“In the Buddhist tradition, there are stories of people finally reaching a state of enlightenment and being able to do nothing but laugh all day long, as though they had finally gotten the punch line to the ultimate cosmic joke.” Gurumkh Kaur Khalsa
A Soul is Born to Earth…into a simple and easy life. It’s all the human doings we think are important that make life seem complicated. We end up taking life way too seriously, keeping busy with things that don’t matter and masking the smooth flow that is our true nature.
I do this daily. That’s why I have reminders posted around my house about the truth of life. So that in all the busyness I can take a moment several times a day to breathe deep and remember the truth. It always helps me slow down and see more clearly.
I had a very serious childhood dealing with grown up issues way before my time. My parents divorced when I was a toddler; both were addicted to one substance or another on and off; my mom was in jail numerous times; I had a short stint in foster care; I started my period at age nine; I saw my first gynecologist at age eleven; and there was almost constant fighting in one form or another (I’ve witnessed both my parents in a fist fight). I think you get the picture. But I’m not blaming my parents for anything. I know without a doubt that despite their personal issues, they loved me fiercely in the ways they knew how and they always did the best they could. And I had it WAY better than so many others. Remembering those stories though, helps me realize the reasons I now need a little extra help most days in seeing through the illusion that is the drama we make up about life.
Both my parents, at times, were really fun and goofy too. My dad would wrap up decoy Christmas presents, like toilet paper and Kleenex boxes, just to tease me. And he loved singing silly songs with me, like “Rudolph the red butt reindeer.” My mom owned a daycare in my early childhood where we did craft projects and we’d sing and dance all the time. It’s perhaps more important to remember these times.
Now that I have children, they are my greatest teachers in everything, but mostly in how to lighten up and make daily life more fun. Especially in times where I’ve created stress around a situation (and all stress is self-created), I’ll think about how I can make it fun, like when rushing to put on shoes or brushing teeth. And if I can’t think of a way to muster up some fun, I’ll ask myself, does this really matter? Like when my littlest one wakes up four times while I’m trying to write this blog. In the end, does this post really matter? No. Does connection with my children matter by responding to their needs in positive ways? Absolutely.
Any time we’ve created stress around a situation, it helps to step back and think about what’s actually important, especially when it comes to trivial things: holiday decorations, how many clothes you own, the type of car you drive, who won the football game, the shape of your body, the latest and greatest of anything. It’s all just made up.
I think often of the story of the Buddhist monks becoming enlightened and laughing all day long. I want to be in on that, don’t you? I want to be that clear and light and free. It’s possible…for you, for me, for all of us, when we get clear on what matters, which I suspect is very little. And as gracefully as we can, let go of what doesn’t. It’s a moment to moment practice. Are you in?