Thursday, February 23, 2012


First, consider the Buddha, who tells us that life is suffering. We seek to end suffering. Enlightenment -- freedom from desire -- is the end of suffering.

From the first moment she heard these words, the Matron believed them.

Recently, she has taken note of how new mothers describe their children. She won't repeat the descriptors. You know them. A mix of wonder, luck and eternity.

Pair these two concepts - mother love and suffering.

Wait. Before pairing mother love and suffering, let the Matron posit that 'mother's love' is commonly understood within one of two spectrums (or both): securing life's bounty for a child and/or luxuriating in the magnitude of a child's very existence. You want everything in the world for your child and/or experience pure joy because your child just - exists.

What if mother love, though, can be boiled down to Buddha's goal: the end of suffering. What is suffering? Need, unmet. Need for food, water, love, touch. No witness will ever refute that absence of these necessities results in suffering (to a greater or lesser degree).

But entry into a particular college, landing the lead role, getting the commercial, nailing the test, looking pretty or being strong -- moving into the land of desire and ambition, suffering is rooted more firmly in the land of the psyche and the limitations of the physical and social world.

What mother must bear witness to her child's suffering?

Every, single one.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Out of the Mouth of . . .

The Matron will not acknowledge from where this thesis statement came. It could have been delivered in the mail, or plucked from a plum tree. Perhaps aliens took the Matron's acquaintance in her sleep? For some reason, these lines are now reside forever and ever in her psyche:

“Children are fat in America and children are starving to death in third world countries. Third world countries and America are clearly different in the aspects of your normal day to day eating habits, but there are a few major differences between the two.

Third world countries have it rough.”

From hereon into forever, whenever someone in her household has a dilemma -- go to the grocery store now or later? Peas or carrots? sign up for a class or defer? -- and looks to yours truly for guidance, she will simply shrug and say: "third world countries have it rough."

The statement seems to be uniquely all-encompassing.