Today my oldest two are helping each other make newspaper pirate hats and my youngest is making up songs about friendship and hugging. I had an uneventful morning meditation, as sometimes happens, after which I got some reading and study in. Things are peaceful.
Yesterday? Not so much.
My oldest had nothing to do with it, she assures me.
My 5-y.o. has a beatpoet beard and Dali mustachio, courtesy Sharpie®.
My 3-y.o. is arched backwards on the stairs, knees locked impossibly in the wrong direction, a peal of ultimate dissatisfaction searing from her tiny lungs to peel the paint off the walls.
[cue phone ringing]
There's a semi-famous ukiyo-e painting of a man standing on the very bowtip of his little boat, reaching just a little too far for a bit of seaweed to put in his bucket, at the same time a giant wave is curling above, just about to smash down on him, as he's fully aware. I wish I had a print, because I refer to my memory of it a lot.
Honor thy tantrum!
I have discovered — along with many other parents I'm sure, but want to share with those who haven't — that some 92% of kid crises do not need to be solved. Everything in the entire world is wrong, so there's no use trying anyway. Samsara sucks, what can you say? But in the middle of that tension and noise, assuming no one is bleeding or similar, there's really nothing required but to be present. (...And maybe check the caller I.D.)
Contemplative Tantrumming 101
I gently sit next to her, she takes it up a decibel. I step back a bit and make myself comfortable on the stair. I feel the room and my body in it and all the suffering suffusing everything in the world. I recognize the grasping-as-real. Everything is like an illusion. "To a Buddha, everything is Buddha." I bring my awareness to the boundary between the perceiver and the perception and penetrate it. There is quiet. The guru smiles from the top of my head. Every single speck of interdependent arising, completely unestablished as anything but emptiness, glows as the dance of my own karma presenting itself, laughing "with" me. I make an offering of it all, both upwards and downwards. From the beginning there has never been a problem, save my confusion regarding the nature of things as Suchness.
There's room for a few steady breaths.
"I want you to get me something to drink."
"Can you ask nicely?"
"Will you please get me something to PLEASE drink?!"
[Although I can't help but wonder if she's old enough to put a split-infinitive in out of spite.]
I hold her cheek tight against mine as we head to the fridge, still dreaming.
Meditation helps life, but does your daily life make your meditation better?