Can Mom Rest? Zen, continued

To my previous post on re-entry after a Zen retreat, new Mom Sabine writes about her experiences on retreat: “Every time I came back I wished everyone could experience the beautiful stillness and inner love that cannot be described in words. Although I must say I feel a very similar love with my baby now, even though the resting part is missing. However, after a short period I always went back to my regular routine: The task was always ‘how to prolong the inner peace in the every days life’?”

Can we prolong inner peace? I have never been able to instruct myself to experience peace, but I can ask myself to practice existing and let go of ideas that cause me to suffer torment. A week after my re-entry, I’ve gone through many changes, experiencing everything from exquisite harmony to dread and hopelessness. But I have been able to return to the practice, as they say in Zen. When practice is perfect, I said to a friend this week, then it doesn’t matter what I’m doing; laundry, editing, psychotherapy, are all branching streams from the same source.

And today, Sabine writes: ” I would never have thought I would have this feeling again without meditation, but with Ula I have very similar moments. This must be why being a mother is so special?”

Oh, yes. This is what we can never explain, the reason it is all worth it of course. And such are the moments of awe. Nothing needs doing in these moments, or ever, one could argue. Except that the moment passes and we get caught, so we practice returning. But the skill to return requires not just intention but time to practice it.

Can a mother find the time? Does she have permission? What does the culture say? Here are two ads, placed on either side of one page in a very popular magazine.

Here’s the boy kid, full of vibrant zest for life:

zesty boy

and here is what the Mother can expect:

moment for mom

If she can squeeze it in, between all necessary kid activity, she can have her moment. What’s wrong with this picture? What is mom practicing when she follows the instructions of this culture?

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One thought on “Can Mom Rest? Zen, continued

  1. UMOUM says:

    Wonderful question. The image resembles a circle with a blank in the middle–sort of reminiscent of the “lamp portrait” Vita did of you. So, this mom will try to fill up the blank with cholocate ( ! ), and where will that take her, and her child? Back into that endless empty circle, perhaps?

    I’m very glad that you’ve found Zen and that you’re encouraging others to find their moments of peace in ways that really help.

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