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Monday, October 15, 2012

Meditation and Motherhood

Pip and Mom, a Mountain Top Meditation.
Reatreat with Ajhan Sona of Birken forest Monastery, BC.

Ajahn Sona, Abbot--Birken Forest Monastery
I spent Friday evening and Saturday morning at a Buddhist meditation retreat in Kelowna. The Abbot of Birken Forest Monastery, Ajan Sona, was the monastic leading the retreat.

 I found Ajahn Sona's wisdom on dealing with human emotions to be the most interesting. His simple, straight forward advice for living with the basic ups and downs of daily emotions and interactions was helpful. I would have liked to listen to him speak much longer about this.

The thing about monastics is that although they are often deep on the path towards enlightenment, they are human. So, when they respond the audience's questions with (seemingly) weak answers to Buddhist questions or tell stories that reveal the monk to be insecure about their own social status, it takes me a little by surprise. However, I like to take from each monastic, the best of what they have to offer. Monastics are human with human failings just like the rest of us lay peoples. But each and every monastic has substantial wisdom in  at least one area--and this is the area I really pay attention to. Although, I admit, when I recognize personal insecurity in a monk, it makes me take stalk of my own insecurities. If I were ever to become ordained, I too would carry some personal baggage with me.
I use this same philosophy when I study The Buddha's teachings: He was human, if some of his teachings seem limited, I acknowledge his humanness and the culture/society in which he was living in.

Saturday morning's retreat was sitting and walking meditation with a break for lunch. I had planned on staying for the entire day of meditating but at lunch the compulsion to be with my kids was too strong. I needed to go home. My life is very busy, like almost all Western lives. All week long it is work and activities. I hardly have any time to just be home with my family. Many of us are rushing around to catch a dance lesson/soccer practice/music lesson/meetings etc. When the weekend arrives, guess what? More soccer/meetings/appointments. I am away next weekend and then another weekend shortly after and every day/evening some scheduled appointment.

I am not proud of this rushing around through life. I am trying to change it--trying to find a simple balance but it is almost impossible with 3 children each wanting to do several extra-curricular activities for fun (and I want them to have these opportunities to enjoy sports and music). Also, my life is in the process of big growth and change; my career was on pause for a decade to devote to raising my babes and now--time to catch up! No rest for the wicked and weary.
Thus, I felt (due to the fact I miss spending serious leisure time with my babes) that a morning meditation was enough on this day. I love Buddhism practice but I love being a mom more. My children trump everything and anything. I believe this strengthens my Buddhist practice--to know and practice true loving kindness and compassion for myself and my children.

So I get home and find Tabs rushing out the door for a soccer game (with her dad) and my other two girls busy playing (hanging Mist would say) with the neighbor girls.
But at least I was home while they played and there to make sure my soccer star took her vitamins supplements before her game.

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