Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hitting the Buddhist Brick Wall

Practicing Buddhism generally and mindfulness specifically is easy when times are going ok.

All is right with the world. Right thought, right action.


Then the acolyte--me--runs headlong into a wall this week.

I imagine the chubby fellow sitting on the top of it ala Humpty Dumpty but not falling.

My teenage daughter decided to act out this week after weeks of relative calm.

Deadlines were crashing into me in my lawyer work.

My wife was out of town, almost killing herself when she fell asleep at the wheel. Thank God she woke up and was ok.

It was a perfect storm of stress.

And I snapped. I yelled at my daughter about her bad behavior. I worked like a maniac to make the deadlines. I fretted about my wife after her accident.

To compensate, I listened to podcasts--I'm a fan of Infinite Smile--and read Zen books and tried to practice breathing.

Still, I felt like a Buddhist failure.

I only hope that my actions--though unmindful--were more mindful than they used to be when faced with similar problems pre-Buddhist study. And, I can only hope that the next time I'm faced with similar craziness, I am more mindful than this time.

Buddhism, enlightenment, mindfulness, life--it is all a process. And hopefully the power curve is going in the right direction.

May I be free from suffering. May all beings be free from suffering.

Humpty Dumpty graphic used under permission from See
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Anonymous said...


I think any thoughtful practitioner of any religion would feel akin to a failure if in your shoes. Keep up the fight.

Unknown said...

If you're a Buddhist, what does "failure" mean?