Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 04/07/2013

Being Human

An icon illustrating a parent and child

I had wanted to write more yesterday about my own struggles to parent and parent well but by the time I had that opportunity it was far too late and I simply didn’t have the strength to do so. In simple terms, I am often torn between what I (perhaps uncharitably) consider my selfish desires for seclusion and contemplative space and the demands my wife and children put on my time. I realize even as I write this that this is yet another manifestation of delusion–there is no magic formula, no correct ratio of hours spent alone in contemplation versus hours spent at soccer practice or  at the park. So where does that leave me?

To be honest, the best I have come up with is a general idea of how to meet the challenge but it has yet to be realized in anything concrete.   It seems that the best way to undertake the myriad duties, chores and obligations of the home life would be to do so with a heart full of metta, karuna, mudita or upekkha but saying so doesn’t really amount to much. How does one put that into practice at the park when you’re watching two little ones zip hither and thither (almost always in opposite directions) while trying to help them navigate the maze of social interactions with other children and parents? How do you maintain a compassionate perception when your daughter has been crying on and off for an hour because she wants mami to come home? How do you maintain your equanimity when you have been up since 4:15am, worked all day and come home to an angry wife and unruly kids?

The only sensible answer I can come up with is that I just keep practicing and remembering to forgive myself (often) for being human. More than anything else I feel it is regret and remorse over the unskillful things I have said, done or thought that haunt me and darken my mind. May we all have hearts filled with forgiveness and may we never cease from our practice until we have reached our goal of total liberation!


  1. Remember that your wife and your children are on their own journey towards happiness, as are you. We all want to be happy. Fully engage in each moment you are in and remember that being human is a gift, not something for which you have to forgive yourself. Direct some metta to yourself.

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