Missing Metta

- through Francois Leclercq

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Welcome, dear readers, to a new month of taking put from the meditation cushion and into the world.

Last month's article Metta The check-up made me say “ahhhhh” to the Dharma dentist. This month I generated put for more unspoken gaps than dental caries to fill.

Perhaps the funniest definition of worry I've come across is that you simply pray for what you don't want. And Buddhism often refers to hungry ghosts to describe grabbing hold of ourselves to meet an intense emotional need.

So what happens when these two concepts collide, attempting to make sense of something more nuanced than worry or seizure? Rather than an elephant in the room that no one addresses, is there perhaps an elephant in our hearts: regret for what could have been, for what is no longer possible or cannot be never be?

And so this month I felt inspired to generate put for an invisible and unspoken sorrow – that of others and my own.

Two different and unexpected opportunities to experiment with this idea presented themselves at the regenerative organic farm where I now live and work.

The first came after I innocently congratulated a pregnant co-worker on her wonderful news and confided, while we were alone, that she had in fact carried twins but had lost a fetus to missing twin syndrome . The conflicted expression on her face – equal parts excited brilliance and deep sadness – as she explained the medical term, told me more than the words that came out of her mouth. In other words, I saw the elephant in his heart.

As the weeks of gestation progressed, her movements became more and more limited and I made a point of stopping by the office after the market garden closed to check if she needed a back massage and a listen. A new and lovely friendship grew out of the “pain” I inflicted on her to increase her range of motion, and over time I discovered that she was a practicing Buddhist.

The paradox of her decreasing mobility was that it highlighted what she jokingly called being a bad Buddhist, that is, her own inner struggle to do nothing. This confession did this put the smile of the meditator and understood why she preferred the practice of chanting to silence. My answer? Giving her two of my favorite humorous books about Buddhism to enjoy on nights when she had trouble sleeping and needed to laugh and be reassured that doing nothing was precisely what she was being asked to practice: that of Benjamin Hoff. The Dao of the Pooh (EGMONT 2019) and that of David Michie The Dalai Lama's cat (Visions of Maison Hay 2012).

When her husband revealed that she had never had a baby shower even though she was already a mother of two, he asked for help in planning a surprise one. I said yes as much to celebrate the baby that would be born as the one that would not be born.

The others helping out in secret were mothers who had never been to a baby shower either, so we improvised as best we could. One suggested decorating the room with bunting, a typically British tradition reminiscent of raising Buddhist prayer flags. Another offered to organize a craft space for the children present. And I offered to empty the farm staff kitchen of dishes, cutlery and glasses so we could all enjoy a shareable feast.

A guest suggested that we all bring a bead to string on a necklace for the mother-to-be to wear during labor and breastfeeding to remind the mother-to-be of all those who support her and her new arrival, and this offering was is transformed into the most touching part of the celebration.

The skies opened on the big day, so the baby shower was actually a baby shower! We all huddled inside to stay dry and warm, and we in turn added our respective bead and spoke our good wish out loud. Some brought seeds, others jewelry that had meaning for them. Me? With a lot of motherhood putI added a little elephant Ganesha with a bell to help remove any obstacles in the coming weeks and as a silent nod to the endangered twin.

And then Dharma surprised me with a glimpse of an elephant in my own heart.

Regular readers have followed the ups and downs, hilarity and heartbreak of my last year and a half of WWOOFing, volunteering on organic farms. Some of the hosts and fellow volunteers I met along the way remain friends, others have disappeared, either by choice or by circumstance.

However, one of them did both.

We met during a forest management internship almost a year ago now. Whether you believe in past lives, soulmates, twin flames, or love at first sight, the feeling of familiarity upon meeting him was stronger than all of those concepts combined and unlike anything I had experienced before. What was extremely confusing at the time was being the only person in the group he avoided, often to the point of ignoring me completely.

As I sat in the role of the elephant in the room at that moment, I thought that perhaps the feeling of familiarity was mutual but perhaps uncomfortable for him rather than comforting as it was. was for me? Amidst the hundred and one mind games that our hostess played with us, as described in Metta medicinal tree et The long corridor of Metta—I decided to move away but continue to volunteer elsewhere nearby in order to continue
a gentle eye on the three vulnerable souls (one being him) that I had fallen in love with a mama bear whose protection was the best.

In the months following my departure from the woods, I often encountered him by chance or received news of his well-being from mutual friends. Distance didn't lessen the feeling of familiarity, and I often wondered why he chose to stay in such a toxic environment.

Long story short, before we can fix this particular problem put mystery, I discovered that he had left the place without telling anyone.

I normally take the ebb and flow of people in my life, but this disappearing act unexpectedly felt like a gut punch like nothing I'd ever experienced: I barely knew this man, and yet, I I had fallen in love with him somewhere along the way. line? or had my own hungry ghost filled in as many blanks as I thought I had?

As I sat with my feelings of grief, confusion, anger, sadness, and regret, no clarity emerged. And there were no mutual friends I could ask for more information or confide in to achieve some sort of closure.

Which is why I brought this unspoken loss of one of my endangered twins back to first principles and what I'm devoting writing this column to: what the elephants in my own heart still needed. put?

While this exploration is still ongoing, redirecting the inquiry toward nourishing more of my own heart put rather than a hungry ghost rather “what was that about?” The energy was both the kindest and most freeing thing I could do, both for him and for me.

And so, dear readers, whoever has disappeared from your own life, do yourself the kindness to feed the elephants rather than the hungry ghosts in your heart.

Or for put-morph the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen's song "You're Missing", written in response to all the unspoken daily losses following 11/XNUMX:

Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hallway
Mom's in the kitchen, baby and all

Everything is everything
Everything is everything

More put missing

Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, you're not there

Everything is everything
Everything is everything

More put missing

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Blackberry Picking: End-of-Season Reflections on Loss and Belonging
Let there be a loss
Master Shandao's exegesis on the deep mind: gain and loss in the two types of practices
My Journey to Sowa Rigpa – The Science of Healing

Over Metta alive by Mettamorphsis

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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