My neighbors, whom we share a wall with, and can hear every word they say, yell at each other a lot. They both have unstable adult children, apparently, and this is obviously a hot topic over there. Not to mention, said children also tend to raise their voices when they are there with the parents, saying awful things to them. It feels very different than the cute older couple, whom we thought were going to be our neighbors. And now we have a baby that we are about to bring home. I'm starting to get frightened. There's a lot of hostile energy over there. And I am really trying to drop into my Buddhist training here, to check in with - what of this am I projecting? Where is my compassion for these suffering beings? Why can I only think of my coming child and how I want a peaceful, quiet, child-friendly environment to bring her home to, rather than World War III/Mental Health ward at the hosiptal?
It's making me feel like an extreme voyeur, a peeping tom, and the nosiest neighbor ever to listen to their fights. To wonder how much longer I have to live here? To dread a real explosion from one of their children, and speculate on how it might affect mine? The energy is all wrong.
Tell me, am I wrong to listen? When they raise their voices, should I go hide upstairs in my bedroom, so that I can try not to hear what they say? Is that the right thing to do... in my own home? But the more I refuse to hide, the more I am vicariously sucked into their drama - one in which I DO NOT want to be involved on ANY level. Oy. This is a very hard situation we've gotten ourselves into. And one that really could not be avoided. It's not like the day we agreed to sign a lease, they were yelling and screaming and throwing pots and pans... no they were on their best behavior. Only more recently have we begun to hear evidence of the discord in that household. Now that we're locked into a lease and have a baby coming.
Really, I am no one to judge any one else's family. I am not qualified to critique how other people communicate. Really, I do understand that I may be being a little self-righteous and holier-than-thou (as I have been called before). But is it wrong of me to want the happiest, most loving and peaceful energy around my whole home when this baby makes her debut into the world? I have no control over what goes on in anybody else's home. It wouldn't even make a difference if I said something to them - I'm sure they know we can hear them, they've mentioned it before. I have to start digging down into that well of deep love of mine and find some compassion; find some understanding and some non-judgement. I'm sure it exsists, because in that well, there is only love, and no room for fear, doubt or judgement. But a mother's sense of needing to protect her child from ANY harm, be it spoken words, acts or other, is visceral - it is primal and instinctual. There is the tiniest of split seconds to see that habit and act to change it before a mother would act to protect her child from a percieved threat. And maybe this is one habit I'm not sure I'm willing to break. Call me an unenlightened being. Go ahead. I want to create a bubble of love around this child. An orb of white, healing light that she may always experience the world as good and kind. Wow, does that ever sound cheezy, but it's true!
This makes me think of the story of the Buddha - who's father, the king, knew he was special from his birth. It was foretold that he would be a very influential and special being. The father took this to mean his son would be king for sure, and took all precaution to shield his son from any suffering. Any old age, sickness, sadness - everything like this he banished from the kingdom. Only young, beautiful, healthy and happy people remained. And yet, young Siddhartha knew there was a piece of the puzzle missing. He knew that there was more to life, and he left his father and his hopes of kingship to see the world, to specifically experience the suffering and seek within himself the key to it's unravelling - he became a monk. And because of his exposure to the hardships in the world, the sadness and difficulty that he saw and felt, he was able to break through the facade of superficial happiness created by his father who tried to pass off as real, and see the world for what it was.
What that is, what Buddha saw, is not for me to say - I am, after all, not an enlightened being, but what I can say, or hope is that maybe my kid will have the gift of forgiveness hardwired inside of her when she's born. This is my deepest wish for her. That she may not internalize what she hears around her, not judge others in situations that she couldn't possibly understand, and greet others with an open heart full of optimism - offering their soul to reach it's hightest when it is in her presence.
I guess what I'm saying is that maybe we moved into the PERFECT situation for us - to use this as a learning opportunity. One where we can teach her to have compassion for others who are suffering, to not pass judgement and to keep her heart open, though she may feel someone around her has carefully blocked the entrance to their own heart. To know that her kindness will never go unrewarded, even if the immediate result is not what she expects. To love others unconditinally, even if they may say or do things that she doesn't agree with.
Ay, yay, yay. This kid's not even born yet, and she's already got me dropping a pail into that well of love deeper than one's ever been before. I guess that's what kids do. My deepest love and gratitude go to her for teaching me about the depth of kindness and love before we have even met eyes.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!