At my school, we have a Buddhist monk who acts as a spiritual mentor and advisor. He offered us a special reflection on birthdays that I find quite powerful.
In a nutshell, celebrating being born and surviving another year of life is great but it’s not a one-person job. Your birthday wouldn’t be possible without your parents. Your life as you know it wouldn’t be possible without them and many other people.
As we enjoy the well-wishes, cards, and gifts that commemorate our continuation, it seems like a good idea to reflect upon the bigger picture. Personally, I wrote my mother to thank her for everything she did and still does for me.
Meditation: Looking Deeply at Happiness
First, sit in a stable position with your spine upright. Lying down is also an option. Take a few deep breaths and be aware of how your belly rises and falls.
Once you feel calmer and more grounded, think of a birthday or celebration that you enjoyed. Consider all the factors that went into that celebration being possible – all the resources, the people, the time, the effort. Explore this bigger picture in detail. What you find may surprise you.
To finish, mentally thank everyone for their part in your happiness, regardless of your relationship to them. Those who challenge us can still contribute something to our happiness.