With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
Being grateful is an inside out thing. We must work to empty our inside so that we can be fully present on the outside. I struggle mightily with this, though less over the years. What I have found helpful is a sort of instant tonglen practice. Tonglen is based in the Tibetan tradition. Someone who has practiced Zen for awhile may be in a place where some of the key elements of tonglen may be practiced in the moment itself.
Tonglen comes out of the notion that everyone suffers, everyone has toxins of one sort or another, and the effort is to draw out those toxins from others, use their toxins to destroy our own toxin, then offer our well-being, joy, and love to others. Usually, tonglen is practiced as a lengthy guided meditation.
I suggest it can be used as an aspect of daily mindfulness practice. As we go through our day and are confronted by people who are clearly suffering, and acting out their pain by harming others, we might open ourselves, take in their suffering, direct it at our own suffering source, then offer them our love.
Emptying oneself does not mean simply getting rid of the typical things we "think" about, such as that which we think we know, or our own grief, it means also emptying ourselves of our love and joy. Perhaps the better word is "transfer" as in the "fueko" prayers we offer after zazen and incense offering. We are transferring our "merit" to those in need.
One might ask, if this is done without saying a word to others, how is it at all helpful? The answer is that by generating a compassionate heart which empties itself of love moment to moment, we are both in a position to be present for others and developing the ability to understand other's more clearly at the same time. This practice teaches us the habit of shifting personal focus from self to other and by extension, to the Infinite.
We are bringing the light of the Infinite into existence.
May we each be such a blessing.