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Action, Karma

Tonight my daughter had a rough night.  Every time we put her down to sleep she would start howling as she was lowered into her crib.  We picked her up, rocked her until she was drowsing and again she’d start howling as she was lowered into her crib.  I tried this 4 times.  I could have let her cry it out.  She would have survived.  I asked my husband what we should do, did he think she was in pain?  He said that he thought she just needed to be held tonight.  Holding is the answer.  I said okay.  My husband went to bed and I stayed up and held and rocked my daughter for an hour.

And it made me think about the difference between good intentions and the right actions.  Good intentions without action would have tried a few times and then left her crying while hoping for the best.  Right action was giving my daughter what she wanted and needed to the absolute best of my ability.

I spend a lot of time thinking that I am not doing a good enough job as a mother.  I understand intellectually that that is part of our culture.  Mothering in our culture is a job with impossibly high standards.  Tonight I understand that what matters is my actions.  Regardless of my thoughts and feelings, taking action to meet my daughters needs is what makes me a good mother.  Actions determine who we are.  Actions change our thoughts and feelings.  Actions help or harm the people around us.  Sure, intentions can influence actions, but actions hold the power.

I used to think that intentions mattered as much as — or even more than– actions.  This was a nice intellectual/philosophical perspective.  I thought that our mental/emotional attitudes awere what determined our happiness and were how our karma was embedded in our mind stream.  As a parent, this perspective is no longer practical.  An actual person is deeply affected by my physical actions.  I am in turn re-created from the outcomes of my actions (in terms of my mind as well as my environment and my relationships).

I am a good parent in accordance with my actions.  Though actions I become.

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