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Lions Roar : July 2019
not awakening, with not being enlightened, because, frankly, those states of being are more present in my life than not.” Rather than turn away from our despair, he asks if we can look at our pain with tenderness and say, “Can I love this too?” Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche points out that “transitions become harder as our attachments and expectations around them increase... Maybe you’ve always had one kind of relationship with your parents, but now it’s become another kind of relationship. Instead of gathering for barbecues or parties, maybe you visit them in a hospital or nursing home and hold their hands... It’s hard to transi- tion to the new phase of life if you’re still attached to the previous one.” And there’s the rub. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want my father to be the vulnerable man with dementia he’s become. I want him to still be my strong Dad. I don’t want my mother to be sick. I want her to be taking trips like she used to. And I want to lose myself in a good book again, instead of constantly dealing with care agencies and home support workers. We don’t get to choose what challenges befall us, but Buddhism reminds us that we have some say in how we respond. The next time the universe sends a formidable challenge your way, see what happens when you respond with a question: Can I love this too? ♦ DRIVING WITH MY 82-YEAR-OLD mother the other day, I was tempted to leave her by the side of the road. Not my most noble thought, but she was laying into me about everything she thought was wrong with me and the world. Earlier I had intervened when she tore a strip off a young cashier because the debit machine didn’t have a tap function and she couldn’t remember her pin number. She felt it was an abuse of seniors and told him so. I took my bodhisattva vow long before my divorced parents decided to move so they could be closer to me. If I had known how hard it would be to support them in their declining years, I might have thought twice about vowing to save all sentient beings. It’s a tall order after all, even when the person you’re trying to save isn’t a par- ent who’s pushing your buttons. And when it is, it can be downright discouraging. Buddhism teaches the four noble truths, beginning with the truth of suffering, which holds out the promise of enlighten- ment for those who walk the path. But it can feel remote and unhelpful when you’re caught up in the heavy demands that often come with supporting someone who can no longer care for themselves. In his article, “In the Moments of Non- Awakening,” Buddhist teacher Larry Yang shares a refreshing admission: “I’m much more interested in how we practice with WEEKEND WISDOM Can I Love This Too? TYNETTE DEVEAUX on how we can change our relationship to the pain of changing relationships. Weekend Wisdom features favorite selections from the Lion’s Roar Weekend Reader. Every Friday, the Reader explores important themes and highlights related articles from our archives that you can enjoy over the weekend. Go to lionsroar.com/newsletters to sign up and read the full articles referenced in this essay. TYNETTE DEVEAUX is the editor of Buddhadharma. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 29