Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy,
Or haters, one to another,
Far worse is the harm
From one’s own wrongly directed mind.
Niether mother nor father,
Nor any other relative can do
One as much good
As one’s own well-directed mind.
Dhammapada v 42-43, translated by Gil Fronsdal
Look inside, not outside.
This is part two: no one can do more for us than we can do for ourselves with a well-directed mind.
What is a well-directed mind? One that remembers that all of our actions and words have consequences. If we are continuously aware of the ramifications of our doings, we will act and speak with great care. This knowledge will curb our inclinations to act impulsively, selfishly, or without thinking. We will see the potential in every interaction, not only for harm, but also for healing. Just this seeing is an enormous foundation of wisdom.
It can be difficult to acknowledge our own goodness, but I encourage everyone to keep an eye on it. Don’t discount it! It is our most precious possession, or possibly our only possession. Every act of generosity or kindness is for our own benefit as well as the benefit of others. Every time we don’t do something vengeful or nasty that arises as an idea in the mind, is a victory. Purposely steering our thoughts in the direction of peace is an act of valor.
As the year draws to a close, it is good to remember that we are on a path through this life. Every day, every week, we can choose the direction we take. The more wholesome choices we make, the easier it is to make future wholesome choices. This is the gift we can give to ourselves and to those who care about us.