Week of 7/22: Shraddha

This past week we explored the concept of Shraddha.

Shraddha refers to a belief, a value, that is so deeply a part of ourselves that we are barely aware of it’s existence. 

It’s worth examining this idea and becoming more aware of what inner values drive our actions, because they most certainly do make us act. While things may happen outside of our control, most often the situations in our lives that we find appealing or challenging are brought about very directly by actions we’ve taken. Those actions are spearheaded by our values and beliefs. If we are finding ourselves repetitively in situations that cause us stress and pain, it’s helpful to determine what actions we are taking that continue to bring us into those situations. And, it’s easier to change that pattern if we can also understand what values are the impetus for those actions. 

That’s the cool thing about Shraddha; it’s like like the apps on our phone. There are many, with different functions, that we use daily. Most of them can be deleted or changed to something that functions better for us. Of course, that might take a little work, but awareness is the first step.

We should also note that when we are successful in an area, it’s worth examining also. What actions do we perform easily, almost without thinking, that continue to bring us success in this job, or relationship, or task? What values spur those actions? After all, it’s human nature to focus on what’s not working in our lives. But, feeding and nurturing the good is a tactic that has value. We can spend all our time pulling weeds that we forget to water the good plants in our garden.

What exactly do we mean by values or beliefs? Some examples might be:

  • Relationships are a priority (family/children/friendship/significant other)

  • My talents are valuable

  • My talents don’t have much value

  • My time is valuable

  • I want to be generous with my time

  • The health of the planet is a top priority

  • My personal health is a top priority

  • Caring for others is more important than caring for myself

  • I need to excel financially to feel secure

  • I need time to myself in order to regenerate

  • I am not very capable

  • I need to operate from a place of truth

  • Truth is not very important

Some of these beliefs are obviously not healthy, and can never lead to a good action. Those might be the beliefs that we hide deep inside, yet they resurface in actions over and over again.

Perhaps this week, notice things that work well for you, and those that aren’t working so well. A nice contemplative mediation would be to pick one, think about the actions that created this situation, and ask what values or beliefs fueled these actions. 

Don’t worry about making changes; right now the practice is simply to allow your mind to open enough to be aware. If we feel we need to definitively act on what we observe, fear of change can cause us to keep our minds tightly closed. Instead, give yourself permission to simply observe. Once you know the truth, you have choices; to act or not to act. This is freedom.

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