STEPS ON THE PATH is a twenty-one part series based on the twenty-one meditations of The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Je Tsongkhapa, a 14th century Tibetan Buddhist master. Je Tsongkhapa’s meditations were commentaries based on Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, a work the 11th century Indian Buddhist master Atisha wrote and presented when he was invited to reintroduce the Dharma to Tibet after a period of government suffocation. Both of these works are called Lamrim practice, and are said to compile all the teachings of the Buddha into one meditation practice. This STEPS ON THE PATH meditation series is an interpretation by Still Yourself to reflect an updated and modern understanding. They may be read and contemplated in any order you like.
—Meditation One —
My Priceless Human Life
THIS PRESENT MOMENT is the most important moment I have ever had. Everything that has been done is done. Anything that is coming ahead is not even here yet—and may never come. Here and now is the only time I have to make a difference in my own life, and in the lives of others.
Just imagine if I had been born a cat! How would I have had this opportunity I have here today to grow and learn and consciously choose my actions, my words, my thoughts? I may have had more than enough time to sit around and meditate, but where would it have gotten me? I would not have had this mind I am so lucky to have now—this mind that is able to think and reason and decide, able to help me shape myself into the sort of person I wish to be. If I had come as a cat, the whole of my existence would have been focused merely on my next meal, my next nap, the next time my head would be rubbed, and the next time my litter box was going to get scooped clean for me.
How amazing that I have a human body and a human mind! It is actually a miracle how all the conditions and combinations that were needed for me to be this person in this place at this time managed to come together. Though I see I am energetically no different from my cat, I somehow have the ability to read, to study, to contemplate, to grow, to strive to improve myself—and to encourage others toward their best as well! The example I display by merely being myself is influencing others in my life, whether positively or negatively.
What if this is the only chance I get for all these things? What if these are the last moments of clarity I have to make choices and decisions that will ease my own difficulties and the difficulties of others?
I choose to make the most of this priceless human life, right here, right now.