by Hanuman Das: Lord Krishna tells us in Chapter six of The Bhagavad Gita that is a fortunate birth to be born into a family of Yogis. Why is it fortunate?
The grace of being born into a Yogic environment is that those around do not only see the child as a little boy or girl.
They do not see those born of their sperm and ovum as their offspring, as a project to shape and mould to fit into their own image or the culturally acceptable standard.
Instead, the Yogic parent sees another Soul who has joined them in a sacred agreement to Awaken, and who has agreed to play the role of child while you play the role of parent.
The conscious or yogic parent perceives on two levels. They see that the child that comes through them requires certain physical protections, nurturing, education, etc. They also see that behind the veil of offspring is a soul just like them, running off karma, to reunite with the divine oneness, to yoke.
Imagine before you are born, you are sitting with the “Karmic Council” discussing your next incarnation. You tell them you have issues around lust, greed, anger to deal with and you then discuss what will be the optimal environment to clear some, or all of our karmic slate. Being born into a male or female form, being born into wealth or poverty, whether to parent or not, single parent, separated parent, which roles will facilitate this karmic purge? Then having found the correct environment, we incarnate and the divine play (Lila) begins.
I saw this divine play most clearly when my previous wife and I separated.
I was deeply saddened by the ending of a 20-year relationship, however, I was distraught with the idea that the kids would grow up as children of a broken family. I knew that I would recover and that the spiritual practices and the self-inquiry I had done previously and would continue to do, would hold me in good stead. But the kids? I did not know.
Gradually the mind quieted and intuitive wisdom arose and submitted the idea that the kids took birth to their Mum and I knowing separation and its accompanying stuff would be the optimal environment for them to get into their karmic work. A weight that had felt unbearable lifted instantly. I now saw parenting from a different viewpoint. The belief that what the kids needed to awaken was different than what my mind perceived they needed, was liberating and slightly challenging.
From then on, I attempted to parent from both levels. A Dad on the earth plane and a fellow Soul on the other planes.
I attempted to know them as children and now young adults, but to also see what Karma they may be dealing with, what samskaras that may cloud their soul, and how I could be a spacious environment for their souls unveiling, whilst still fulfilling my roles and duty as Dad.
There are times when I nailed it, present and peaceful, and times when I have missed the mark significantly. I recall standing in the line at the electronic games store at midnight with my son for the launch of Call of Duty video game, absolutely present, free from judgement and deeply understanding my son’s karmic predicament.
Then there were other times when I would rant and rave about uneaten sandwiches which I made, gave up meditation time to prepare, wrap, pray over, etc. Times when an untidy room would have me storming around the house, claiming no one appreciates me, nor understands my commitment to parenting and peace.
Over time the rants have decreased and I have come to rejoice in the sacred agreement. The joy of watching and playing a part in another soul’s unfoldment, free from clinging (most of the time), is both interesting and delightful.
Practical Yogic Parenting
To transform our time on the meditation cushion and the asana mat into each moment is the path of the yogi. Transforming our parenting from unconscious to conscious will challenge our preconceived ideas, will test the ego’s compliance and will enhance our relationships via non-attached action and love.
Here are my top tips for being a conscious parent:
- Do Your Sadhana: To parent consciously, work on your consciousness. Where does your mind dwell? Are your bound by the past or do you long for the future? Is your mind coloured by ignorance and attachment and how can you purify it? Take care of the physical vehicle, as an unwell vehicle limits consciousness, thus limiting conscious parenting.
- See the Divine Play: When we can live our lives simultaneously in the gross plane and the subtle planes we alleviate misperception, stress and egoic reinforcement.
- Remember: You are a Soul fulfilling many roles of which parenting is one.
- Pause: When things are heated or unclear, pause and consider your role, your soul and the soul of “your” child.
- Your Utmost: The sacred contract between parent and child is high quality fuel for the karmic journey. Playing your role with impeccability and love will smooth your path and may enhance the environment for “your” children.
- Experience the connection: “Sub Ek” translates as “all one”. Beyond the two individual souls playing roles of parent and child – is the one. Through awareness and stillness, we can experience Sub Ek.
So, when you are caught in the parenting archetype of your culture or your family: step back and smile. Simply know that you were trapped, enjoy that you were trapped, and then open the door to free yourself, and fulfill your dharma impeccably.