In Zen Buddhism we practice letting go of the ego whenever possible. We practice concentrating our thoughts and actions to stem from kindness, compassion and empathy. We practice offering dana (charity) in the form of our time or money and we practice giving without expecting anything in return. This is all part of practicing the Middle Path; the Buddha Way. But it’s still nice to be appreciated.
I really don’t ask for a lot in return. I’m a pretty humble person overall and don’t really enjoy tooting my own horn. Still once in a while, I would like to know that my actions are recognized as helpful or contributing to the greater good. A pat on the back goes a long way. I think we can all agree that a big fat raise speaks volumes. Flowers are also nice; purple ones. Oh and I LOVE dark chocolate.
Honestly, those things do feel great to receive, but what’s most important to me (and my ego) is feeling validated for making a difference “out there”. A simple yet genuine thank you for my efforts sticks with me for days, sometimes weeks! I’m embarrassed to admit I often look outside myself for confirmation. Sure, I’d love to say I’ve reached the point of enlightenment where I don’t feel I need any recognition at all. But frankly speaking, I’m just not there yet. I’m still waiting to be the next skinny celebrity. PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT SKINNY, NOR AM I A CELEBRITY (YET).
So now what you ask? Well, I’ve decided to keep actively practicing my daily to-do of giving without expecting anything in return because it’s honestly going very well. But I’m also going to embrace all the lapsed moments of validity-craving self indulgences by joining the Appreciation Society. Hell, if you can’t beat ’em…
And if anyone out there knows a great personal trainer or the producers of Oprah and FitTV, I’m ready to make my appearance as America’s Top Zenful Blogger. 🙂
-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger