Sacred Action Grounds Us
Becoming conscious about our conduct helps take our mind away from any obsessive thinking we might be doing about ourselves and our problems.
Traditionally, generosity and conduct are prescribed before any meditation instructions are given! There is real wisdom to this. The Buddha called precepts (guidelines around behavior) a gift! Sometimes we think limiting our behavior is a burden. But, this is all in service of relieving our suffering, not adding to it!
When practiced and contemplated, generosity and sacred conduct put the heart at ease. When we bring awareness to our motivations for acting, speaking, doing, giving, we can avoid doing things that cause dis-ease, remorse, or confusion. This allows the heart to stay settled. And a settled heart is required for being able to see the mind clearly.
It's hard to face the torrent of our minds and emotions if the heart is disturbed by unresolved actions and behaviors, or if the heart is clinging in selfishness and irritation. In a very real way, sacred conduct and generosity are another form of grounding. Keep the heart safe by bringing awareness to your actions.
If your mind and emotions feel overwhelming or unbearable, or if anxiety and restlessness just seem prominent in your sitting practice, sometimes it helps to turn toward generosity and thoughtfulness in action.
Let your attention be turned outward for part of the day, looking for a way to be generous. Even (or especially) in small ways. Or pull your attention inward and be determined not to let your actions (talking, doing, moving, going, creating) be driven by selfishness, justification, retaliation, clinging, irritation, boredom or confusion.
Let this focus away from your mind help to settle and soften the heart.