Most nights, my wife and I unwind by watching the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In between the two, we usually have a bedtime snack! Last night, I was preparing an English muffin for my wife, and it hit me – we create the causes we imagine we create.
We say all the time that the power of our virtues depends entirely upon the intention with which we engage in them. For example, if I make the English muffin mindlessly, I create only very minor virtuous karma. If I make the English muffin imagining I am creating the causes for somebody to make an English muffin for me in the future, then this is the cause I create. If I make the English muffin imagining I am creating the causes to become a Buddha so that I can liberate all beings, then these are the caues I am creating. So the trick is to imagine you are creating such causes as you are engaging in your day to day virtues. See the connection between your current virtue and your final goal, and you will feel like by making the English muffin you are building the causes for your enlightenment. This makes it more real and practical and experiential, not some abstract theory of a higher intention.
We can do this with our every activity: bathing, eating, getting the kids ready for school, going places, doing our work, etc., etc., etc. We can also do this at the level of tantra, imagining we are creating our pure land.
Your turn: take something you do every day, and explain how you can engage in the same action imagining you are creating different, more pure, causes.