It seems that a combination of things has caused me to think
about aging and death a lot lately; having an empty nest, turning 63, some of
my friends getting sick. I’m at my
eldest son’s graduation from college – tomorrow it’s cap and gown, but
underneath is this sorrow for my life passing and the grief of letting my
children go and their entrance into this crazy, painful world.
I am traveling for 12 days to pick up my kids at their respective
colleges, packing them up, witnessing them leaving their cultivated life at
college and entering the unknown.
Two things that are hard for me as a mom is to keep my mouth shut about
advice, and to witness their pain without trying to fix it. Sometimes on this trip, I have felt so
restless that zazen has been hard for me and yet I know that if I don’t have a
contemplative time, I really can’t handle this life of mine. So in the mornings, I have been meditating
with Divine Abode phrases and they are helping me so much. First, to find my center in the middle
of my changing life and second, they will pop up during the day and help direct
my actions and my speech, which usually means to be more silent around my adult
children. I need and want to let
them go and to allow them their own choices. Here are some of the phrases I am using, which are taken
mainly from a list made by Sharon Salzberg and Joan Halifax. I believe they are listed in Joan
Halifax’s book, “Being with dying,
cultivating compassion in the presence of death” and on the Upaya website.
The 4 Divine abodes:
Here are some phrases that I am currently using:
May the power of lovingkindness sustain me.
May love heal my body and mind.
I care about your pain and suffering, may I be present for
May I find the inner resources to be present for suffering
May I find grace in the midst of suffering.
May I offer my care and presence unconditionally, knowing it
may be met by gratitude, indifference, anger or anguish.
May I find the inner resources to truly be able to give.
May I find peace and strength that I may use my resources to
May I accept things as they are.
May I remain in peace and let go of my expectations.
I care about your pain and suffering, and your release from
suffering depends on your choices and your own karma.
I wish you happiness and peace and I cannot make your
choices for you.
On dying and loss:
May I and all beings live and die in ease.
May I be at peace with living and dying.
May I fully face life and death, loss and sorrow.
Labels: buddhist practices for grieving, death and dying, Joan Halifax, loss, metta phrases, Sharon Salzberg, sorrow, the four divine abodes, the four immeasurables