I’m taking a class on mindful parenting, and a recent passage in our assigned reading struck a serious chord. It was about the concept of “the sacred pause,” from a book called Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach. The idea is that by stopping to “become wholeheartedly present” in the current moment, you open your mind to new possibilities, “increased ability to make choices,” and creative ways to respond to the demands of life.
The idea itself resonated: As a parent--and frankly just as a person living in this mad modern world of ours--there's no doubt I could use more sacred pausing in my life.
My mini revelation two pages later: Masturbation.
It doesn’t quite fit Brach’s exact definition, but masturbation embodies the spirit of the sacred pause more than almost anything I can imagine. While I don’t “discontinue whatever [I am] doing,” I do discontinue just about everything else. In those moments, it’s nearly impossible not to lose myself in the present. Thoughts subside, and I’m aware of nothing but the sensation of my body.
Does it mean I have to start spending the blissful after-moments thinking about my kids and how to be a better parent? Um, no. But if masturbation is a form of sacred pause, might it help chip away at the clutter, clear my mind, and leave me just a bit more ready to face parenting--and everything else in my life--with renewed patience, new ideas, and a rosier outlook?
It’s certainly going to be enjoyable finding out.