Monday, October 27, 2008

buddhism lite

ok, so i'm reading a new book. it's called how to see yourself as you really are and it's written by his holiness the dalai lama. i think that's pretty self explanatory...

i've underlined most of the beginning, where he's talking about four personal beliefs. the second one got me, so i'm going to quote the first two parts i underlined in there...

"According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles stem from attachment to things that we mistakenly see as permanent. Operating from that misconception, we see aggression and competitiveness as helpful in the pursuit of what we imagine and desire."

"When you have love and compassion for a very poor person, your feelings are based on altruism. By contrast, love toward your husband, wife, children, or a close friend is often mixed with attachment, and when your attachment changes, your kindness may disappear. Complete love is based not on attachment but on altruism, which is the most effective response to suffering."

okay...that's a mouthful...or more accurately, a heart-full. it did catch me by surprise, though, that i agreed with this so much inside...that it sounded so very right to me, yet i've come to learn that much of the parenting practices i've adopted over the years fall under the general heading of attachment parenting. which i've always thought of as a philosophy of parenting based on answering the needs of my children as they express them, as i realize them, and as i am able. and encouraging them to meet their own needs and, hopefully, in the process they'll learn to respond to the needs of those around them as well, as they are able.

it's funny that i used the word respond because tomorrow, in my middles philosophy class, we're beginning a discussion on responsibility and after we've talked about what it means and tried to define it in three words or less, we'll talk about how the root of responsibility is response.

anyway...the part that really caught me in those quotes was the concept that once we change our attachment in a relationship, we can drain some of the kindness from it and act on that attachment instead of out of a true, loving response. that, uhm, kind of hit home in some ways. because i know i struggle with a sense of almost ownership over my kids and the sense that they owe me something in return. the same with my spouse. and while these words aren't pretty, they are true, and as i've thought about the dalai lama's words this week, it hasn't been that hard to let go of some of my misperceived attachment. it's a shift i can almost feel physically when i am mindful of what i am doing, what i am thinking, and how i am putting those two things together. it's not something that seems to magically change once you figure it out. but it is somewhat of a habit, or so it seems. like the more you practice it, the (a least a tiny bit) more natural it becomes.

and i haven't even started chapter one, yet. i think i'll probably be quoting this book quite a bit.
peace out


Becca said...

Friend - I'm always so amazed at how insightful you are and how you really are in touch with your inner workings. You give me hope that I'll know myself one day as much as you know yourself.


Ken said...

I have written, edited and erased a long reply but I'm only left with a quote of Jonatha Brooks, "But I'll never tell, I'll never say, I'll never be that brave"

earthmama said...

ok, ok...i get it. thanks. :)

Ken said...

I've commented this before and I repeat it because it is cogent to your post. With attachment, there are chains of iron and chains of Gold.