Tag Archives: mindfulness

“I want to be enlightened, mom!”

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I am a hard core, highly passionate, nerdy nerd.  Especially about history.  I’ve discovered there’s no subject that’s boring to me as long as I can learn a bit of it’s history.  Even finance and economics (subjects I’m simply not drawn toward) can be interesting when examined through the lens of history. 

But when given a subject that I’m interested in anyway, like martial arts, I go all out, borrow as many books and videos from the library as I can fit in my backpack (and my library card!), and engage in seemingly endless internet searches.  Yeah, ok, I’m a bit obsessive, but it’s the good kind of obsessive, right?

And my poor son gets inundated with information.  Because I care, dammit, and I want to spark his passion!  (Unfortunately, sometimes I think my attempts to spark his interests tend to get smothered by all the library books I get for him… all things in moderation, mom!)

In learning about the origins of Karate, and thus Kung-Fu, I’ve learned that they were part of the spread of Buddhism from India.  I’d never really seen Kung-Fu movies before this year, with the exception of  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, not because I had no interest, but just because I was more interested in other things.  So yeah, the whole Shaolin Temple thing was news to me.

And that is truly fascinating – Buddhism, which emphasizes peace and non-violence, being a big part of martial arts?  Huh?  How does that work? (I don’t really know! More study needed!)

So we’ve watched some wonderful documentaries about Shaolin and Buddhism, and Z-boy has been really taking an interest, asking about how old you have to be to become enlightened, how do you learn, how long does it take. 

How beautiful is that?

 

 

pic credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Korea-Sinheungsa-Bronze_Buddha-02.jpg

Perfectly imperfect.

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One idea that I’ve found particularly interesting in all the mindfulness texts I’ve been reading is the paradox, or seeming paradox, of the perfectly imperfect.  Each moment is perfect, just as it is, because each moment is a whole moment of life, of all there is in this universe.  And while there may be things you want and need to change about what you’re doing in this life, it doesn’t change the fact that this moment, right here, is perfect and whole.  And imperfect too.  Full of imperfections like that annoying little pain in the muscle behind my left ear, the bits of popcorn that fell under my desk, the fact that I’m still in my jammies, the stinky cat box.  But each and every one of those things IS life.  Life happening right now in this moment, this unique, perfect, new moment.

I’m one of those procrastinating perfectionists.  I’m constantly worried that my work, my writing, my anything isn’t good enough, yet I live in hope that if I just work harder at it, it could be.  But then I keep moving my own goalposts, and nothing could ever, ever measure up to the level of perfection I seem to require of myself, because it’s really an infinity of steps away.

Screw that train of thought.  Everything I do is imperfect, and everything that everyone else does is imperfect as well.  Because that’s life!

We human beings and our consciousness exist because of imperfections.  Billions of years of imperfections, little coding errors creating new DNA, new types of life.  If not, we’d still be single celled organisms, after all, and how boring would that be?

Mindfulness and Parenting

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I’ve been reading and studying mindful meditation techniques and Buddhist philosophy as a way to treat my depression and anxiety and it’s wonderful stuff.  Also cheap as anything – our library has tons of books on the subject, and as I am currently unemployed and therefore skint, zero dollars is the exact amount of money I can afford.

I’ve been passing along some of the wisdom to Zener.  One of the ideas that I thought would be most useful for him is the distinction between your thoughts and your core self:  in other words, “your thoughts are not you”. We all have all kinds of thoughts throughout the day, but they’re just ephemeral things, “waves passing over the ocean of your mind” is the commonly used metaphor.  As such, you don’t have to act on them, you don’t have to dwell on them, you don’t have to take them too seriously.  They will pass, just as everything does eventually.  We discussed it one night when he was having his usual hard time with homework.

The next day he was playing Minecraft, building a ship in a snowy biome, and he starts singing a little song to himself.  I catch the words:  “You may think that your thoughts are true, but really they’re just snow”.  Now how beautifully insightful is that?  Snow can be beautiful, it can be heavy, it can cause problems, but it melts away on a warm, sunny day.

Lyrics – You may think that your thoughts are true

But they’re just snow

snooooooowwwwwww

snooooooooowwwwww

you may think that your thoughts are true

but they’re just snooooooooow

with dog pee in it….

(he is, after all, a 9 year old boy 😉 )