Finding Venerable Mother by Cindy Rasicot

Finding Venerable Mother by Cindy Rasicot

Author:Cindy Rasicot
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: She Writes Press
Published: 2020-05-14T16:00:00+00:00

As afternoon transitioned into evening, Nancy and I headed to the eating area for dinner. Afterwards we joined the others for evening chanting and meditation. Seated in silent meditation, I heard shuffling. Opening my eyes slightly, I saw Nancy stand up and wander out. My stomach tightened. I wanted to yell, What the hell? But Dhammananda always said we poison ourselves with our anger, so I admonished myself even as the anger continued to rise up inside me. Why are you upset? Stop taking it personally. Let go and let her be. This is not about you. Partly selfish on my part, I didn’t want Nancy’s disrespectful behavior to reflect back on me. I felt like a little girl in a tantrum. I wanted Nancy to be spiritual like me so I could feel good about myself. Instead, she had the audacity to be her own person with separate needs and desires. I wandered back to our room, irritated and grumbling to myself, Why did I bring her in the first place?

Later that night I questioned myself. What fueled my anger? A wise person once told me that anger can be a cover for shame. My shame stemmed from the deeply held belief that something was wrong with me. I always looked to others for validation when, in reality, I didn’t know how to love myself. If I stepped back and looked at the situation dispassionately, I had to admit that Nancy’s strength of character impressed me. Tired of meditating, she got up and left. While I ran around placating everyone, she moved to the rhythm of her own beat. Maybe Nancy had something to teach me. Finally, in a moment of clarity, I realized that Nancy wasn’t there to accommodate my needs; whatever she did or did not do had nothing to do with my self-worth. I breathed a sigh of relief, finally able to let go.

The rest of our time spent at the temple passed quickly. During the early morning alms round the next day, I watched Nancy dart in and out of the procession taking photographs. Not wanting to be distracted, I concentrated on my breathing. One step inhale, one step exhale. With each step I imagined roots growing out the soles of my feet, connecting to the earth, grounding me in my experience. The remainder of our time at the temple, I continued to focus on myself. Throughout breakfast I remained silent, even though Nancy and I sat together. After breakfast, I chanted and meditated with the other women. I even lost track of Nancy until it was time to leave at midday. I found her seated near the front office, waiting with her overnight bag. As we watched for our driver, I asked Nancy to pull out her camera so I could look at the photos. It was a collage of our experiences—beautiful shots of Dhammananda accepting flowers from devotees on alms round, a child putting an offering of rice into Dhammananda’s bowl, a picture


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