|Another little shot of the Zen garden in progress|
While we are often quick to cite our shortcomings and could easily whip off a long list of them in a blink, we don't often give much attention to our strengths or positive qualities. Have you ever been at a workshop where people are asked to name their positive qualities or strengths? Things get very uncomfortable and quiet.
To cite the bleeding obvious, as Basil from Fawlty Towers might say, I am not talking about ego here. But you knew that, even if you've never seen Fawlty Towers (poor you!). We are not puffing ourselves up here like peacocks, filling ourselves with false confidence, but contemplating the unique qualities and gifts we came here with. Because we are individuals, with our particular karma, we carry with us unique gifts. Lynette's comments reminded me that one of my qualities is indeed gentleness. I often see this as some sort of shortcoming and that would be judgmental fairy waving it's dark little wand. And I think each personality trait (can I call it that?) has it's flip side. Tenacity can also manifest as stubborness. Gentleness can morph into timidity.
But I think as part of our practice we need to develop an inner confidence, one that we develop based on clarity and intuitive knowing of our relative self. This is where our practice begins. Without loving and appreciating our little self, we can never hope to move outside of it and experience the dropping of boundaries and seeing the bigger picture of "no self". We need to appreciate and value this "little self" first. It can only be an aid to our practice because it takes courage to do this work, to travel this path, to know that we are fine just the way we are and we can do better.
Bill Plotkin, from the Environmental Buddhist site says, "Each of us is born with a treasure, an essence, a seed of quiescent potential, secreted for safekeeping in the center of our being. This treasure, personal quality, power, talent, or gift (or set of such qualities) is ours to develop, embody, and offer to our communities through acts of service -- our contribution to a more diverse, vital, and evolved world. Our personal destiny is to become that treasure through our actions..."
What are your gifts that you came here to explore and share?