Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Om Mani Padme Hum

Long story... The short version is that this is (or might be) the mantra of compassion. I need some. The world needs some.

I took a friend to the hospital this morning for some routine tests. This friend had a brain bleed about two years ago now and almost died during an angiogram. She just didn't come back from the anasthesia. So she was quite frightened of the anesthesia this time. We had discussed how pain reception could be distinct from consciousness and she could have pain management without losing consciousness. She knew how she was going to advocate for herself. Everything had been arranged in advance. All was well. The doctor chose to use general anasthetic anyway. She's fine, but that is SO NOT THE POINT. I almost feel sorry for the doctor. After I picked her up, I unleashed a hailstorm of non-compassion on his unsuspecting head. It's not my job. It's not my place in her life. It was a dumb thing to do.

And it set the tone for the whole day. The opposite of Om Mani Padme Hum is opening a can of whoop-ass, apparently. Many, many cans, I'm afraid. I was a walking testimony to the importance of meditation, or an object lesson as to what happens when you don't, anyway. This is not the day to mess with me.

Probably all spiritual traditions wrestle with compassion in everyday life. Certainly my own does and Buddhism does as well. I know what they say. But possibly the only sensible thing that the priest said last Sunday(wait... I could probably phrase that more compassionately... oh never mind.) is that it's in the end not possible to understand one's way to enlightenment. Damn.

Here's what today reminded me of. A life without a quiet center can become destructive. Quiet is necessary but insufficient. I have plenty of quiet these days. What I lack is a connection with my center. For me, that's meditation, prayer, liturgy, yoga -all tempered with the quick wit and deep love of my family. It's back to the mat for me. Tomorrow I'm starting over. Perhaps I can do my bit to create a world that's a smidge better than it was when I woke up.

Om mani padme hum.


Lisa :-] said...

Personally, Andrea, I think that doctor deserved every ounce of whoop-ass you threw at him. Compassion is a lovely concept, but it has its place, as does...slapping someone upside the head when necessary.

sabellaK said...

I completely agree with Lisa.