I’m rocking in a rocking chair facing the window. The sun is streaming in. My wife is propped up on the couch with her laptop, notebook sprawled out beside her, taking a take-home test in her final year of rabbinical school. She’s streaming ambient piano music from the TV speakers, filling the room. The TV is covered with a red and orange tapestry. My feet are bare, and the cold air on them feels refreshing. It’s Sunday morning. I’ve had my coffee, done my reading, and now I’m writing on the tablet on my lap. Between my arms, held fast by a length of stretchy, gray fabric wrapped around my body, my daughter is asleep on my chest.
She’s been here less than three weeks. It’s been so amazing — so unprecedented — that I can’t believe I was able to anticipate anything about it, but I was right about what it meant for my practice. Caring for a newborn baby is not easy, but doing it makes spiritual practice the easiest thing in the world.
My daughter has become the avatar for holiness. She has annihilated any question of priority. The practice in its guise as seated meditation for 30 minutes did not always make clear to me that it was the highest priority in my life. The practice in its guise as caring for my luminous newborn daughter is my only priority. In each moment, I have a choice: Say no and be in hell, or say yes and be in heaven. Saying yes is doing the practice. Doing the practice is changing the diaper, washing the hair, putting on the onesie, giving her a fingertip to comfort herself while her mother is in the bath. I can’t even remember what the unmindful mind is like.