Tuning Into Your Conscience

Ajahn Yatiko • April 2013

There’s a certain danger that may arise when we listen to these reflections every day. For those of us who are community residents—who are here all the time and have listened to these reflections every day for years—the danger is that we might develop an attitude whereby we think, The senior monk is just doing his thing, giving a reflection, and it doesn’t really affect me. I don’t need to pay attention or internalize any of it. Here’s my chance to zone out and think about something else.

If that is our experience then it’s a real loss, because the purpose of these reflections is to help create the conditions for all of us to practice and positively influence the atmosphere of the monastery in some way. Some reflections may include information or a practical reminder, but the essential purpose, motivation, and intention is to provide a form of communication and energy that’s going to uplift, encourage, and support the community.

As an encouragement today, I’d like each of us to tune into our own situations. On some level we’re the ones who know what needs to be said and what we need to hear. Spend a couple of minutes in silence tuning into your conscience and asking yourself, What is it that I need to hear? What is a good thing for me to hear? What kind of reflection is really appropriate to my situation now? The purpose is not to make us comfortable and happy. Rather, it’s to foster an understanding from which we can say to ourselves, Truly, this is what I need. This is what’s going to be good for me and my practice. So spend a few minutes imagining what that reflection might be. This requires sensitivity—a tuning into the conscience. Please, take a few minutes for that.