Here is one of the best pieces of advice for spiritual practice (i.e., life) that I’ve ever heard, coming from my dear Dharma sister Ven. Chonyi
Enjoy what you’re doing.
This sounds simple enough, but looking around me – and inside myself – I discover that it doesn’t just happen naturally.
Going wee-wee was not something to which I paid much mind. Sure, it’s a relief, and I have a vivid memory of one car ride where it was a huge relief. But now that I work as a caregiver for an elderly gentleman, going wee-wee isn’t any longer only to relieve myself.
A few days ago, I noticed that as I got up during the night to assist my friend in going wee-wee, I started to feel very frustrated. “Can’t you just let it all out at once!? Just go in your bed and we’ll clean it up later – I’m sleeping!”
Luckily, before I destroyed all my virtue, the recollection of Ven. Chonyi’s words resounded through my mind: Enjoy what you’re doing. Now I have this slogan, as much koan as mantra, to keep my mind happy. Enjoy what I’m doing.
Though it doesn’t happen automatically, it doesn’t take that much effort, either. By merely having that thought, I notice that I begin to let go of my tightness. I begin to let go of my ego. After all, doesn’t unhappiness tend to show up accompanied by self-preoccupation?
If I really want to be joyful, I have to stop considering that the most supremely important thing in the universe is what I want, what I need, what I think is the right way. Get out of my way if you dare think otherwise!
Then, I can simply be aware of the current state of my mind. Not worrying about loss or gain, not fearing that I won’t get enough sleep, I can keep my loving attention on my elder in need.
Today, I’ll extend this attitude toward whatever activities I engage in. After all, why bother being miserable? Geshe Chekawa’s 7-Point Thought Transformation states, “Always maintain only a joyful mind.”
If this is impossible, then I hereby renounce my status as a human being. But it is totally possible! Of course, it necessitates that what I’m doing is not harmful to others. Indeed, for worldly or spiritual happiness I must overcome my destructive tendencies.
But once hurtful intentions are out of the way, the sheer thought to have a joyful mind beckons conscientiousness, which continuously takes delight in refraining from harm and in doing constructive, helpful actions. A joyous enthusiasm arises that spurs me on to continue cultivating deeper loving-kindness, compassion, and so much joy that it will flow out of my ears and spill into others!
This is why this life is magnificent – it has such great potential. Today, I’ll strive to not harm others. I’ll try to benefit others. Whatever that ends up looking like, I’ll enjoy what I’m doing.