The Time of the Ancestors


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Lesson 9

Pitṛpakṣa Practice Day 8: Let Your Goodness Shine

We’re now on the eighth day of ancestor practice. You might notice your awareness naturally turning inwards more, becoming quieter. This is one of the great benefits of reflecting on the wheel of time and our roles within it.

And, you might be noticing your mind starting to ponder some mysterious questions – Are the ancient ones actual presences, or are they merely felt as presences? If everything arises as pure energy within consciousness, who and what are the ancestors exactly? How many are there? Are they just us in another form?

It’s beneficial to reflect on these mysteries because ultimately it brings us into a place of reverence and awe. Reflecting on death and those who have passed, we step into the unknown, where the mind naturally falls silent.

From the space of quiet wonder, something else remarkable happens: we taste our original purity, our childlike goodness, and the longing for truth that brought us into embodiment in the first place.

It’s impossible to both experience awe and judgmental negativity at the same time, or to experience our connection to the millions of beings who came before us and simultaneously feel hatred, pettiness, and envy. Our mind-bodies can generally run one or the other, but not both!

Ancestor practices call forth our natural virtue. When we make time to connect with the awe-inspiring greatness of the cycle of life, we naturally start to connect with our own awe-inspiring greatness.

One of the greatest offerings we can make to the ancestors is our own virtuous conduct. Virtuous behavior allows life to flow harmoniously amongst all beings, and as the guardians of life the ancestors are said to be very delighted when we behave virtuously.

Today’s suggested practice is to let your goodness shine:












These are some traditional virtues that are dear to the ancestors. When we conduct ourselves with integrity and love, the ancestors rush in to bless and protect us, rejoicing and thankful. Out of love for them, and for life itself, we embrace our goodness, our purity.

For today, let your mind step out of its usual judging and strategizing, and enter a space of awe. Feel your heart, feel the pure life force moving through your body.

Take a moment to really see your own goodness, and the goodness of all things. Let yourself recognize the truth that all things are sacred and precious, and worthy of respect and care.

As best as you can, try to hold this awareness throughout the day. If you find yourself becoming negative, selfish, or petty, bring your attention back to the sacred and return to the space of awe.

If you have a choice between taking the self-serving choice versus the more challenging and risky (but virtuous) choice, just for today, do the right thing. Let your inner compass lead. Be brave, be sincere, be good. You already are. 

At the end of the day, you can reflect on your actions throughout the day. If you feel inspired to do so, you can offer the merits of your actions to your ancestors out of gratitude for the gift of life. And, you can also request their continued guidance and support in helping you express and embody your inner goodness.

If you have any questions, or want to share your experience, you can do so by emailing us at

Teacher: Shivani Hawkins

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