Beginning, Continuing and Ending Each Day with Mindful Bodhichitta

"Don't stop at drinking coffee. Because Dharma practice is a 24/7 activity, we have countless opportunities to recollect bodhichitta motivation each day — if we are mindful of them. My teacher sometimes asks the class: 'What are the first things you think about when you wake up each day? Where is the focus of your attention?' If your mind is dominated by an overwhelming sense of all the things you have to do — perhaps activities you don't want to do and encounters you can't avoid — or memories about how you used to wake up to a better time and place, none of these thoughts serves any purpose except to make you unhappy. They don't improve your mood or performance. They certainly don't contribute to a state of relaxed, creative capability. And if they set the tone for the inner monologue that continues for the rest of the day, how unfortunate is that? Wouldn't it be better to wake up thinking, 'May each of my activities today be a direct cause for me to become enlightened for the benefit of all living beings?' If possible, also cultivate a sense of gratitude that your own life, in relative terms, is so privileged.

"Then as you shower, shave and shampoo you are presented with an opportunity to be mindful of purification and rejuvenation, accompanying this external process with an inner purification by thinking: 'By this act of purification, may I remove all my unhappiness — causing thoughts and habits, and create only positive ones, so that I can become enlightened for the benefit of all beings.'

"Approach bodhichitta with a creative, playful feeling. That way, through mindfulness every meal you eat and beverage you drink becomes a source of bodhichitta, as does every journey to work, every meeting you attend, each social encounter, and even every TV show you watch.

"Sitting with work colleagues in a meeting, or with friends relaxing, take a moment to visualise yourself as a buddha, radiating golden light to them all while reflecting: 'May I attain enlightenment not only for this circle of colleagues, but for all living beings without exception.'

"Similarly, last thing at night, recollect our bodhichitta motivation through mindfulness as you lie in bed. Reviewing your day's activities from a Dharma perspective may be useful, as long as this doesn't stop you falling asleep. You may recognize missed opportunities to practice patience, generosity or ethics, and resolve not to miss them again. You may take satisfaction in your positively motivated activities. Especially, cultivate the thought: 'By sleeping soundly tonight and waking re-energised tomorrow may I sustain my physical good health so that I can create further causes of enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.' "