I have a baby and I haven’t slept well for eight months. I am totally exhausted and the child is often sick. I want to give him love, but I am so tired that I fear I’ll drop from exhaustion.
Lama Ole’s answer:
I am also working up to my limits all the time. Often I arrive at some place, meet all my friends, and am eager to talk to them. But I know that if I don’t lie down for an hour first, I’ll give a very boring lecture later because I would tell the same thing again and again due to fatigue.
But it is also possible to use pain as a source of energy. Several times I have only made it through a lecture because I had pain as a driving force. I remember that once I extended a lecture a lot because the police were standing outside and wanted to talk to me about the car I came with. And since they didn’t want to interrupt the lecture, I extended it more and more until they left. I was so tired that I could hardly keep my eyes open. But my boots were too tight and that pain enabled me to hold out.
I believe it was the actor Laurence Olivier who recommended always keeping a stone in your shoe when you have to learn something. This painful pressure was a point of reference for him from which he could gain strength. If your eyes hurt, then be aware of them and pull the energy of the pain out from them. If your back hurts, then be aware of it and use it as an energy source.
In your case, it would be best for you to use your motherly love as a source of strength. This is actually what two billion mothers in the world do in exactly the same way at this very moment. Try to draw strength from your motherly love and experience.
Always find whatever is strongest and get energy from there. Whatever thoughts appear, put them to use. Enrich yourself through your experiences. Start from a rich perspective and never from a poor one. We create our own lives; we ourselves determine what happens. Take the way of identification—it is the fastest and most direct.
On the outer level, avoid anything that could lead to difficult dreams and experiences. Avoid real hostilities and big problems, for example, by never borrowing a lot of money. Then, on the inner level, it is about developing compassion and wisdom. Compassion means thinking of others so much that one has no more time for oneself and that one also truly recognizes and experiences the wish for happiness for all beings. Wisdom means not taking things personally anymore: awakening to the fact that such things happen to everybody at some time.
And on the highest level, one identifies directly with the buddhas. All our meditations work in exactly the same way. After a twenty minute meditation, everything is not how it was before. When coming out of the meditation, one goes into a pure world: Everybody is a buddha whether they know it or not. Everything is inherently pure, with all qualities and possibilities. It is important to experience everything from a level of surplus. And that means not just meditating but also acting like a buddha as much possible. Also after the meditation, the partner is too chubby, the dog still barks, the children are still unruly, and the boss is still insufferable. But one experiences all this in a different way. It is important to experience a pure level when coming out of the meditation.