I forgive myself.
I give myself permission to be happy.
I am thankful for the many blessings of my life.
I try to have compassion for all sentient beings including myself.
I accept a posture of humility in the enormity of existence.
I forgive myself—
Beginning with the lustful act in which I was conceived, the desperation of sperm and egg to unite, the burden of being carried and nurtured by my mother and the pain and pollution of my birth.
For the times I could have been kind and was not, could have been charitable or forgiving and was not, for squandering my time and energy on anger, resentment, and unreasonable hunger.
For the opportunities not noticed or taken.
I give myself permission to be happy—
I am not perfect. The world is not perfect. I am better and the world is better if I cultivate a happy state of mind rather than nurse feelings of anger and irritations at the imbalances and injustices that swirl around me.
I am thankful for the many blessings of my life—
For my existence, the existence of any sentient being is so random and improbable, that my first gratitude must be for the singular fact of being born at all. And born in an auspicious time in a place of relative peace and plenty.
For my health and intelligence.
For the countless people who nurtured and taught me—friends, teachers, chance encounters, the complexities of my natal family, my wife, children, and grandchildren from whom I learned so much about being human, and who brought out the best qualities in my self.
For potable water, hot water, and other comforts of home, varied and nutritious food.
For all the events, places, people and ideas I encountered that shaped and guided my way through life. And for the adversities that snapped the good things into sharper focus.
For music, art, and literature that gave me an emotional and ethical vocabulary and much joy of discovery.
And my dogs, the langurs, Melemchi village. Jet travel, the opportunity to make films, to teach, comfort. Health, wealth
I try to have compassion for all sentient beings including myself—
When Siddhartha left the cocoon of his palaces and saw peoples’ hunger, and pain, he had no reaction but sadness and no action to alleviate suffering—it the warp and woof of existence; witness is part of compassion. There is no meaning or goal to life—existence is essence after all. Every moment, every action is joy and sorrow.
I accept a posture of humility in the enormity of existence—
as host to microbes, 100 trillion representing 1000 species and expressing 60,000 genes in my colon alone.
as part of DNA’s ever elaborating forms of life,
as a body in which my sentience is only a small part
as a speck in human history, evolutionary history, and within the vastness of space/time.
Sorry I am no Yeats or Shakespeare, no George Jones or Bob Dylan, no Ginsberg or Mozart. Just another brick in the wall. It works best without words, just feeling my way through.