Sense of Balance Between Self and Others
It is good to recognize our own faults and mistakes and we should also acknowledge our own good or positive qualities. It is very important to look after and take care of our families, our friends, as well as ourselves. If we are too focused on our own needs, we actually create unnecessary difficulties both for ourselves and others. That’s because when we are too self-centered we don’t really care for others. Because of that attitude, we do things that make other people uncomfortable. At the same time, because we are unaware of that, then we are creating more conditions to harm ourselves. Therefore, when we interact with our partners, our parents, our children, and our extended family, we should always switch our perspective back and forth between ourselves and others. This helps us maintain a balance. This sense of balance reduces the likelihood that we harm others too much.
Sense of Balance and Focus in Life
Secondly, we need to have a focus for our life. It is very important for us to care for our family, our relationships, and our work. But at the same time, we call ourselves practitioners, or followers of the Buddha. Then it is very important that we don’t forget the Dharma. So we have to learn how to balance our daily, mundane responsibilities and the Dharma. Our lives are very busy; we all know this. Yet, if we are honest, when we think about how much time we dedicate to Dharma versus our worldly life, we probably end up spending over 95 percent of our time on worldly activities and only 5 percent on Dharma. How much of our weekly time is given to practice? We may only come to temple or meditation sessions once, twice, or three times a month. When we really investigate where our time goes, we can see what we prioritize.
As practitioners, we should be careful not to neglect the Dharma. That’s why we have to resolve to balance Dharma and bring it into our daily life more. We can integrate Dharma with our education and our work. We do that by really appreciating and understanding the key points. It is very important to take the time to learn from our Dharma teachers. And Rinpoche says he understands how busy we are. Yet, we need to make the effort not to forget, not to just think of the Dharma as something we do on special occasions.
Reminder and Self-reflection
To review, the first piece of advice is not to focus too much on our own needs. Instead, make some effort to focus on those around us and on our relationships with those in our lives. We need to be very careful about the tendency to concentrate only on “me.” The second point is to aim for a balance between worldly activities and Dharma practice. Please don’t forget the Dharma completely because we get so busy.
Every day, we can take some time to check ourselves. We must stop and ask ourselves these questions:
- How am I caring for and paying attention to the others in my life?
- Do I take their needs and desires into account?
- Am I taking advantage of my precious human life to further my understanding of the Dharma?
- And am I practicing what I have learned and understood?
If we make the time to honestly reflect and then act upon these reflections, we can find a renewed sense of balance. As you begin, you may want to look at these questions every morning and every evening. That gives you an opportunity to set your intention, and then to check how you acted in accord with that intention. As you gain familiarity with the practice, this process will become very natural and automatic.