The Four Mind Changers of Buddhism – Part I

In Part one of a two-part blog series, Tammy Lorraine explores “this precious human experience,” the first of the Four Mind Changers of Buddhism. She offers a suggested meditation to serve as a gateway to a mindful practice of “daily reflections” intended to shift our focus away from the relative world of sense consciousness towards the inner enlightenment of spiritual consciousness.

In his book, Awakening the Buddha Within, Lama Surya Das writes about four fundamental daily reflections in Buddhism, known as the Four Mind Changers. These daily reflections are intended to train the mind, to shift away from a focus on the relative world of sense consciousness to a focus on the inner enlightenment of spiritual consciousness.

Buddhists refer to the “relative world of sense consciousness” as Samsara, which defines the cycle of death and rebirth within which the material world is bound. To me, Samsara is the ego’s view of the world, shaped by perceptions and limiting beliefs. The intention of the daily reflections is to move us away from our limited, worldly perceptions towards the vision of the Inner Christ, which sees only perfection, wholeness and absolute goodness. I believe these daily reflections are in beautiful alignment with Unity’s Teachings and can yield positive transformative benefits for everyone, whether Buddhist or not.

This Precious Human Experience

The first of the Four Mind Changers encourages us to mindfully contemplate the simple wonder of being alive in this Precious Human Experience. The Buddhist who mindfully practices the Four Mind Changers begins by developing a deep appreciation for what a rare and precious experience it is to be born a human. It is a tremendous gift to even have the opportunity to come into being in these human bodies, to bring consciousness to this experience of life as a human.

Your life and my life are unique, individualized expressions of God’s love. We are beyond rare. Each one of us is literally one of a kind. When we connect in consciousness with the miracle of our own existence, we can begin to ask deeper, more mindful questions about our own being.

“Am I caring for this life in a way that honors this precious human experience and makes the best use of it?”

We are able to ask this and other questions without judgment, holding the questions neutrally in consciousness and allowing them to transform our consciousness and therefore our experience.

It was this daily reflection that led to the meditation I gave on Sunday, February 12, the content of which is provided below. You can also watch the meditation here.

Meditation On This Precious Human Experience

As we gently close our outer eyes and focus on our breath, we take this moment to relax and arrive – here and now – present to this Holy Instant. Breathing in and out. Gently and easily. With each breath, relaxing deeper into this now moment.

In this moment, we release the common impulse to judge and rest our attention on this sweet and precious experience called life.  

I invite you to imagine living your life tethered and anchored to a daily devotional reflection on this Precious Human Experience. Centering, moment-by-moment, in the awe and wonder of being alive. Centering moment-by-moment on the precious gift of your life and the lives of your loved ones. Mindfully focused on the precious gift of life itself.

Imagine holding the hand of a dear friend and conveying, with or without words, how truly meaningful they are to you.

Imagine silencing your phone, silencing your mind, and resting in your heart – present to the Presence expressing as your family, partner, spouse or child.

Imagine savoring your cup of coffee or tea and allowing the last bite of chocolate to linger on your lips. Taking time to breathe in the morning air, deeply present to the richness of life.

Imagine forgiving, without exception, seventy times seven if necessary.

Connected to the preciousness of life, you release all judgments, resting in the spiritual assurance that you are whole, loved beyond measure, truly and deeply magnificent.

As you breathe and reflect on your precious life, speak the following affirmations out loud to yourself before entering a period of silent contemplation…

Today, as much as possible, I will be present with and as life.

Today, as much as possible, I will speak with kindness and be of service and benefit to others.

Today, as much as possible, I will choose words, thoughts and actions which affirm life and this precious human experience.  

Allow yourself to rest in these ideas for a brief period in the silence.

More to Come

In Part II of this blog, I will explore the other three Mind Changers. It will be published in a couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for it. In the meantime, I invite you to take some time each day to mindfully contemplate and meditate on this “precious human experience” knowing that it is the gateway to cultivating a practice of daily reflections focusing on appreciation for your life. You are precious, indeed.