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I really loved hearing Amaragita’s welcome to the retreat. I also found it painful. I experienced envy and jealousy. A hunger to ‘intervene in [my] life as usual’ and ‘untangle [my] existential knots’. I resonated with her description of a sense of needing to stop; of everything shouting ‘stop’!
I have stopped a few times today. I woke early to meditate and check in to the retreat. Instead both my children woke early too. I lulled the littlest back off to sleep whilst feeling that sense of being torn- I didn’t want to be lying down next to my daughter in the dark. I wanted to be upstairs meditating. As Upayavira described its not helpful or necessary to see ‘our children are the distraction we want to move away from’.
Stop, Look and See What Arises
I lay next to my sleeping baby in the dark just watching her breathe and a strong still thought arose: “I am here”.
My Daughter Asleep (an excerpt)
Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
my daughter adrift
on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender
I carry her
her moon lit
like a tiny
a path that leads
where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm
what I read
walk with her
in moon light
on the landing,
with whom I walk,
to go on
where I can’t
with so many
that must know her
than I do.
And so to these
and this broad night
to hold her
when I cannot,
to comfort her
when I am gone,
to help her learn
to take it
for the way
to help her see
light will not help her,
where happiness has fled,
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Sometimes I forget that this is all so temporary.
Just before this retreat started my computer stopped working and I found this in Karunagita’s book.
On a much smaller level, I know in theory that my computer is not permanent, that it will go wrong and wear out. But you would be hard pressed to recognise that if you saw the extent of my indignation and disbelief when it doesn’t work properly.
Karunagita, A Path for Parents, p.72
There is a part of me that finds my own similar reaction hilarious.
This morning I had a sense of a moment in time; of my baby’s temporary nature… and then all the not-stopping starts again.
Raising children is full of precious opportunities to live close to the reality of impermanence and open ourselves to the possibility of insights that transform us, tiny bit by tiny bit, in our heights and our depths, and in the ways we respond to the world.
Karunagita, A Path for Parents, p.73
P.S. I did manage to meditate this morning. That sense of envy shifts to admiration to those who found a way of going away and stopping. I have on one level an understanding that my situation is always temporary, and that leaves me treasuring it. We ate dinner in the park watching the sun go down, stepping out of the usual. And… its easier to reflect on all this whilst they are asleep!
Read ‘A Path for Parents’ by Karunagita
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