The Improvisation of Bodhichitta

Posted by  GeoffBrown —March 20, 2010
Filed in Being Present, Just observations, Yes!And Improv

I sit at home with the sound of my 3 boys breathing, deep in sleep. And 150km away at the her parent’s home in Melbourne, my wife is suffering the horrible pain that comes with an ear infection. Not just any ear infection, this one is hideous with intolerable pain despite a healthy mix of high end medications.

I can’t sleep and so I write from the heart and try to notice this time and the events of the past 2 days. One things stands above all else … the love and kindness of people around us.

As I begin to read ‘The Places That Scare You’ by Pema Chodron, I am introduced to ‘bodhichitta’, a word that may be easier to understand than translate.

“Bodhichitta is also equated, in part, with compassion – our ability to feel that pain that we share with others.” P. Chodron


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The couple next door to us have 2 girls. Our boys have known them all their lives. They have become more than friends. Their girls are like our son’s sisters – their relationships and care for each other flows deep. What we share is an ability to sense the pain and struggle in each other. We provide support and care for each other in just the right measure.

And whilst the links between my story and ‘awakening bodhichitta’ are tenuous at best, what I feel right now is an innate love and care from those around me. An offer to be part of an emotional and unpredictable journey. In some ways, it’s an offer to improvise together – to be average, to say yes, to do something and let-go of where things will end up.

Something has happened in our life that is big enough to disrupt the normal flow of things. I feel a deeper sense of connection to friends and family and a ‘letting-go’ of a whole heap of other stuff! Stuff that can simply wait … stuff that is noise and is my ego.

Now I am ready for sleep.


  1. Mark Boulet says:

    Hey Geoff,

    A beautiful post. As my own connections with Clare (my wife) grew deeper, and we then had our two girls (Lylah is sitting on my lap in her pyjama’s and ugg boots as I type this) the scarier life seemed to be at times. You realise how much of your own happiness is connected to the well being of others and how vulnerable that all is to sickness etc.
    In a shallow way, life seemed less scary when I was flying solo! But for all their scariness at times, the deep bonds with my family and friends nourish and support, and this actually helps me to let go and to love even more deeply.
    All the best to you and your family during this tough time. Hope your wife makes a fast recovery. Please let me know if there is anything we could do to help.

    1. GeoffBrown says:

      Thanks Mark for your own words here.

      Glad to report that overnight the signs are good and things are improving. A great relief for everyone.

      The big lesson here (for us anyway) is to trust your own gut feeling on how things are progressing. Don’t have blind faith in the expertise of professionals because they don’t have access to the whole story. Persist and keep asking questions and listen to your own intuition.


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