Today I will begin a deeper spiritual practice for the holiday season. I will be using my white mala beads to do one hundred six recitations of the Heart Sutra:
Gate, gate paragate, parasam gate, bodhi svha
One hundred recitations of this mantra means to take a journey to the other side of the shore, to be mindful of the presence of the heart and to use such a presence to create a pathway to peace. When I recite this mantra I feel worthy of my holiness. I feel sanctified and complete.
I used to think that holy people were perfect humans; that is so far from reality. The reality is that holy people are burned heroes, the scarred, the tired, the angry, the poor, the excessive… There aren’t many people in the world that recognize their holiness anymore, that possess the courage to express their holiness without falling into rote obedience to a god that has it under control with an expectation to just do his bidding.
I feel that my role in this world, no matter how small, is to emotionally heal others, to help members of my human family see themselves purely, to grow authentically. Now that I am doing this for myself, I am being liberated. I already know that I truly do not know the fullness of liberation, of Nirvana, but what I have experienced just by way of being honest with myself, I am liberated. This makes me think of my late mother.
Perhaps in my mamma’s own nihilistic devotion, she felt liberated knowing that the confinement of being in her body was not going to last long. I know that sometimes I feel trapped by my problems, fears, worries…however, for me, it is a motivation to seek freedom beyond the mundane (bills, drama, more bills and more drama). To open my heart while in my body means that I open to impermanence, the energy of change, loss, and renewal and all the beauty of these rites of passage.
Would such beauty in the world exist without loss? Would we celebrate life and live it to the fullest without death? I don’t believe we would. Each day we rise, we know that life has been given to us. Given. This is why I have been so angry with my mom for so many years.
She essentially said “This is not the life I want. Take it from me, God.” When she had the power to change her life, she resigned. She was bound and controlled by everyone and everything in her life. One thing I know about people is that control occurs when you are unwilling to be responsible for the decisions in your life. I fear this happening to me, each day.
If I were to talk to my mom about this now, I would say:
You didn’t count on yourself to be as great as you are in this world. Because of this, you weren’t there for me. You wished to be dead and you told me your wishes. I felt neglected, I felt unworthy, and I feel like I will never be enough. You hurt me.
I want you to know that I love you more now than ever, and that this hurt is not going to last because I am going to let it go. I am going to keep the love you have given to me, even through your pain. You are still a good mother, you are still my teacher. I am still willing to have a relationship with you. I miss you in the flesh but I feel your presence and your teachings in my heart. Thank you for being you in all of your fragile beauty. I love you more than anyone else in the whole wide world.
Yesterday, I felt my mom as I was baking her famous four egg yellow cake for my beloved husband and son. In that moment, I understood my lack of integrity in my relationship with mamma. If I am to believe that there is no true death, then why have I ignored the fact that mamma is present, still here, still speaking to me through my wisdom – still feeding the earth with her body?
Would it rain without the presence of my mother? Would we have fresh fruit and ever changing seasons without my mother? For all the mothers and fathers that now nurture the soil for future generations, and the those who scatter the sky with the mystery of life in the ash, are the truly gone?
They are still here, very close by, in the breath, the heart, and the hands of all who live and rise each day. Each and every day our mothers and fathers turn the world, feed the trees and nourish us. Earth is a collective of the love, the attention, and the spirit of our mothers and fathers, and all those we love that are gone from us.
I am glad to understand this truth. There is a lot of living for me to do and a lot of catching up to do with my mom. I also have to teach my sons this valuable lesson, because one day, I too, will reside in the heart of the earth.