2.15.2008

From "Living Without Regret"

Happy Friday, everyone! Thanks again for all of your good thoughts and energy -- it means a lot. My dad is now out of the hospital and back into a rehab center. I think it will be more of the same for a while. Meantime, my mom is pretty much in meltdown. She is not visiting my dad, she lashes out verbally at everyone, and she is sinking into paranoia. Very difficult situation.

In the midst of all the struggle, there is reading. I am so grateful to have it in my life! (And you too, dear bloggers!) I am so grateful that people who have gone before me were courageous and strong and generous enough to put their words on paper.

Here are some excerpts from a painful yet helpful book, Living Without Regret: Growing Old in Light of Tibetan Buddhism by Arnaud Maitland. What makes this painful is the book's genesis: Maitland wrote it as a way to come to terms with his beloved mother's descent into Alzheimer's. He offers the wisdom of his own Buddhist practice as a way to readers to cope with the aging process (and life in general).

We can foster an attentive and interested mind by asking ourselves neutral questions, free from hidden prejudices or emotions: “How can I do my work better?” “Is there something we still need?” “What would benefit (the situation/person)?” Neutral questions like “what,” “why not,” and “how else” awaken awareness.

*****

The capacity for compassion is inherent in every human being, but it lies beyond the domain of the I. In the same way as egocentrism is a feature of the small mind, compassion is characteristic of the great mind. When we practice compassion, the boundary between self and others begins to dissolve, and the grip of I relaxes. We feel clear and at ease.

******

Change is the dominant flavor of reality. What if we could take taste change as if it were a delicacy? No longer would be have to cling to the illusion that ignoring time lets us hold it at bay. We could let go of the need for control, knowing that it serves only to mask fear of the uncertainty inherent in change. Instead, rejoicing in the fact that nothing is fixed, we could allow ourselves to yield to transformation. Change offers wonderment and vitality. Since everything is open, things can always improve: we can take refuge in that knowledge. Time is our partner and our teacher.

7 comments:

Charlotte said...

Beautiful quotes, thank you. I especially love the one about compassion.

Yogamum said...

How wonderful that your father is doing better, and thank you for the lovely quotes.

Dark Orpheus said...

Those are pretty useful quotes to keep in mind.

Take care during this difficult period.

Dorothy W. said...

Thank you for the quotations, LK. Our thoughts are with you.

Chedwick University said...

It's hard to get inside another person's head or experience their emotions. I would guess that your mother is terrified of being left alone, confused, conflicted, sheer terror. having the rug pulled out from under is always a horrible experience. One thing she knows is that bad times are here, now, and no one can feel it or see it as she does. Patience I guess is the only way to deal. ask her what she needs, and offer no advice or guidance. just ask her what she needs & listen. Advising people in this situation often freaks them out. They need space, time, patience and love.

litlove said...

Those are wonderful quotes. I don't know what I'd do without reading, the wisdom of others and blog friends to keep me going in the tough times! Thinking of you and your family, LK. This, too, shall pass.

LK said...

Thanks to you all for your thoughts, compassion, words of wisdom. Much, much appreciated! Virtual hugs!