Throughout the Canon and the works and Teachings of various traditions the ideal of the mother is held in the highest esteem and offered as an example of true, selfless love. In Islam, for example, it is recorded in one of the hadith that the Prophet Muhammad declared that heaven was like being at the feet of one’s mother. And, in the Karaniya Metta Sutta, the Lord Buddha exhorts us to protect the immeasurable mind of love as a mother would her only child. Now, i am fain to make crass generalizations about our culture and society, but how many of us can say that we really understand what a mother’s love really is and what it entails (you mothers have an unfair advantage here)? For how many of us is spending time with one’s mother comparable to spending time in paradise?
So, this morning, as i began sending metta to my own mother i began to realize that i was just going through the motions and that perhaps my mother deserved a little more than a cursory radiation of loving-kindness. As a result, i spent some time reflecting on the sacrifices all human mothers make for their children; the passions of childbirth; the seemingly unbending sacrifices of their time and energy. And, i realized that as a first born son, i had never given much thought to it before, almost as if i deserved it.
I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this but suffice it to say that spending time cultivating metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha for my mother had been a thoroughly worthwhile experience. Perhaps more than anything else it is the feeling of connection and deep, visceral feeling of gratitude that had been the most poignant and meaningful result of this morning’s practice.
May all mothers everywhere be well, happy and peaceful! May their sacrifices not go unnoticed and may the ever grow in the Dhamma!