Off-Leash Writing

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Posts tagged Buddhism
Death Crashes In

I was celebrating my son’s birthday on Mackinac Island when Death crashed in.

Death was not invited. The clear blue sky with its scudding clouds, the bright yet tender sun, the gentle breeze, the crunchy tang of deep-fried pickles, the waves, the rocks, the lighthouse, the bikes: all of these were on the guest list, but Death was not. Nevertheless, Death showed up.

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The Hardest Thing

As a parent, the hardest thing I do is witness my children’s suffering.



Four months ago the Buddhist monk Ajahn Amaro—an elvish man with protruding ears, a wicked grin, and a British accent—came to speak in Ann Arbor. He spoke of three principles, espoused by an ancient sage:

 

1.     Don’t push; just use the weight of your own body.

2.     Don’t diagnose; just pay attention.

3.     Don’t try to help, but don’t turn away.

 

Since then, I think of these principles regularly with respect to parenting.

 

As I said, I find my children’s suffering excruciating. So if they’re crying wildly, claiming people don’t like them, or they don’t like themselves, or they don’t like their lives, all I want to do is fix it, as quickly as possible. I want their suffering to stop, and I want the expression of it to stop. Because I can’t stand it.

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