I’m currently on the Buddhism diet. Buddhism all the time in my thinking, if possible. Slow, mindfulness which I hope will help me protect the baby from me rushedly turning a hallway corner and bumping her head against it, making deliberate decisions that protect my daughter or the planet or my aching upper back (some of these things make my wife tell me I’m “slow”.) I’m working with the clients who want it on the Five Precepts (on the intricacies of not killing/causing harm, stealing, lying, intoxicants, engaging in sexual misconduct.) So of course I must try to follow these to the best of my ability- some are easier than others!
I’m sober for spiritual and health reasons (I did not have a problem) but I wanted a drink for the first time in two years- recently. Actually, I wanted a drink AND two vicodin. I was tired of the 24hr a day job of being a mom, it was a fleeting moment and a Chocolate Pot De Creme at Voila squashed it. But the problem with eating the chocolate, or drinking the drink would be that it helps me escape what’s actually going on….the usual overwork of motherhood, back and neck pain from nursing, boredom, needing a vacation. I have not had more than 5 minutes to myself since Iris was born. The closest I get is in the shower where I can’t hear the baby or the dog or the cat. The shower- my ultimate escape these days. I vow to try and spend those five minutes in the shower clearing my mind and just being instead of having my imaginative escape fantasies (spa yoga vacations, Tahiti, Library, Grad School).
As for the problem of suffering…The problem is that Buddhists must both realize that suffering just IS- and then try to alleviate it.
The Baby Cries: I never let her cry, but when she’s in the backseat and I’m on the freeway, I try and tell myself that this is her time to sit with her own suffering- and my time to sit with it too. At that moment, there is nothing to do to alleviate it. I wonder, should I let her sit in her suffering more often than once a month? And if I could tune out her crying and let her sit instead of me picking her up, would I somehow alleviate the suffering of my aching back? At the moment I am so attached to her and her suffering that I think for now, I have to do my best to help her be happy- strap on the baby Bjorn and go take her for her favorite rose-sniffing walk around the block- at the expense of my back.
Aphids: One of my basil plants in the window has aphids. It came that way. It only takes two aphids (or maybe just one- I think they may asexually reproduce) Or one pregnant aphid..anyway…I’m trying to save money and the planet by growing some of our own food but the aphids will die no matter what I do. If I spray them with olive oil solution, it will sufficate them to death and the colony will die and I will have a healthy plant again. But if I squish them off, they will die faster (less suffering, but I think it’s gotten too bad for this.) If I just pick the whole plant and make shallot pesto, they will get rinsed down the drain which is another slow death. And this, my friends, is why I eat meat. —- and very little dairy. If you are at all conscious, you knowingly and willingly kill sentient beings (which buddhists say is one with a brain) whether you kill many small brained ones or one large brained one. Also, some deaths involve much less suffering, we think. Large-scale farm dairy cows lead miserable lives so I’d rather be a hormone-free local meat eater than a cheese-whore. No offense, cheesewhores (and yes, I might eat it when it’s free and not sinus season.) So there we are, the problem of aphids. It’s hard to know wha’ts right because there is little we know about both suffering and death. I think the most compassionate thing to do is to squash the aphids as I rinse them down the drain, and then take the baby for a walk to the store for some chocolate.