We are now entering the final days of Pitṛpakṣa. It can be hard to keep up a regular practice for so many days. If you’re starting to feel tired, it’s alright to rest and be gentle with yourself, and with your practice.
If you’re feeling bored, however – that’s great! That means it’s time to go even deeper. Boredom often hits us just before a breakthrough, so that’s when you really can discover something new.
One principle we’ve touched on repeatedly in this course is that the ancestors are guardians of life, and that they are pleased when we also serve and protect life. For example, we’ve looked at ways that we can take care of children, the needy, the birds, and the dharma protectors.
For today’s practice, we’ll be offering our love and attention to the people who will become our ancestors next: our elders.
There are a number of ways to offer attention and service to elders in your family or community. You can:
-Visit with elders in your family, or in your community. And of course, there are many organizations that can put you in touch with elders.
-Help out with any tasks or errands they might need. Sometimes just being there and listening goes a long way.
-Pray and practice either with or for them. It is a traditional responsibility to help elders perform their spiritual practices (take them to temples, pilgrimages, study scriptures, etc) as it is the time when they are preparing for death and rebirth.
-Listen to their life story and receive their wisdom. Also, elders are a wonderful resource to hear stories and nuggets of wisdom about the ancestors.
Remember, there’s little point to practicing for our ancestors who have passed if we are unkind and careless with the ones who are still here. And, the best place to transform karma is here on earth, so take advantage of the time you have now to work through and uplift your family patterns!
If you have any questions, or want to share your experience, you can do so by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teacher: Shivani Hawkins