New parents Fernanda and Leonardo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When I recently became a mother, I realized how intense love can be. Such love brought me a lot of happiness but also a lot of fear of one day losing this person. I thought “I can’t live without my son anymore.” Since this is beyond my control, I felt very insecure. In fact, terrified!  But then I remembered the Dharma and that the only time that we have to live is the present moment. The past has already gone and the future is not yet here to be enjoyed. So now, every time that I’m caught by a feeling like that regarding my son, I take refuge in the present moment, hold him in my arms, kiss him a lot and immediately I feel like the happiest person in the world!

Taking refuge in the present moment also helps me a lot during mornings when I’m exhausted and I have to wake up to change diapers and nurse the baby. Many times I think that I would prefer to be sleeping after a day of work instead of waking up to put my son to sleep. But when I remember that one day after many hours of work or during a business trip I’ll miss every moment with my kid, these moments with my son become very intense and very special. I feel happy because I’m there for my son.

Fernanda

I am learning that a new born baby is a wonderful help for my practice. It’s impressive that each sound or cry of the baby awakens me from forgetfulness and brings my attention to the present moment to see what is happening. I practiced a lot this way during these first 5 months. I also train my mindfulness when I carry him. I have to pay attention in each step, to each movement to keep him safe from accidents. It’s wonderful and so natural. My attention is at its maximum when I’m with him.

When I’m playing with him at 5:30 A.M. (that’s true!) before going to work, I always repeat, “My dear I’m here for you and I’m happy”. Even when I’m very tired at this time I practice being present to play with him. I want to touch the love seed in him; I want him to know that I love him giving him my full presence. And when I go to work I am happy, I feel light.

Thank you for the opportunity to share,

Leonardo

Advertisements

Bowing

Note:  What you might say is in boldface.  The answers to questions in parenthesis are the answers our children gave us.

Materials Needed:

colored felt-tipped pens

Bowing is a deep form of communicating.  A bow may mean hello, thank you, good bye, or excuse me.  But it is not just a way to be polite.  It is a way of recognizing and honoring the Buddha Nature in each of us.

We put our hands together carefully to form a beautiful lotus flower.  Then we look into the eyes of the person we will bow to and smile.  We say to ourselves, “A lotus for you, Buddha to be!” and bow at our waist.  Then we straighten up, look into the eyes of the other person and smile.  Isn’t that an easy gift to give someone?

Please practice with a friend.

Allow each child time to bow to a friend.

Instead of a lotus, you might want to give something else to a friend or someone in your family.  Maybe you will put your hands together, look into the eyes of your friend and say to yourself, “An apple for you Buddha to be,” or “A sunny day for you Buddha to be,” or “A smile for you Buddha to be!” and then bow.

Give enough time for each child to practice bowing with a different child and with you, “giving” whatever gift they choose to give (a lotus, those suggested above or one of their own choice).

How does it make you feel to bow to someone’s Buddha Nature? (happy, like I’m watering the seeds of my friend’s happiness)

How does it make you feel when someone bows to you? (happy, grateful, loved)

When you can, please practice bowing with the people in your family, too.

With the colored pens, invite children to draw simple faces on each other’s thumbs.  The “thumb people” can practice bowing respectfully.  The “thumb people” might also have conversations with each other or sing to each other.

Submitted by Terry Cortes-Vega