Strategies for the Householder

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2215
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Strategies for the Householder

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:03 am

Hello All,

I wanted to get a feel for some of the ways in which those of you who are married or in a relationship with a significant other and have child or children deal with the aversion and sometimes out-right ill-will that comes up from time to time. Specifically, I wanted to hear how people have negotiated the treacherous territory of being physically and emotionally drained but finding oneself in a disagreement about childcare or other domestic issues. I know I'm failing miserably here at explaining myself but what I'm trying to get at is this: there are times when I have no clarity of mind and not much energy to speak of but my wife and I still need to decide how we're going to divide the labor to put the kids to bed, do the dishes, etc...all after a hard day's work and school for myself and an equally hard day of mothering and taking care of the home for her. It's often at these times that we will get into to arguments and I find I am overwhelmed by aversion and anger. Fortunately, I am often able to restrain myself but I'd like to do better so I was hoping to get some advice from fellow upasakas and upasikas. I apologize in advance for my lack of clarity and parsimony and look forward to any replies. Be well!

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
Monkey Mind
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Monkey Mind » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:59 am

My partner, who is not Buddhist, joined me today to provide a dana meal to the monastics who have been my teachers... It went very well. I have been answering questions all day about "why this? why that?"

I think your question is about integration. How do we integrate the different parts of our life? The lesson I learned today: it begins with a willingness to try to integrate...
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

Reductor
Posts: 1382
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Reductor » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:32 am

I would recommend a fixed routine with fixed duties. It may suck, for example, to come home all bleary eyed only so that you have to wash the dishes: but it'll remove a significant source of contention. Trying to sort out who does what in the midst of household chaos only adds to the chaos, and the hard feelings.

Of course there will still be reason for discontent on many occasions, but by removing time constraints from the solving process you reduce the intensity of everyone's emotions. Then you can talk things out over the course of days, rather than minutes; and you can choose occasions for talk where you're both rested and in balanced states of mind.

User avatar
Virgo
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Virgo » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:50 am

I would recommend good food including milk and ghee.

Kevin

rowyourboat
Posts: 1952
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by rowyourboat » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:17 pm

Virgo wrote:I would recommend good food including milk and ghee.

Kevin
Sorry Kevin, what?
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2215
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:12 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm not quite sure what to make of the milk and ghee however. I should have simply asked for people's favorite methods of dealing with anger and resentment in vivo but, instead, I ended up with a barely cogent paragraph which took too long to get the point. So, sorry and I'd really be interested to hear you elaborate on your advice Virgo. Thanks and metta to all.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
Virgo
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Virgo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:01 pm

rowyourboat wrote:
Virgo wrote:I would recommend good food including milk and ghee.

Kevin
Sorry Kevin, what?
LOL, good food, milk, and ghee, just like I said. : P

Kevin

User avatar
Virgo
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Virgo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:15 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm not quite sure what to make of the milk and ghee however. I should have simply asked for people's favorite methods of dealing with anger and resentment in vivo but, instead, I ended up with a barely cogent paragraph which took too long to get the point. So, sorry and I'd really be interested to hear you elaborate on your advice Virgo. Thanks and metta to all.

Mike
Hi Mike,

I hope things are going well. I would be pleased to expand on it. First of all, you sound like your battery is running low. When you have a full-time job, kids, household responsibilities, and stresses and strains in your relationships, it can really run you down. The average American diet (I see you like in New York Mike) can not always support that. When you have fresh, healthy foods you feel more energetic and grounded. You have more energy to deal with the stresses and workload on your hands. In Ayurveda fresh food is especially stressed. Recooked foods, processed foods, etc., still provide some nutrition but don't have all the energy of freshly prepared meals that are heavy in fruits and vegetables. Changing your diet can have a big impact on your energy levels and lead to more mental clarity to deal with the stresses. You need everything you can get to keep you from getting stressed and/or angered.

Milk, according to Ayurveda, is extremely regenerative. When you feel run down and fatigued milk should be your resource. In my experience this is true and it can help to revamp your body and energy levels. Milk, especially whole milk (which is what I recommend here) is hard to digest, it also has a lot of fat. Bad digestion will lead to toxins in your body and just make you feel fatigued and heavy. Toxins accumulate in your body when food is not digested properly and the nutrition needed is not taken from the foods. You should avoid milk at night as digestion is weaker then. It is best taken at mid-day between 10am and 2 O'clock when digestion is strongest. It should also be boiled first, just for a moment because boiling helps to break down the amino acids, making it much easier on your body (Milk boils at a lower temperature than water so boil it in a pot, stovetop, at medium heat. It only needs to be boiled for a moment. Let it cool before drinking. You can also boil it down with some spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, etc. to help aid with digesting it. A whole glass of whole milk not prepared properly can wreak havoc on a digestive system).

Ghee has many benefits and it is extremely restorative. It is clarified butter that is prepared by cooking butter on low heat until the solids separate. Ghee is almost free of impurities such as fat and bad cholesterol. It will aid digestion, restore your body just like milk, aid elimination, and bring mental clarity. Much is said about ghee in Ayurvedic Indian medicine. You should look into it. It was taken as a medicine by monks.

Having the right diet means more energy, more regeneration, a clearer mind, and being more grounded. All of those factors help you deal with the current stresses and keep a cool head, instead of blowing your lid or getting run down and letting your life-force deteriorate.

All the best,

Kevin

User avatar
andre9999
Posts: 465
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:04 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI, US
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by andre9999 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:54 pm

Virgo wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:
Virgo wrote:I would recommend good food including milk and ghee.

Kevin
Sorry Kevin, what?
LOL, good food, milk, and ghee, just like I said. : P

Kevin
I don't typically laugh while I read posts here, but that was really good.

User avatar
andre9999
Posts: 465
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:04 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI, US
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by andre9999 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:02 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:metta to all.
I simply suggest more of this. When I feel resentment toward my wife, I simply stop that spiral of thoughts. Instead, I replace it with thoughts about wanting my wife to be happy, safe, etc.

I have nothing else to offer. Sometimes things aren't even and life isn't fair. And sometimes, she may be doing things for you or your family that you aren't even aware of.

There are many things you can do, but in my experience this is always a good base to build on.

- Andre

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2215
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:40 am

Virgo wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm not quite sure what to make of the milk and ghee however. I should have simply asked for people's favorite methods of dealing with anger and resentment in vivo but, instead, I ended up with a barely cogent paragraph which took too long to get the point. So, sorry and I'd really be interested to hear you elaborate on your advice Virgo. Thanks and metta to all.

Mike
Hi Mike,

I hope things are going well. I would be pleased to expand on it. First of all, you sound like your battery is running low. When you have a full-time job, kids, household responsibilities, and stresses and strains in your relationships, it can really run you down. The average American diet (I see you like in New York Mike) can not always support that. When you have fresh, healthy foods you feel more energetic and grounded. You have more energy to deal with the stresses and workload on your hands. In Ayurveda fresh food is especially stressed. Recooked foods, processed foods, etc., still provide some nutrition but don't have all the energy of freshly prepared meals that are heavy in fruits and vegetables. Changing your diet can have a big impact on your energy levels and lead to more mental clarity to deal with the stresses. You need everything you can get to keep you from getting stressed and/or angered.

Milk, according to Ayurveda, is extremely regenerative. When you feel run down and fatigued milk should be your resource. In my experience this is true and it can help to revamp your body and energy levels. Milk, especially whole milk (which is what I recommend here) is hard to digest, it also has a lot of fat. Bad digestion will lead to toxins in your body and just make you feel fatigued and heavy. Toxins accumulate in your body when food is not digested properly and the nutrition needed is not taken from the foods. You should avoid milk at night as digestion is weaker then. It is best taken at mid-day between 10am and 2 O'clock when digestion is strongest. It should also be boiled first, just for a moment because boiling helps to break down the amino acids, making it much easier on your body (Milk boils at a lower temperature than water so boil it in a pot, stovetop, at medium heat. It only needs to be boiled for a moment. Let it cool before drinking. You can also boil it down with some spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, etc. to help aid with digesting it. A whole glass of whole milk not prepared properly can wreak havoc on a digestive system).

Ghee has many benefits and it is extremely restorative. It is clarified butter that is prepared by cooking butter on low heat until the solids separate. Ghee is almost free of impurities such as fat and bad cholesterol. It will aid digestion, restore your body just like milk, aid elimination, and bring mental clarity. Much is said about ghee in Ayurvedic Indian medicine. You should look into it. It was taken as a medicine by monks.

Having the right diet means more energy, more regeneration, a clearer mind, and being more grounded. All of those factors help you deal with the current stresses and keep a cool head, instead of blowing your lid or getting run down and letting your life-force deteriorate.

All the best,

Kevin
Kevin,

Thank you much for the advice. I'll definitely try it out and let you know what the results are. Mettaya! :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2215
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:42 am

andrer9999 wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:metta to all.
I simply suggest more of this. When I feel resentment toward my wife, I simply stop that spiral of thoughts. Instead, I replace it with thoughts about wanting my wife to be happy, safe, etc.

I have nothing else to offer. Sometimes things aren't even and life isn't fair. And sometimes, she may be doing things for you or your family that you aren't even aware of.

There are many things you can do, but in my experience this is always a good base to build on.

- Andre
Andre,

Definitely good advice. Metta bhavana is my main kammaṭṭhāna and has been for some time but it always helps to be reminded. If it can't yet be used off the cushion it just means I have a lot more work to do. Thanks and mettaya! :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1 ... 279&v=info
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
Virgo
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Virgo » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:07 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:I'll definitely try it out and let you know what the results are. Mettaya! :anjali:
Let me know how it comes out.

Kevin

Hoo
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by Hoo » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:00 pm

I have adopted a practice of going last, or going second, but not first. I found that my anger was fueled by "me first, The King, What I want and MY way." Chosing to not go first has helped me weaken my ego demands and left room for new ways. I like to keep it simple so I now ask myself just which of the Four Immeasurables I am being, Kind, Compassionate, Joyful for others, or Equanimous. But my basic approach is to not place my wishes first.

Asking myself, "is it really important that this be done my way?" is an eye-opener. :) Please note that I am now retired and the kids are grown and gone. I don't have as many or as frequent challenges as younger couples face. If I did, I'm sure there would be many more opportunities to practice this - chuckle.

If the floor needed vaccumning, I used to leave it for the wife. Since coming to Buddhism, I try to simply get out the vac and go to it. Ditto making meals, picking up and cleaning up, etc. Over time we settled into a pretty much agreed routine of things I take on and things she takes on. We communicate better and don't have the sense of needing to "protect" our vulnerable "selves"

She comments sometimes that she used to be the kind one and now I am. I am quick to point out that her kindness is what makes mine possible...she is my hero that I emulate. If I am really tired out or not feeling well, I ask her if she will help me by doing such and such instead of my doing it. She is free to do the same. Instead of self interest, we tend now to operate in kindness and compassion for the other.

This approach of going second or last works for me in traffic, in lines at the store, with service people who are working check-out or repairs, etc. I don't make a big thing of it and kindly accept their wish if they insist I go first.

Hoo

User avatar
andre9999
Posts: 465
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:04 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI, US
Contact:

Re: Strategies for the Householder

Post by andre9999 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:28 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Definitely good advice. Metta bhavana is my main kammaṭṭhāna and has been for some time but it always helps to be reminded. If it can't yet be used off the cushion it just means I have a lot more work to do. Thanks and mettaya! :anjali:
One of the tricks I use to help be non-reactive off-cushion is that when the other person is pushing my buttons, I try to realize that their unskillful reactions are their own problem to work on. It's not too far from a feeling of pity, but it helps me realize that the other person is human too, and flawed just like I am.

I'd say it works for me 75% of the time, which buys me a few minutes to think of a more proper way to respond than emotionally or defensively.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 36 guests