Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


questioning death and impermanence ~

My students are struggling with death. This has been a week where two have lost childhood friends — close friends — within 48 hours. Their grief, disbelief, and questions fill the classroom. Why? they ask me. It isn’t fair.

I’m struggling with death as well. My beloved mother-in-law — as dear as my own mother — is fading like an old photo, losing memories like leaf fall. This is the third time I have watched an elder slip into the role of child. The fifth time I have seen my childhood wiped from someone’s eyes. Heard the falter of dementia replace my name on someone’s lips.

And no, it doesn’t feel fair. But I try to remember that everything passes. Nothing will outlast the gradual unwinding of it all. Everything passes. That’s what Buddhism teaches. That to the things that pass, that do not come, brings suffering.

Right now? My students and I are suffering. We are wanting something else: life to be restored. Mind to be clearer. Love to last forever. None of which will happen. Which is pretty much what the Buddha said two thousand years ago. It’s just as hard to listen and accept today as it probably was then.

This is not what I offer my students. Them I wrap in hugs. I listen to their grieving. I breathe through my own sadness, offering it for them. It doesn’t change things. But it helps.

I guess that’s what the Buddha meant. It won’t stop the pain, right view. But it helps…



Previous Posts

day 26 in a month of Thanksgiving: cranberries, turkey, and pie...oh my!
The pies are cooking for tomorrow. All the house smells of butter crust and pumpkin filling. In the 2nd fridge there's a medium-sized turkey, with a ham still to be picked up. I'm fielding calls regarding what els

posted 4:01:14pm Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

day 25 of Thanksgiving month: gratitude in the wake of #Ferguson
Today, in the wake of Ferguson, my beginner's heart is breaking. There seems so very little to be grateful for. I wasn't even going to write. And then I thought -- there is one sad, terrible thing for which I am gra

posted 10:57:00pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

day 24 of Thanksgiving month: getting ready (or not...)
I'm not at the 'in the pie pan' stage yet, but I did make the dough today. My family is BIG on pie, and especially at Thanksgiving. (Countdown: 3-2-1...) I think my beloved could eat an entire pie b

posted 3:47:13pm Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

day 23 of Thanksgiving month: soundtracks
The other day I wrote about how much I love music, how it's one of my everyday gratitudes. Which set me to thinking: what would my life's soundtrack be? What would I like to exit to? You have to realise: I pick

posted 6:07:08pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

day 22 of Thanksgiving month: the kindness of strangers
Today's gratitude is slightly abashed. I'm grateful for kindness -- even my own, actually. And abashed that it's noticed so...noticeably...? Because if just joking w/ the Starbuck's barista, and teasing her about

posted 10:42:50pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.