We went to a lecture By Lama Kathy Wesley at Karma Thesum Chöling about being Buddhist in the modern age on Friday night. We tend to go there a lot when she speaks – we’re not practicing Buddhists, but I have been finding what I hear in the lessons highly practical for everyday life.
She mentioned the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day” as an example of a Buddhist movie, because his character isn’t able to break out of the cycle of living the same day over and over again until he learns compassion – the ability to anticipate everyone’s needs – for everyone in the town. (I also heard Robert Thurman make the assertion that all Bill Murray movies have Buddhist undertones at a lecture a couple of years back.)
As she spoke, I kept thinking that having an infant – and I imagine having a child – has many of the same lessons. We nurse, change, carry, rock, walk, sing to, talk to, read to and make faces with this new being and do whatever we can to anticipate his or her discomfort and head it off. Our bodies even become compassionate without our conscious help if we breastfeed – I still wonder how I got to 35 without knowing that a lactating woman automatically leaks milk at the sound of a baby crying.
What a gift.