The third of the Four Nutriments is Volition, the deep aspiration or intention that guides our thinking, speaking and acting. Our intention is very important in regard to living a happy and meaningful life, but also in infusing our actions with transformational vitality.
This is a sharing by Sangha friend, Order of Interbeing member, Nomi Green in Santa Fe New Mexico:
In October Thay (our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh) spoke at Deer Park of volition as part of the Sutra on the Four Nutriments. He said that our volition is our heart’s desire. I was very happy when I heard him speak as for some time I have felt a volition strengthening within. My heart desires to mitigate climate change in any small way that I can.
I can actually feel my heart leaning into, being pulled toward, and beating faster when I contemplate how to make life easier for our planet. Our precious jewel of the cosmos as Thay called Earth, is currently heading for a future of change. I have asked myself what can I do to help the many people, animals, plants and minerals that are feeling, or will in the future feel, the effects of climate disruption. I am not a climate scientist or a politician or the executive director of a climate non-profit. I asked myself what is the best contribution I can make with the skills I already have?
While contemplating this question last summer I was presented with the opportunity to be trained as a nonviolence civil disobedience trainer. I took the training and now have trained 2 groups of people to act nonviolently toward climate change issues.
I know that for me to take this kind of action I must be mindful of keeping my practice alive and present. My practice helps me maintain the balance of action and quiet within. If I lose sight of my practice I may fall into either the abyss of hopelessness of the overwhelming nature of the task, or the misperception of stridency, which will surely swallow all of my peace. With my practice by my side I might maintain balance.
I am aware that my efforts might not have a very large effect on the massiveness of this situation. However my goal is to take whatever step is in front of me that my hearts desire tells me is the right action for me to take. All I can do is take that next step without knowing whether it will have any effect on climate change or not. If I don’t take that step I risk falling into despair, while taking whatever small action I can helps me to live more peacefully with the reality of our world.
Reflect on what is inspiring you, looking into yourself, looking into the qualities and values you have inherited, looking at the wonder of our planet and the challenging state of the world, reflecting on future generations, can all generate a great source of Bodhicitta (the mind of love/awakening).
A talk on Sense impressions will be posted on the Deer Park Dharma Cast in the coming weeks, we’ll let you know when it is available.