “I give you a gift you are required to give me a gift,” we live in a society where everything must be tit for tat, even Steven, and eye for an eye almost. We fool ourselves into giving love and affection because we are in-love with another when really it’s the reciprocal love and affection we crave, are attached to, even addicted to in this life.
So beginning with self love and no need for others approval then brings us to the ability to give love, gifts, time, affection without the cancerous need for what we will get in return. Much like the ability to truly listen to another without thought of what we will say next.
Meditate on what you can give – truly give to another – free love and affection without the neediness of the return, because you have all the love and power that you ever need or needed within you right now and forever more. ❤
Thanks be to God – Namaste