‘Making happiness central to spiritual life is only self-serving if we see ourselves as separate from others. But in fact, we are inextricably interconnected with those in our lives. When we practice to bring genuine happiness to ourselves, we naturally become someone others want to be around—we are fresh, relaxed, and available because of our inner contentment. In this way we become capable of bringing happiness to others.
The Buddha taught in the Mallikaa Sutta that it is correct to regard yourself as the most precious person in your life. I love how Toni Morrison says it in Beloved: “You your own best thing.” This doesn’t mean we are more important than others. Rather, seeking happiness for ourselves is creating happiness for others. And the reverse is also true—when we strengthen others’ happiness, this also benefits us. Is this self-serving? Only in the best sense of that word. Taking good care of ourselves, loving and bringing happiness to ourselves, is the foundation for being able to love, care for, and bring happiness to others.’ (from Lion’s Roar)
I met Kaira Jewel a few years ago at one of the Gen X conferences, just as she was adjusting to life in the outside world after fifteen years as a nun, and it is nice to see her bright spirit on the pages of Lion’s Roar.