Friday, January 27, 2006

Opening Up: The Levels of Bodhichitta

I can tell that I'm making progress in opening up to others. At the same time, I can tell there's still progress to be made.

A case study. My daughter mopes around the house, looking bored. I have three ways I can react to this: (1) Wait for her to ask to do something with me - and then refuse, because, you know, I have so many better things to do than play with my kids; (2) Wait for her to ask to do something with me and agree to do it, with varying levels of enthusiasm; (3) Proactively suggest that she and I do something together.

Each of these three options have varying levels of commitment attached to them. I can choose (3), but do it with such a lack of genuine enthusiasm that it's obvious I'm forcing myself into it. Similarly, I can do (1), but with a sincere regret about my own shortcomings and a strong desire to break into (2).

I've been stuck at (1) for years. Thanks to my practice, I've moved into the "middling level" of (2): I consent, but I'm still working past a lack of enthusiasm, and a belief that "my" time is being "stolen" by my other worldly responsibilities. When a similar opportunity arises in the future - which, with all the kids running around this house, could be within the next hour - I vow to shoot for (3).

Which is not to say I'll always choose (3). This issue is conscious in my mind at the moment; if it takes a day or two for this next opportunity to arise, I might forget everything I've taught myself in this post. Or the opportunity might arise in a slightly different form, and I won't recognize it.

Step by step, BC. Step. By. Step.

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