Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Quick Lesson in Mindfulness

A man was rowing his boat upstream on a very misty morning. Suddenly, he saw another boat coming downstream, not trying to avoid him. It was coming straight at him. He shouted, "Be careful! Be careful!" but the boat came right into him, and his boat was almost sunk. The man became very angry, and began to shout at the other person, to give him a piece of his mind. But when he looked closely, he saw that there was no one in the other boat. It turned out that the boat just got loose and went downstream. All his anger vanished, and he laughed and he laughed.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, from Being Peace

Baby M. and I both have colds, and as I was sitting here feeling miserable, my first reaction was to think about the public places we've been recently -- two of which attract lots of kids -- and then to wonder why inconsiderate parents don't leave their sick children at home. As this is going through my head, my daughter, clinging to Mommy for comfort, reaches down and picks some imaginary "flowers and rainbows" for her mama.

She's not preoccupied with trying to figure out who made her sick and why. The only thing she's doing is sharing her affection, even though I know she feels awful.

I tell you, that kid is the little angel on my shoulder. 

People are going to be inconsiderate whether I complain about it or not. And besides, how do I know somebody deliberately left the house carrying germs? Maybe the other person thought he was over his cold, or she didn't know her kid was coming down with something. We rush to place blame so quickly, don't we? Why not just make the best of the situation, especially when we can't change it?

Moral of the story: If you want to see the world with calmness, clarity, and love, look at it through the eyes of a child.

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