My sons and I found a baby bunny on the side of the road. We’d been riding bikes all day and had been seeing rabbits of all kinds. Floppy ears, black bunnies, funny spotty brownish-tan ones, everywhere. I guess these people around here love releasing their pet bunnies.
It survived a couple nights.
We loved it. But, it never really recovered from whatever attacked it. There was a cut on its lip and on its nose, like it had been dragged by the face for a while by some kinda animal.
Josiah, who can be seen in this picture, named the bunny ‘See-through Camouflage’.
I haven’t told my kids yet, as they live with their mom. But, I will. We will talk about death.
Discussing Difficult Things with Children.
So far, when we talk about death, I’ve told them about ‘the Circle of Life’. I don’t want to lie about anything. I say it like it is, but I want them to understand that the issue is not decided.
“When you die, your body gets recycled into the universe. Beyond that we can’t really know, but we woke up into this lifetime– we will probably wake up again!”
I do love that line of reasoning.
I didn’t choose life, most of us won’t choose death– the force that brought consciousness to this story may remain active after death, and the unfolding of events that brought this particular stream of awareness into existence may unfold in a similar way again at some point in the infinite expanses of beginningless eternity.
I actually believe that it is possible, as has been claimed, that some of us are able to retain memories of past lives. The western model of reality is lacking, modern physics is light-years beyond common understanding. The common cosmology is horribly outdated. Consciousness plays a huge role in the unfolding of reality.
In a bunch of places throughout the earliest Buddhist texts we find mention of a surprisingly modern cosmology. In Buddha’s creation stories we hear of universes that constantly expand and contract.
Seems scientists today are concluding that the universe is on a runaway expansion, ‘expanding to death’.
But, who knows what the eff is going on with black holes?!
A black hole, in itself, is universal contraction. The singularity produced by this super super steep dip in spaceTime is eerily similar to the singularity that has been proposed to exist prior to the big bang.
Stephen Hawking and the Gang propose that something came from nothing, and no matter [pun?] how you slice that delusion-cake, you’ll get a mouth full of bullshit if you eat it up.
Tangent: Santa Claus.
The mother of my children and I decided to skip the whole ‘Santa’ thing.
It’s funny. I’ve told Josiah over and over that Santa is ‘just a story’, but the fever is contagious! His cousins’ excitement, who do believe, must be carrying over. Peer pressure is already influencing his beliefs.
He knows its all a story, that Santa is like his favorite characters in his favorite stories, but he told me that he doesn’t want Santa to be a story. I told him that’s OK, too. And it is.
Awwwww. His first ‘willful suspension of disbelief’. So cute 🙂
In the end, I think it’s best to just present facts and let kids come to their own conclusion. It’s not like I’m running around filling his head with horror stories, but when he asks hard questions, I tell him the truth as gently as I can. For now, with this Santa thing, I’ll let him ride the wave of excitement, with the subterranean awareness that it’s all for fun.
Elliott, my younger son, just doesn’t really care yet 🙂 He is 2.
My boys can celebrate however they want to celebrate, but as his parent, I’m not ashamed to show him another vision of the world. I want him to have a rational understanding of who Jesus is, and what Santa Claus is, not because I’m some sterile materialist, but because clear-thinking is our greatest defense against the forces of wickedness in the world.
Rigorously clear thinking surpasses what the masses have come to call ‘science’. Scio is the latin root. It entails ‘knowing to the fullest possible extent’. True science does not involve faith in the assertion of celebrity scientists. Science is self-destructive because all intellectual assertions are necessarily incomplete and inaccurate representations of a truly dynamic reality. Old theories are discarded in the light of new evidence. The science of definite answers is dead, God is dead, the Scions of Scio abide with a no-mind that has foundation nowhere, on nothing. Welcome to the land of probabilities of probabilities.
Yeah, the bunny died. I have been really sad. I was just beginning to allow myself to feel stoked that it might live. I woke up to feed it formula stuff, and it was stiff and cold. I let the sadness crush my heart. I noticed the crushing sensation. I noticed the pain of loss. I noticed the future-tripping I was doing, thinking of how the bunny ‘should’ have lived in order to satisfy my desire to have a bunny friend and to live out the full of potential of its precious bunny life.
Everything you love will die. You will die.
Does that mean you should hide from life? Should you hide from all pleasure? No.
Don’t hide from life, women, pleasure, feelings.
Don’t hide from anything. This is the practice of the Laymonk.
Buddha encouraged us to find the pleasure that does not produce addiction. If we do not grasp addictive pleasure, we do not suffer when those addictive pleasures are gone. There is a pleasure beyond beyond beyond. There is pleasure in pure gnosis. It is a pleasure that does not diminish. It is a pleasure that increases when shared.
The Buddha was not special because of his practice of extreme austerity– no, he was Buddha because of his realization that there is a kind of pleasure that is conducive to liberation, and that this pleasure is only achieved when the body has what is necessary for it. Not more, not less. This is his ‘middle path’.
This middle path applies to all human endeavors.
Love the Bunnies.
Love bunnies. Love them with all your heart. But, don’t let your love be a delusive and addictive love. Even with a perfect love, there will still be the pain of loss. As one who is practicing constant awareness, you don’t pretend you aren’t sad when your loved one departs.
But, in neither case — as a happy lover, or a sad lover– do you foolishly cling to the perception.
And, don’t kid yourself. To emote is human. To remain mindful is the practice of Bodhisattvas. To perfectly comprehend and control Mind is Buddha.
The loved-one comes and you honor her presence, she leaves and you bid her farewell. This is the most difficult practice you will ever encounter.
Sitting in the meditation hall, hiding from chaotic transformation, is nothing compared to the real-life maneuvering necessary to get by in day-to-day living with clear compassionate intention boundless, formless, compassion.