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Re: mothering as meditation

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  • Sandeep
    Beautiful Nina, Thank you for posting this. The real meditation is the meditative space, in which all that entails day to day living, gets done. Moment to
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 15 7:22 AM
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      Beautiful Nina,

      Thank you for posting this.

      The real meditation is the meditative space, in which all that
      entails day to day living, gets done.

      Moment to moment to moment.







      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Nina"
      <murrkis@y...> wrote:
      > From another of my lists, here is an excerpt from an article
      > in Tricycle (www.tricycle.com). Unfortunately, I haven't been
      > able to find the link. Enjoy..
      >
      > Nina
      >
      > ...
      >
      > Mothering as Meditation Practice
      > by Anne Cushman
      > (excerpt)


      Courtesy snip, to save band-width.

      <SNIP>
    • Jason Fishman
      Wow, what a beautiful story. Sparks such a vivid reality for me! My son was the same way too. Although it s not the mother son relationship spoke of here. I
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 15 7:46 AM
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        Wow, what a beautiful story. Sparks such a vivid reality for me!

        My son was the same way too. Although it's not the mother son
        relationship spoke of here. I remember doing alot that stuff while
        trying to work full time out of the house. Often comming home after
        hours spent at install sites, just to be handed a child that couldn't
        be left alone for more then 3 or 4 minutes without screaming till he
        was blue in the face and even then he'd keep at it.
        Lots of hours of dilusional meditation in the wee-wee hours of the
        night with a sleeping child on my chest. The more tense I was, the
        more clenched up and upset he was. An unspeakable unity for me.

        Great stuff Nina thanks for finding and sharing this one!

        Peace and Love

        --- Nina <murrkis@...> wrote:

        > From another of my lists, here is an excerpt from an article
        > in Tricycle (www.tricycle.com). Unfortunately, I haven't been
        > able to find the link. Enjoy..
        >
        > Nina
        >
        > ...
        >
        > Mothering as Meditation Practice
        > by Anne Cushman
        > (excerpt)
        >
        >
        >
        > For the first few weeks of my son Skye�s life,
        > he would only sleep if he could hear my heartbeat.
        > From midnight to dawn he lay on my chest, his
        > head tucked into the hollow of my throat, awakening
        > every two hours to nurse. In the day, he�d nap in
        > my arms as I rocked, a slideshow of emotions�joy,
        > exasperation, amusement, angst, astonishment�flickering
        > across his dreaming face, as if he were rehearsing every
        > expression he would need for the rest of his life.
        >
        > If I dared to set him in his bassinet, he�d wake up
        > with a roar of outrage, red-faced and flailing. He
        > cried if I tried to put him in a baby sling, frontpack,
        > stroller, or car seat. He cried whenever I changed his
        > diaper. And every evening from seven to nine, he cried for
        > no apparent reason at all.
        >
        > When Skye was two weeks old, I ate black bean tacos
        > for dinner and he screamed until sunrise, his body
        > stiff and his fists clenched. While I sobbed along
        > with him, my husband actually called the emergency room,
        > where the nurse on duty told us, kindly, that it
        > sounded like gas. The next morning, a nutritionist
        > friend assured me that everything would be fine so
        > long as I stopped eating dairy, wheat, yeast, soy,
        > corn, legumes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, sugar,
        > peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruit (and considered
        > dropping fish, mushrooms, and eggs). As Skye finally
        > fell asleep in the crook of my right arm, I collapsed
        > on the sofa in my bathrobe, eating cold brown rice
        > with my left hand and spilling it in his hair.
        >
        > It was about that time that I decided that what I
        > had embarked on was an intensive meditation retreat.
        > It had all the elements, I told myself: the long
        > hours of silent sitting; the walking back and forth,
        > going nowhere; the grueling schedule and sleep
        > deprivation; the hypnotic, enigmatic chants
        > ("and if that looking glass gets broke/Mama�s gonna
        > buy you a billy goat..."); the slowly dawning
        > realization that there is nothing to look forward
        > to but more of the same. And at the center of
        > it, of course, was the crazy wisdom teacher in
        > diapers, who assigned more demanding practices
        > than I had encountered in all my travels in
        > India like "Tonight you will circumambulate
        > the living room for two hours with the master
        > in your arms, doing a deep-knee bend at every
        > other step, and chanting, Dooty-dooty-doot-doot-doo,
        > dooty-dooty-doot-doot-doo.�" Or "At midnight you will
        > carry the sleeping master with you to the bathroom
        > and answer this koan: How do you lower your pajama
        > bottoms without using your hands?"
        >
        > Like all great spiritual practices, these were
        > exquisitely designed to rattle the cage of my ego.
        > They smashed through my concepts about how things
        > should be (rocking in the garden swing by the lavender
        > bush, watching the hummingbirds, while my newborn
        > slept in a bassinet by my feet) and pried open my
        > heart to the way things actually were (standing
        > by the diaper table, flexing one tiny knee after
        > another into Skye�s colicky tummy, and cheering when
        > a mustard-yellow fountain erupted from his behind).
        > And with every breath of my "baby sesshin," I was
        > offered the opportunity to cradle my child in my
        > arms like the baby Buddha and be present for a
        > mystery unfolding. . . .
        >
        > As a new mother, I�ve found myself wondering:
        > How are other women negotiating the dance between
        > practice and parenting? How does their practice
        > affect their mothering? How does being a mother
        > affect their practice? Are mothers changing the
        > forms of Buddhism in America?
        >
        > And the most compelling question of all for me
        > can mothering really be a path of practice every
        > bit as valid as the monastic path? Can suctioning
        > the snot from a sick baby�s nose have the simplicity
        > and purity of a nun�s prostrations? Can wiping out a
        > diaper pail lead to "the awakening of the Buddha
        > and the ancestors?"
        >
        > On one level, this question seems absurd. Nothing
        > could be further from the regimented march of a
        > formal retreat than the disheveled dance of motherhood.
        > The books on my bedside table used to be about pursuing
        > Awakening in the Himalayas. Now they�re about preventing
        > awakening in the middle of the night. There�s a diaper
        > changing table where my altar used to be; my zafus and
        > zabutons have been requisitioned to cushion Skye�s play
        > area. Forget about chewing a single raisin for five
        > minutes and admonitions to "when you eat, just eat"
        > I�m on the phone with Skye on my hip, ordering
        > baby-proof plates for the electrical outlets as I
        > eat cold veggie potstickers with my fingers straight
        > from the cardboard box and rub fresh spit-up into
        > the floor with one socked foot. It�s hard to find the
        > moment even to tell myself that this is a spiritual path
        > I�m too busy looking for Skye�s other mitten. . . .
        >
        > I feel plugged into the world now, in a way that
        > I never have been before. As I feed my child out of
        > my own body, I see how I am fed by the body of the earth.
        > I�m crocheted to a chain of mothers before me, and a
        > chain of unborn children who will inherit a world that
        > I can�t even imagine. I want Skye�s grandchildren to be
        > able to swim in the Pacific, and hike the granite ridges
        > of the Sierra, and gasp at the blue herons
        > standing on one leg in Bolinas Lagoon.
        >
        > Is this "attachment"? Or connectedness?
        >
        > I don�t mean to be grandiose. I know these insights
        > aren�t the pristine diamond of samadhi. They�re a sloppier,
        > stickier kind of realization, covered in drool and Cheerio
        > crumbs. But maybe this is the gift of mothering as practice
        > a kind of inclusiveness that embraces chaos and grit and
        > imperfection. It�s not based on control or keeping things tidy.
        >
        > It makes room in its heart for a plastic dump truck
        > in the middle of the living room floor, and rap music
        > leaking under a bedroom door at midnight. It doesn�t
        > slip away in the middle of the night to search for
        > enlightenment. It stays home with Rahula the Fetter,
        > and finds it there.
        >
        > As mothers, what can we make of that story of the
        > Buddha leaving his family in the middle of the night?
        >
        > I asked Fu Schroeder. "Oh, but he wasn�t the Buddha
        > when he left his child. He was a young prince, in
        > terrible pain," she answered.
        >
        > "If you�re awake, you don�t leave your child.
        > Where would you go?"
        >
        >
        >
        > For the full text of this article, please see the fall 2001 issue
        > of
        > Tricycle.
        >
        >
        >




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