For the next few weeks this blog will include teachings and tips from the book Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You, by Lama Willa Miller. Everyday Dharma is designed to be akin to a spiritual manual. We invite you to read along with us during the seven weeks. and you can catch up on previous weeks here. And be sure to comment below and let us know how it’s going.
“Actions begin with intention. The life you are living now is formed by intentions. Even before you do something simple, like picking up this book to read it, you first must have decided in your mind, I will pick up this book. Likewise, if you want to make any kind of positive change in your life, you have to start making an intention – a decision, a resolution, a plan. You have to decide, I want to make a positive change in my life, and here is how I am going to do it.
Therefore, one of the most important aspects of a spiritual journey is intention. At the beginning of a physical journey, you need a map. The same goes for the beginning of a spiritual journey: you need a life-map, a plan, a statement of where you are headed and why. A spiritual intention is such a statement. It expresses your purpose for living and acts as a mission statement for life.” – Lama Willa Miller from Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You
Week Two of Everyday Dharma, “Map Your Intention,” invites us to reflect upon our daily actions and what kinds of ripples those actions send out into the world. What are the mental, physical and emotional effects of what we do? What impact are we having on ourselves, and on others? How do our actions affect the world?
As you move forward in your spiritual journey, what relationships, causes and organizations do you want to put your energy toward?
You can listen Lama Willa’s guided meditation on Contemplating Karma for free on iTunes.
Chapter two also guides us through the process of setting a life-intention and composing a list of our aspirations. Lama Willa mentions that our intentions do not have to be original – we can get inspiration from others. One of our favorite inspirational prayers is this short stanza from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara, or the”Way of the Bodhisattva.” The Dalai Lama is said to recite this intention daily.
Prayer of the Bodhisattva
As long as space endures,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world.
What are your aspirations and what do you pray for? What is your life-intention? Is your intention style that of a king, a boatman, or a shepherd? Please feel free to share how you are doing with Week 2 in the comments below.
Lama Willa Miller is the founder of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire. She is on faculty with One Earth Sangha’s EcoSattva Training and is a member of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future.