Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Buddha presence

April 18, 2010

Saturday was spent basking in the life light of my granddaughter, who is eight years old and so full of herself and willing to be exactly who she is that I envy her. She is like Buddha presence to me: her teaching lies in her behavior as a human being in this world.

Occasionally, I slip back to my childhood and wallow in a bit of self-pity for I was taught that my behavior could control how other people treated and responded to me. In all of my relationships, my goals were outcome oriented: how did I need to be in order to elicit a specific result or response from that person? In the Catholic religion, I was given a script of behaviors that would guarantee me a ticket to heaven, and it did not matter if I enjoyed the behaviors or if they were good for me or not. I was soliciting a response from the ultimate authority: God.

That’s power. To be able to control God’s response to me would mean that I was actually more powerful than God. To be able to control anyone’s response to me either through coercion, manipulation, or bribery means that I am more powerful than them. The unspoken rule is: I do what makes you happy and then you are supposed to respond by meeting my needs and doing what makes me happy.

Yesterday, I learned that one can simply ask for what is needed. I mentioned to my granddaughter when I picked her up that it looked like she had grown since the last time I had seen her two weeks ago. She said, “Yes, and nothing fits anymore. We have to go shopping for summer clothes!”

And so we did. I set a limit on the clothes I would buy for her. I did not elicit any agreement from her otherwise about the clothes. She does not owe me anything. I did not buy the clothes because of any behavior she exhibited except for asking. I bought them because she needs them and I love her. This helps me stop my pity party over what I often perceive as my own bizarrely neglected childhood. I, too, am learning the Buddha presence. The contrast teaches me that what I had learned in the past means nothing to my behavior in the present. I can choose Buddha presence.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass