Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

Sitting on the porch last night with the kids eating popsicles looking out at the yard and the tree and all this outside I have to myself for the first time in years, I commented that the Buddha statue my mom gave me had become nearly obscured by overgrown grass. Ambrose said it didn't matter because he was just, you know (he smiled tentatively; was he unsure he had the right word) meditating. Ezra asked me if I could "teach him Buddhism." "Two things" I told him, "Pay attention, and be nice."

He gave me a look like I was kidding him. How could it be so simple. Wasn't it an arcane system of gestures, words, rituals. And part of it didn't make sense, or maybe sounded too pedantic: "Pay attention?"

"Pay attention means like, listen to somebody when they're telling you something," Ambrose said. "Yeah that's part of it," I said, "It also means notice things. Notice the grass. Notice the tree. Notice the taste of that popsicle. Notice the sound of the birds. Notice that squirrel running across the wire." (Ambrose, who had been smiling, laughed).

This was a really trite and tired way of saying it, I know, however true it might actually be, but that moment of last night in that single pristine moment they seemed to get it. After all, all they had to do was look around.

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