I was at Spirit Rock this morning, for another gathering of the Path of Parenting class. It is quite extraordinary to attempt any sort of meditation in a room filled with the coos and cries of at least 10 infants under the age of one. But that is why were are there, that is the whole point.
Since I have a nugget who would rather wiggle his way over my legs and through my arms than lay contented on his back with some sort of distracting toy, my practice is also to remain present and listen without getting sucked into his energetic movements. But it is much more difficult when his body is so connected to my own. But I continued, with one ear in the conversation and one eye on him.
But I left today with an "ha-ha". An ha-ha of understanding, of clarity. Dukkha is a Pali word that is often simply translated into Suffering. Anyone who has studied Buddhism knows that the Buddha's first teaching is that life is Suffering. It is through the practice of meditation and mindfulness that one is able to reduce some of this suffering. Forgive this VERY simplified definition - I am a new mom with only a small window for writing.
I have heard this word Suffering over and over again, and never really connected with it. Not that I haven't suffered or experienced pain - but the word Suffering to me describes something extremely difficult and soul destroying like famine or the after affects of war. What I was experiencing from an overactive mind or from making assumptions needed a different word.
And today I heard it - pervasive unsatisfactoryness.
That's it. Its uncomfortable in these pre-pregnancy clothes that are still too tight, its annoyed that the cupboard doors are open again, its unhappy with the paint in that room or the upholstery on that chair, its dissatisfied with the monotony of motherhood. That's the suffering.
Now I get it, now I get what the Buddha was talking about.