Friday, January 4, 2013

An Auspicious Beginning

A new year brings renewal.  As 2013 begins I am working to reaffirm my own meditation practice and renew my efforts to teach my children to meditate.  At the end of 2012 I was experiencing a lot of frustration and anger with my 3 year old and in an attempt to help him(and me) cope with his intense emotions I created a "mind in a jar." It is a jar filled with water, sand and dirt from our garden.  When the jar gets shaken up it represents a busy, uncontrolled mind full of emotion and anger.  As we sit and watch the particles slowly filter down to the bottom the water becomes clear again- this is a calm and peaceful mind.  When Rowan gets worked up and needs a break I send him to my meditation pillow to shake the jar and watch is settle, then I come in and we do 10 breaths together.  It has been great: he loves the whole process, it encourages me to catch him before he goes crazy and it allows us time together to sit, think and talk(granted this is usually while Connor climbs all over us).  Through this practice he has become interested in Medicine Buddha and I have found more patience.  The other day while we were watching the particles in the jar settle I noticed something swirling around with the dirt.  A seed had sprouted in the jar!  Buddhism often talks of planting seeds in the mind- if we practice compassion or other positive virtues we plant the seeds of good karma which will eventually sprout and grow.  The little sprout filled me with immense joy and hope and made me feel as though I were on the right path however circuitous it might be.  Today Rowan told me we should plant the seedling in our 'other jar' which is a terrarium.  I thought it was a wonderful idea, so he fished it out with a spoon and we dropped it in to the terrarium.  No matter what happens to the physical seedling I see it as an affirmation of our efforts and an auspicious beginning to 2013.


Margaret Bryant said...

Lovely story, great idea. I have spent several years helping my own son cope with intense emotions, and our efforts have included mindfulness and meditation. It is very much worth the effort. Tremendous life skill for all of us.

Mark said...

The jar is a great idea, and I agree that the sprouted seed is a good omen. Blessings to you and your family!