If you are charitable to others but not to yourself, then your charity is incomplete.

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Be Charitable

Buddhist teachings encourage us to be charitable not just to others but also to ourselves. That is our bodies, minds, and spirits. We can show our body charity by ensuring we eat well and get enough rest. Kindness to the body includes hygiene, proper clothing, and shelter as basic necessities as well as massage or other forms of body maintenance such as yoga. Our minds need care with adequate sleep, time for meditation and spiritual reading, and a nutritious diet that provides sufficient energy for body and mind. We can be charitable to our spirits by ensuring we live in a spirit-friendly environment: one that is not hostile, critical, or spiritually empty and devoid of meaning and purpose.

Do Not Neglect Your Body

We can use the body as an example of how we sometimes do things for others but neglect ourselves. While we may feed friends dinner out at restaurants, we may not eat well ourselves at home. We would do well to remember that our body is an instrument for the mind and spirit, so instead of using it as a machine for others’ enjoyment, we should treat it as a gift from our parents and the universe.

Kindness to the body includes a healthy body image and body language—for example, smiling instead of frowning will work wonders for body confidence.

Treat Your Body With Care And Love

When we don’t feed or exercise or cleanse or care for our bodies, we run the risk of illness, injury, chronic pain, fatigue, and weakness—all of which can affect us physically and mentally. If we ignore these symptoms or simply dismiss them as a normal part of life or the aging process then perhaps we are not acting charitably toward ourselves. If you don’t want to get sick from eating junk food, then you’d better be kind to your body. If you don’t want to suffer from a lack of sleep, take care of yourself and go to bed early.

Look After Your Body And It Will Look After You

If we make a sincere effort to be body-charitable, our body will serve us well—and in turn, we can make the body charitable to others by taking them out to eat, massaging their feet, or giving them a shoulder rub. We can be body-charitable by exercising—making sure we do something that works our body (not just an activity that uses the body like reading). Just like a spiritual practice, exercise is not meant to punish but rather to create and maintain, so we can again use body charitable means to do for others.

Take Care Of Your Mind

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Our minds need rest too. Relaxation is not just for the body. By getting enough sleep our mind can feel rested and make better decisions. Mind charitable means for us would be ensuring we have a quiet, peaceful environment at work or home, free from distractions.

Treat Your Mind With Respect

We can treat our mind like an inner environment that needs to be peaceful, calm, and yet active. Mind charitable activities include meditation (and mindfulness), yoga (and other body-mind practices like tai chi), reading spiritually inspiring books, journaling about the spiritual journey, and taking good care of our body so we have energy for mind work.

Cultivate A Life With Spiritual Principles.

I would recommend cultivating a life based on principles. Doing so will help you live with greater meaning and fulfillment, which in turn leads to happiness. Your spirit and connection with others, your environment, and the universe is probably different from mine. That’s ok. We all have to find our path. I followed the signposts and suggestions given to me by others. I have to walk it. They won’t do it for me.

A meaningful life is not one dictated by work, family, or other people’s expectations. It is a life that inspires you every day to wake up with anticipation of what lies ahead. You should wake up happy to be there and grateful for your body, mind, and spirit. This gratitude should translate into body-mind-spirit charitable actions.

I discovered that I have to build my framework before I can help others to build theirs. I have to look after myself physically, mentally, and spiritually so that I can encourage others to be the best that they can be.

And Finally…

The Buddhist teaching encourages us to be charitable not just towards others but also our own bodies. When we don’t feed or exercise, it can lead to a lack of self-care which may affect you physically and mentally as well as make getting sick much easier for other people.

Generosity is a virtue that has been extolled by many spiritual traditions, including Buddhism. The Buddhist teaching encourages us to be charitable not just to others but also to our body, mind, and spirit. When we don’t feed or exercise or cleanse or care for ourselves, we run the risk of mental, physical, and spiritual decline.

It is important to note that charitable actions need not be all or nothing; small efforts can go a long way in helping our body, mind, and spirit stay alert, active, happy, and alive!

Do something to look after yourself today. You’ll feel better for it!

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. cheriewhite says:

    Awesome tips, Matt! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Cherie and thanks for visiting!

      Your blog has given me food for thought in recent days and for that, I am grateful 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. cheriewhite says:

        It’s my pleasure, Matt. 🙂

        Like

  2. johnlmalone says:

    I think you’ve nailed it, Matt 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John! It’s amazing what can happen when inspiration is motivated by action.

      Every day is a learning day and as I write more articles I can feel the thoughts turning into words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. johnlmalone says:

        keep it coming, Matt !

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so lovely and true. Thank you! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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