It took me a month to write this blog post. I procrastinated so long that even thinking about writing left me with nothing but an overwhelming amount of guilt. I knew that any excuse I gave myself was really just my laziness. 

Then I watched “The Lion’s Roar,” a documentary about His Holiness the 16th Karmapa’s life, visits to the West, and his parinirvana. Part of the documentary shared Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s exhaustion from working so much in preparation for the Karmapa’s first visit to America, in 1974. Rinpoche talked — and demonstrated — how working for His Holiness was an act of devotion, and devotion isn’t always easy. It is hard work. It is giving up free time. But, his act of devotion was for the benefit of all beings. Working hard to bring His Holiness to America brought benefit to many students who met and were blessed by him, and who witnessed the Black Crown ceremony — a priceless connection to Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha.  

Did you catch that I watched a documentary instead of writing the Nalandabodhi blog post? Oh good. Just wanted to be sure you didn’t miss that.

Well, in the end, it was for good reason. The explanation and action of Rinpoche’s devotion completely changed my whole view of volunteering, including writing this blog post. Devotion and love are interchangeable, really. They both require generosity, kindness, and compassion.  Sometimes acts like these can be difficult, but instead of viewing them as tasks to do, I now see them as opportunities to give to others. A great example of this is the devotion and love for a newborn child. I remember the sheer exhaustion of nursing our children at night: waking every couple of hours, yet happy to hear their cry and being able to soothe them; how much my body would want to sleep, yet the love I felt for this tiny being was enough to keep my eyes open. 

I notice that when I can connect to that level of commitment, love grows. The heart opens with the willingness to help others. Therefore, it’s kind of embarrassing to share that I procrastinated so long and why. However, I hope this small blog post will help someone — who may have the same struggles with procrastination as I do — find that if they change their view and come from a place of love, how much more effortless the tasks seem to become. 

Creating space for volunteering
From now on, when it gets close to time to write my contribution for the Nalandabodhi blog, or any volunteer activity, I will remember the wonderful feeling of love that grows with giving time, support, and comfort to others. Love and hugs to you! 

Rachel Pradhan
Rachel Pradhan

Rachel Pradhan has been a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 1997, working on becoming a more open-hearted and open-minded being. Her career is in marketing, while her at-home life revolves around meditation and family, gardening, hiking, reading, and cooking. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their two sons.

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