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#3853 - Friday, April 2, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #3853 - Friday, April 2, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights ... The following was published in
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2010
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      #3853 - Friday, April 2, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz

      The Nonduality Highlights
      - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights

      The following was published in the Halifax Shambhala Banner Newsletter, April 2010:
      On applying mindfulness practices to the care and maintenance of toddlers 
      by Dustin LindenSmith 
      I’ve been a full-time, stay-at-home dad since 2004; first with our
      daughter who’s seven, and now with our two sons, 2 and 3 years 
      old. With both of our boys now firmly in the terrible twos, I’ve 
      found myself questioning if I’m destined to keep any shred of my 
      sanity by the time they reach school age. 
      Many toddlers require  nearly constant supervision. They’re quick
      to shun their basement  playroom full of safe toys, games, puzzles
      and train sets, choosing instead to empty the kitchen cupboards
      and drawers of the most breakable and delicate contents; to
      relieve the filing  cabinet of its most important papers; or to
      raid their sister’s doll house and toy chest of her most prized
      Child-proof drawer and cabinet locks no longer pose a challenge. 
      Even our upper cupboards are accessible now they’ve discovered 
      how to use the lower drawers as stairs to reach counter height. 
      Cooking raises distinct challenges; I’m constantly on the watch 
      to avoid potential cuts or burns arising from their sudden, 
      unexpected appearance at the cutting board or stovetop. As 
      beautiful and inquisitive as they can often be, they’re also 
      indefatigable and incorrigible; nearly all of our verbal 
      instructions to them are ignored as a matter of course. My wife 
      and I refer to them not infrequently as our pair of Tasmanian 
      It is exactly these qualities which remind me that rearing 
      children can be a most fruitful spiritual practice. I realize 
      that the greatest frustrations in my day-to-day life arise from 
      my children not acting according to my expectations. Even when my 
      expectations are reasonable -- say, not climbing directly onto 
      our gas-fired stovetop to investigate the contents of a boiling 
      pot -- these boys still manage to dash them just by acting upon 
      their utterly normal, curious impulses. When they erupt in a 
      screaming tantrum because I’ve yanked them away from the computer 
      keyboard which they’ve just decorated with a permanent marker, I 
      have come to understand that their angry outbursts are a natural 
      response to what they perceive as an unwanted and abrupt halt 
      called to their ordinary investigations of the world around them. 
      In their minds, I am the one with a problem -- not them. 
      Meditation and mindfulness practices help us to train our minds to
      accept our lives just as they are in this moment; even the stuff 
      that apparently drives us crazy. The wisdom of extremely young 
      children is that they always live inherently in the present 
      moment, never concerning themselves with what happened an hour 
      ago or what might happen an hour from now. Whenever I 
      successfully align my own expectations with that kind of time 
      frame, I find myself instantly living more harmoniously with my 
      I turn my attention regularly to my breath and on bringing my 
      awareness back into the moment. I can imagine what it must feel 
      like to be them: to be surrounded by giants who have complete 
      control over their every move; to be forcibly removed from the 
      only activities and places they haven’t yet fully explored; and 
      to have little or no language skills with which to express their 
      true desires at any given moment. When these glimpses of 
      realization occur, the compassion I feel for them stops me in my 
      tracks. It makes me squat down to their level to find out what 
      they really want at that moment. It makes me realize that I can 
      hold off on washing these dishes for a few minutes to play a 
      short game with them. It reminds me that I can even let them help 
      me measure out the ingredients for that night’s meal, accepting 
      that I’ll need to do more clean-up than usual after the fact. 
      In short, I need to suspend my own expectations for the way I 
      think things should be, replacing them with acceptance for the 
      way things are. It’s a profound spiritual teaching, and I didn’t 
      even need to go on retreat to learn it. I just happened to pick 
      it up in my own kitchen from my very own toddler gurus. 
      Dustin LindenSmith is originally a jazz tenor saxophonist by
      trade, but he also worked as a market research consultant and an
      IT project manager  throughout his 20s and early 30s. Born in
      Regina and raised in Calgary, he studied music at McGill
      University and settled happily in Halifax with his wife in 1996.
      He has been a student of yoga and Eastern meditation for 15 
      Dustin partnered with Jerry Katz to bring nonduality to "the
      people" prior to the advent of Nonduality Salon and the Nonduality
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