Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This morning our little teacher arrives after breakfast to spend the day with us. It's a baby Luka Wednesday. His Mom drops him off on her way to work and picks him up on her way home. I missed last week because I was in New York, but Ellie tells me it was a hard day's work, even with the help of our good Xiomara. And today Xiomara is unable to come, because she has some bureaucratic problem to resolve, which means a day spent tied up in red tape. Ellie and I are alone with the baby, and in some trepidation: we are not as young as we used to be, and Luka is a demanding little chap. We know that he naps little and cries a lot, and crying is the hardest thing to live with. You feel so powerless. It's not always easy to know what the problem is, and you can't help much if you don't know what he's crying about. Babies cry, I know. But the heart says that the crying means pain, or discomfort, or maybe anger, and you really want to spare this little being anything that hurts...

I just happen to have started reading the review copy of a new book, The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them, by Karuna Cayton (this guy's subtitles are longer than mine!)--a book that reminds me that our teachers are everywhere, and that they are not always kindly or benign. They sometimes arrive in the guise of something we would not have wished for--like a crying baby. And I mean, not just the regular crying, but the kind of crying that goes on for what seems like hours, testing you to the very end of your patience. It happens. No matter how good-natured a person you are, it's hard to maintain the equanimity when this happens. So I'm happy to have the reminder of this author--I'll get to some less disconnected words about his book in a later entry--that the best, and healthiest, and happiest option in such circumstances is to be grateful for the opportunity to watch my reactions and learn more about myself. Because, when I get angry, that's where the problem lies. And, of course, to thank the teacher, even if he's very small and too young to appreciate the thanks.

All of which I'll try hard to keep in mind as the day progresses. But maybe he'll be like this all day...

Who knows? Anyway, a fine teacher, no?

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