I was planning to write a post today about holiday gift-giving and how we're all under so much pressure to buy presents that we forget what it's like to be generous. Except on Saturday I started to feel pain around my right eye. I thought it was probably from grinding my teeth (I have TMJ) but by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and redness appeared underneath my bottom eyelid.
I used to dread grocery shopping. Even thinking about it made me want to run screaming. The fluorescent lights, the cold grey surfaces, and the utilitarian feel of the activity. I hated that I hated it, and hated that I couldn’t seem to feel any other way about it.
I’ve often heard people say that we eat mindlessly. This isn’t quite accurate, though. Actually, while we eat, we spend most of our time daydreaming. This daydreaming is a form of hypnosis.
Under hypnosis you can become so focused on the contents of your mind that you lose awareness of the external environment. You can even lose awareness of your body. When we’re eating, we maintain just enough awareness of our body and environment to get the food into our mouth, and to get an initial taste of it. But then we go off into fantasies of various kinds.
Watching my son sail off into the sunset on his skateboard, I am reminded of not only his first introduction to the art of shredding but also prompted to look deeper at the way in which I approach fear.
When you go on a retreat, there's always a talk near the end about transitioning back to "the real world." You've been in a place where people are mindful and intentional, less stressed by the details of daily life. You're about to re-enter the rat race, and you're not up to speed.
But what if life could be more like retreat? What if people in ordinary life were mindful -- present and attentive and grounded in the situation ... how would life be different?
According to knives.com, the cutting-edge parenting resource, the recommended age in years when children can be introduced to knives, while supervised, is two to three. And, although it feels obvious that their research might be strongly influenced, it’s just as difficult to find an opinion that isn’t. I know, because after feeling many times like I was flailing when my children ran for the cutlery, I directed my focus away, and onto the computer. This online quest for knife-safety-tips quickly resembled my fruitless (ha ha, good one again!) search for guidelines for offering dessert to my children, and reminded me that the answer lies not in an external value set, but within.
The Buddha, as a man who left his wife and young child to seek enlightenment, doesn't give a lot of advice on marriage. As one of my teachers says, if you're having difficulty in your romantic relationship, is a celibate monk the best person to ask for advice?
I frequently say that I have four children; two furry and two not. The six of us, my husband, two dogs, and two children, have been a family for close to six years. The human-animal bond we have has strengthened each of us as individuals and improved our lives as a whole in ways we could never have dreamed; for which we are eternally grateful.
If you were to go lululemon.com today, you'd see a photo of the Dalai Lama with a quote from His Holiness: "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." Presumably, pricey yoga clothes are not in the same category.