When we speak of self-cherishing, really we are talking about the focus of modern society, where the individual and their rights are placed above the needs and desires of others. It is a mindset that places “I” as the focus of all interactions.
Abandoning this view is extremely difficult. We are taught from a very young age that we must compete to get what we want, we are taught that being number 1 is being the best. We are told that we must look after ourselves before we can look after others. In a sense, there is truth to the fact that we need to consider our basic necessities of survival before we can extend ourselves to others, so to clarify, we are not talking about the renunciation of all things.
Instead, the idea of “abandoning self-cherishing attitudes” means to replace the view of “I”, with the concept of “Us”.
It is to look upon the world with an understanding and appreciation that our very survival is dependent on others, and so we must generate an attitude of gratitude and love towards others in every situation.
The first step in this practice is generosity. By this we mean, giving things that you value to others. True generosity should on one level, leave you wondering how you will do without, but sure that the happiness of others is more important than your own needs at this time.
Generosity doesn’t necessarily mean giving material things, it can be the act of giving yourself openly to others, with gestures of kindness and a sense of vulnerability.
The principle of “wisdom in giving” is that by extending ourselves out to others, we are actually giving back to ourselves in the process.
The great Indian Master Shantideva says “All problems arise from self-cherishing, all happiness arises from cherishing others”.
Today, take a moment to look at the world from the view-point of “Us”, remembering how connected we all are, and then, with courage and wisdom, give a little bit of yourself to others.
Have an amazing Sunday!