Today I noticed a discomfort I could not hold for very long and I backed away.I was helping proctor an exam. In that room was the aunt of a 13 month old infant who was thrown across the room by the 24 YO boyfriend of the baby's mother, "out of frustration." The baby suffered a skull fracture and the boyfriend just put the baby back in the crib, telling no one what had he had done. The baby died yesterday after being taken off of life support.
I thought about this as I walked around the room watching for signs of cheating. Following Buddhist tradition, I began the practice of breathing in the grief I imagine that family was suffering around the loss of this precious life. I thought about all the hopes and dreams the mother must have had for her child and how none of that will happen now. I thought of the ache in that mother's heart, the emptiness that she will carry. The second part of this exercise is to breath out whatever you think this mother and her family might need (for me this becomes a form of prayer). Comfort and peace were two of the things I thought of. There are so very few words you can say to someone in a situation like this. But my imagination of their suffering was too vivid and my eyes welled up with tears and I had to back away from my thoughts. I could not hold that pain.
Lately I've noticed there is much suffering in the world.
Another thing I've noticed today is that one doesn't always get to choose what one notices.