Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva
Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva: Verse 16
Practice is Practice, Even When Your Heart is Breaking
Even if a person you have cared for as your own child
Treats you as his worst enemy,
Lavish him with loving attention
Like a mother caring for her ill child — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.’
It often seems “life is not fair.” There have been times when your kindest, most awesome acts — when you willingly, happily, sacrificed your own interests in order to help someone you loved.
And instead of the person feeling grateful, he seemed to ignore the whole thing, like it never happened. Or worse, he turned around and acted like you were a pariah, a dangerous person to be avoided at all costs.
It’s even more devastating when it’s really your own child
When the boy you gave birth to, the baby you raised with so much love, nursing for many months — you’ll never forget the flood of sheer pleasure — the child you adored, the child you loved more than anyone in the world.
When it really was your own child — by then a grown man — treating you as an enemy, you felt your heart shatter, the pain was unbearable.
But If you pretend to act unbothered, instead of saying “I’m divorcing you” or simply “I don’t want to see you while you’re being so mean.”
You go on tending to his every need, lavishing him with praise, with tender conversation, with sympathy for his every ache, and compassion for whatever bothers him.
You fix the most astounding pastries, your kitchen smells of baking.
The warmth of a mother’s devotion lingers. Rest assured, even the effort to follow the ways of a Bodhisattva, showers the landscape with sweetness.
I’ve heard some claim the poles really shift, and I know when volcanos are erupting, they’re allowing us to live.
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