“May I not become tired and weary while accomplishing the benefit of others.” I find this phrase from our dedication prayers to be a most profound aspiration. I make this aspiration every day, actually every moment, as I respond to calls for love—according to my capability. It is a statement of humility. It does not deny the challenges of living a life of service but encourages us to dip deeper into the well of compassion that is available even if we are feeling a bit worn out.
I drew deeply from this well while caring for parents with dementia until they passed away. I found myself reaching deeper when I was laid out in an emergency room and later on the surgeon’s table, attempting to calm the fears of my concerned wife. I draw on those waters as I muddle through my stewardship of the Dharma Center. And I drink from this life-giving nectar as I experience the waning of my youthful energy and face the aging process of my final years. All along, I do not deny the weariness I sometimes feel.
I find it helpful to feel the presence of Padmasambhava who embraces the khatavanga, a kind of staff, representing skillful means. He cradles this staff in his left arm, symbolizing the intimate recognition of all desires, challenges, and misperceptions that seem to plague us. Without clinging or pushing them away, we transform those afflictions into wisdom and express them through compassionate activity. This is the way of our natural awareness. So when weariness dawns, we embrace it with great kindness and understanding.
If we follow the way of compassion according to our capability, we may discover we are more capable than we thought. There is never a time life offers us a challenge we cannot deal with. The Dharma is very practical in this regard. It gives us strength to care for everyone which, of course, includes ourselves. We just have to get over our habitual reactions and drink from the never exhausted well of love.
“By the great waves of benefitting others without bias, may everyone attain Buddhahood together.”