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Re: [Meditation Society of America] mothering as meditation

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  • 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 1 of 3 , Sep 15, 2004
      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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