Attraction to those close to you catches you in its currents;Aversion to those who oppose you burns inside;Indifference that ignores what needs to be done is a black hole.Leave your homeland — this is the practice of a Bodhisattva.
~The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva:A Summary of How an Awakening Being Behaves
by Tog-me Zong-po- Translation by Ken McLeod~
I was having an argument with both my Aunt and Mother when I remembered this quote from the podcast Unfettered mind( one of my favorite Buddhist podcasts). In this lesson, students of Ken Mcleod and the podcast listeners meditated on the practices of the Bodhisattva. In the lecture after meditation practice, Ken McLeod discuss how that ” Leave your Homeland” line can in some cases be taken literally. His point was that when you are stuck in a crazy family situation, it is almost impossible to kill off all your reactive nature. I have learned this the hard way. I can not count the number of times that I thought I was making great progress in my meditation practice but then a fight with my mother and I’m back to my old ways. There have also been plenty of times when some one close to me drags me kicking and screaming into some drama as if they were somehow uncomfortable with my spiritual advancement. I recall a time when I was in a deep phase of bliss for a good period of time. I was taking a mystical consciousness and a spirituality class and the constant meditation and yoga work had me bubbling over with serenity. Nothing could bother me, so when my mother would rush into my room to confront me about some issue, I was speechless. I couldn’t find one word to say to her because the trained reactions weren’t there. Strangely, although we expect that bettering ourselves will cure our relationships, this is not always the case. My smile and quietness only served to enrage her more. Her attempts to bring me into the fight failed. Yet in time the bliss faded away and I was back to old reactions.
I am reminded of a chapter in ” The Autobiography of a Yogi” where the guru’s mother was .. well…not impressed by her son’s enlightenment. She was still lecturing him about what he was doing wrong in his life and couldn’t see who her boy had grew up to be. This is another reason why leaving your homeland can be helpful because in your hometown people will always see you as who you were before. Now, we can’t all leave our homes but its healthy for our growth to get away for awhile. Go somewhere where no one knows you for even a few days. If only to see who you really might be…