Become a calmer and happier mother with Buddhism for Mothers.
parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil for a woman. Yet parenting books invariably focus on nurturing children rather than the mothers who struggle to raise them. This book is different. It is a book for mothers.
Buddhism for Mothers explores the potential to be with your children in the all-important present moment, to gain the most joy out of being with them-calmly and with a minimum of anger, worry and negative thinking.
Using Buddhist practices, Sarah Napthali offers ways of coping with the day-to-clay challenges of motherhood. Ways that also allow space for deeper reflections about who we are, what makes us happy and all of the sorrows and joys of mothering. This is Buddhism at its most accessible, applied to the daily realities of ordinary parents.
Even if exploring Buddhism at this busy stage of your life is not where you thought you'd be, it's well worthwhile reading this book. It can make a difference.
Sarah Napthali is a mother of two young boys who strives to apply Buddhist teachings in her daily life. Buddhism for Mothers has sold over 100,000 copies around the world and been translated into many languages. Sarah has also written Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children and Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren. Since the children started school, Sarah is very pleased to report that she manages to meditate (almost) daily.
AT THE AGE OF 24 I was living in Jakarta, Indonesia, teaching English. In 1991 Jakarta was an uncomfortable city where you spent hours sitting in traffic breathing air thick with pollution. Frustrations abounded: phones never worked, the immense noise level of 10 million people seldom dropped and as a foreigner you constantly dodged hawkers, beggars, taxi drivers and the curious. Open sewerage canals lined the streets. At first 1 loved the way this city contrasted with home-its ceaseless buzz, the sensory feast-but eventually, as is the pattern, culture shock set in and I handled it gracelessly.
Although Indonesia is predominantly Moslem, I chanced on a book by an Englishman, Guy Claxton, called The Heart of Buddhism-Practical Irrudom for an Agitated World. Never had I read such radical material and 1 started highlighting the most inspiring points. My highlighter soon ran out. I urged friends to read the book so I could explore the issues with others-and over the years I have kept returning to it.
The teaching that first struck me with its potential to stir up my life was that humans tend to live in a state of complete delusion. We assume that the way we see the world, the people in it and ourselves, is the way iris. Buddhism teaches that our perceptions are way off the mark and lead us to waste energy striving for an illusory happiness. I could immediately apply this to my bout of culture shock I could take a fresh look at the irritations around me, see them in new ways and respond differently. Daily annoyances suddenly had the potential to teach me.
Buddhism encourages us to become aware of all our perceptions, thoughts and beliefs, to overcome the misconceptions that ensure our suffering. Learning to be aware of the workings of our minds we find the power to transform our experience of life. In the words of the Buddha:
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
According to Buddhist teachings, our capacity for happiness depends on the state of our minds. And as there is no God-figure in Buddhism, responsibility for managing our minds and reshaping our worlds lies completely in our own hands.
For years The Heart of Buddhism constituted my whole under-standing of Buddhism until eventually I started to read more widely.
I dabbled in Buddhist meditation techniques but was more enchanted by Buddhism as a philosophy than as a practice. I certainly benefited from using Buddhism as a philosophy-the only problem was that it was never supposed to be a philosophy. Rather than being an additional compartment of our lives, true Buddhism is something you practise every moment you can remember to.
In my twenties I could never quite believe that closing my eyes and concentrating on the rise and fall of my breath could be a productive use of my time. I wanted to get things done, to meet people, develop my brain, improve my skills-and have plenty of fun. Although these pursuits were often enjoyable, eventually I lost contact with most of the people I'd met and forgot most of what I'd learned. With hindsight I now realise I would have benefited more from concentrating on spiritual development, for I would now be further along a spiritual path.
When I came to live a drastically different lifestyle in my child-rearing thirties, Buddhism became even more relevant. I wanted to be a wise mother, yet often caught myself thinking and behaving in ways I wasn't proud of. I felt the need, especially for my children's sake, to become a more virtuous person: more patient, more compassionate and more positive in outlook. I knew this couldn't happen through mere wishing-it would take commitment and discipline.
So I started to take spiritual development more seriously. As a mother of one running a business from home, this was challenging and I have to admit to the odd month where I failed to give matters spiritual any attention at all. At other times I found opportunities to meditate daily. Still, I longed to go away on silent retreats for inten-sive periods of meditation. As a new mother such chunks of time weren't available, but I could still see that combining the spiritual and the day-to-day was powerfid. My irregular meditation practice did make me calmer and more positive. Applying Buddhist teachings did freshen my outlook and make my life run more smoothly.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Language & Literature (443)
Sacred Sites (102)
Tantric Buddhism (87)
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