Re: [Meditation Society of America] mothering as meditation
- 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..
> Mothering as Meditation Practice
> by Anne Cushman
> 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
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