Healing is in giving, not in having. When one gives, one grows and evolves. Not giving charity, but giving or sharing oneself just out of joy. Celebrate in giving; do not give to celebrate. One needs to begin caring at first for the inanimate objects, objects of our daily use: a chair, an umbrella, a computer, a car; whatever the object, one can extend oneself by showing respect and an attitude of not taking it for granted.
Then one can begin to show the same respect and recognition to trees, plants, flowers, mountains and rivers. One needs to feel an internal connection with Nature and its manifold display of beauty and grandeur. As one grows, one can then show the same love towards animals. An even deeper sense of caring and warmth is needed in interacting with the animal world.
Having learned how to be sensitive towards inanimate objects, nature and animals, it will be possible to extend the feeling of respect and recognition, warmth and affection towards a next-door neighbour, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, or a Muslim. It is said that St Francis approached every animate and inanimate object with love and gratitude and thanked them for the many ways in which they had filled his life with beauty, joy and well-being. He even thanked his donkey, which had carried him many a mile. At the time of his death he wept and apologised for the times he had been impatient and unkind.
Friendship can lead to dependency; it could lead to enmity. Friendliness is more of an experience of relating rather than having a relationship. It is open-ended; it does not bind the other. Friendliness is not because individuals have common social, religious, or political identities.
Friendliness is possible only when all labels, all identities are effaced. It is a kind of spirit where I would neither consider myself a Christian or a Hindu, nor would I allow you to call me a Christian or a Hindu. To be friendly means to be available, to relate to contribute, or to touch someone’s heart. It is active compassion.
Cheerfulness : Mudita
Each moment is a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge because each moment is new and full of possibilities. A tense and agitated mind can easily lose sight of something and miss the opportunity and fail to act. When a moment is welcomed with a relaxed mind and a cheerful heart, it gives one an opportunity to transform the quality of living. The moment turns into a blessing.
Excerpted from the book, If It Could Happen To Buddha Why Not You?, by Vasant Joshi, Wisdom Tree 2010