What I am thinking about today is "Gladdening The Heart" and Coco's work does gladden my heart. Don't you love that string of words, gladdening the heart? Today when I read the post over at Oxherding called "Just Say No", again the idea of gladdening the heart came to mind. I have heard it a number of times in the Dharma talks, at the Vipassana group where I sit and last week I listened to several recorded Dharma talks here and was reminded how important this principle is to me. The basic premise is that life can get grim if we don't sometimes take action to "gladden the heart" to uplift ourselves, to count our blessings, to see how full our glass really is, to remind ourselves of our strengths (in a non ego centred kind of way).
Now I have been told that gratitude and a glad heart will arise out of practice and sometimes even for curmudgeons like me this is true but I find I need a little help. Otherwise the way can become a bit heavy slogging for me (get out the gumboots). I need to see my defilements and where I wallow in the hindrances. I need to be aware of my personal neurosis (my Jewish mother used to say: "we all have our own mishigas", which means craziness). But I feel ever so much lighter when I do a little metta practice or gratitude practice. Even though I know this self is not solid and fixed I need to remind myself that this swiss-cheese like self has strengths that are valuable. This gladdening of the heart offers me the steadiness and courage I need to make wholesome choices, especially when the going gets tough. If I am feeling dour or down, my choices tend to be less helpful.
So I invite you to gladden your heart, to say something nice to yourself and those around you, to think something uplifting, even if it's only, gosh isn't it nice today, I don't have a toothache. How will you gladden your heart?