January Practice: Seeing the Secret Goodness
This spiritual practice comes from Jack Kornfield in The Wise Heart.
Wait for a day when you awaken in a fine mood, when your heart is open to the world. If such days are rare, choose the best you have. Before you start for work, set the clear intention that during the morning you will look for the inner nobility of three people. Carry that intention in your heart as you speak or work with them. Notice how this perception affects your interaction with them, how it affects your own heart, how it affects your work. Then choose five more days of your best moods, and do this practice on each of those days.
After looking at three people a day in this way five times, set the clear intention to practice seeing the secret goodness for a whole day with as many people as you can. Of course, you will find certain people difficult. Save them for later, and practice first with those whose nobility and beauty is seen most easily. When you have done the best you can for a day, choose one day a week to continue this practice for a month or two.
Finally, as you become more naturally able to see the secret goodness, expand your practice. Add more days. Try practicing on days that are more stressful. Gradually include strangers and difficult people, until your heart learns to silently acknowledge and bless all whom you meet. Aim to see as many beings as you can with a silent, loving respect. Go through the day as if you were the Dalai Lama undercover. *We love this sentiment and invite you to expand it to a compassionate person you admire, a deity, or energy you look to for inspiration.*
In partnership with our friends at Spirituality & Practice, we are sharing practices to help us all “practice democracy” from the inside out. Visit Spirituality & Practice's The Practicing Democracy Project for more practices and a wide array of resources.
Spirituality & Practice (S&P) is a multi-faith website devoted to resources for spiritual journeys. While respecting differences among traditions, S&P celebrates what they share in common.