Bodhi Day is actually a Buddhist observance. It is the day that the Buddha reached enlightenment. “Bodhi” means “awakening” and “Buddha” is “the enlightened one”. “Enlightenment” is the western word for “awakening”. For Buddhists, meditation is a central component of detaching from this world and trying to really know through personal experience that all things are interconnected and interdependent. That nothing in this world exists independently. Our family connects deeply to this concept, so we observe Bodhi Day.
I love so many things about Buddhism. I find that the practice of meditation clears my head of earthly distraction to allow me to hear the voice of the universe–the voice that guides me. I resonate so strongly with Buddhism that for a while, I thought I might actually be Buddhist rather than Quaker. But there are some differences that matter strongly to me. And yet, I find that there are many Buddhist resources that coincide very nicely with my faith. What’s more, Buddhists–unlike most other faiths–don’t care if you pick and choose some of their pieces to incorporate into your life. They have no judgment for your life; and so much peace.
On Bodhi Day, my family will decorate with lights. Last night, Husbeau placed a lit, fake boxwood bower over our fireplace. The lights are for “enlightenment”. Had I thought of it sooner, we could have put up our tree since we have an unavoidable conflict with our traditional day for the tree.
We will have a traditional milk-rice food by way of rice pudding. NOMMMMMM…. This commemorates and act of kindness toward the Buddha. He had fainted near a river and a woman offered these to him. She had brought them to offer to a deity.
Of course, we will talk about Buddhism to our kids and why this day matters to Buddhists. We don’t shield hem from learning about other religions. In fact, we want them to understand them better than “in passing”. We want them to understand other people and what drives their actions, how to work with them because they understand those motivators, and how to be respectful of them.
Last, we will also light a candle each night for 30 days, and recommit to the practice of daily meditation. Focused meditation (one where a mantra is used) has been an amazing tool to help control thoughts. With my clients that can’t fall asleep or who suffer with anxiety–even just moms who want to stop snapping at their children–focused meditation has been an amazing tool. BigGuy and myself really need this more than anyone else. I need to keep my calm and I’ll be interested to see how it helps BigGuy’s focus. Papa will be gently nudged as well. He claims that focused meditation has made him better able to calm himself in a stressful situation… which is pretty much what happens to we mama’s–we calm ourselves instead of snapping. This year, I’m going to introduce Girly to meditation. I have some Shambala Kids CDs that I plan to break out to see how she responds to it as well.
Perhaps you could use some help keeping calm and focused? Take a moment to read about my experiences as I learned about meditation (I didn’t rush to embrace it at first!) and if that’s not for you but you would like to engage in some practices to encourage peacefulness and focus, I strongly recommend “Buddhism for Mothers” by Sarah Napthali (also available in audiobook format). By no means is this a book for those looking to convert (or find) faith. It is a great book that takes the pieces of Buddhism that promote peacefulness, mindfulness and compassion; and explain how they can be incorporated into your daily parenting.
I wish you all of the peace and joy the day can bring you. I’m excited to reconnect to these practices–especially at a chaotic time of year.
Do you meditate? If not, how do you clear your brain and give it some rest?
Do you have a mindfulness practice?