The preliminaries are also known as the four reminders. The traditional four reminders are basic reminders of why one might make a continual effort to return to the present moment. In your daily life, try to:
1 Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life. Beginning to realize how precious life is becomes one of your most powerful tools. It’s like gratitude … once you have this feeling of gratitude for your own life and the preciousness of human birth, then it takes you into any realm.
2 Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone. Life is very brief. If you realize that you don’t have that many more years to live and if you live your life as if you actually had only a day left, then the sense of impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude.
3 Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; what comes around, goes around. The law of karma is that we sow the seeds and we reap the fruit. So when you find yourself in a dark place … you can think, “Maybe it’s time to get a little golden spade and dig myself out of this place.”
4 Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will suffer. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want does not result in happiness.
Real Wisdom for the Real World,
From THE COMPASSION BOX (c) 2003 by Pema Chadron and AWAKENING LOVING
KINDNESS (c) 1991, 1996 by Pema Chadron. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala
Publications, Inc., http://www.shambhala.com SKFR