On my way to Honolulu, sitting in the plane, I start thinking about the powerful photographs of hospice patients, we were shown yesterday. Image of myself caring for one of them. Quickly followed by thought of me as good person, doing good deeds. Awareness gets called upon, to examine what may be questionable intention. Up close, I can see desire to be good, to be perceived as a good person, is all about my need to be loved, and respected. Yet another craving, to be rendered harmless, through the power of attention.
I wonder, what other intentions lurk, behind my wish to do hospice work? First, is the desire to serve, and to carry out my Buddhist practice into the world. Being mindful is wonderful, but what good is it, if it does not translate into action? Second, is the conviction that serving the dying, can be a great gift to me. I can't think of a better way to be reminded, in no uncertain terms, of impermanence. Third, is my desire to be challenged, and not shy away from difficulties. Only, then, can I live out my passionate self.
Discernment. I was first introduced to the task, by Sister Irene Dugan, a wise old nun from the Cenacle order. To be clear about one's intentions can save one so much trouble. I know so, from the many occasions when I rushed to action, without the benefit of prior discernment. This time, I feel clear, and hence more free to pursue the good work I plan to do.