Someone asked what type of spiritual guidance I received to help me have a more sane and bearable reaction to my kids’ negative behaviors. I have to start by saying that I’ve only been through one test so far, so I’d hardly say I’m over feeling disgusted… you know, the kind of disgust that lingers with you for hours and then mutates into guilt and an overall sense of “what the heck am I doing?!” All I can say is that I didn’t feel that today, and it was a first. I felt as if I was watching what was going on, more from a distance. For some reason I didn’t take any of it personally. I stayed focused on how Sky must have been feeling, which was pretty terrible. Like I said, I truly felt sorry for him even though he was extremely angry and borderline abusive.
It’s next to impossible to explain or convey subtle experiences and realizations that happen purely on an internal level. I think people have to be at the end of their rope, practically on their knees, and admit they can’t go it alone before getting anywhere. In that state we become highly receptive to guidance and support. Desperate, a couple weeks ago I consulted with a monastic that a dear friend of mine recommended. He was very sensitive and understanding to the situation, but most importantly he quoted my guru’s teachings which seemed to put me back on the right path. He got my mind focused on the here and now, which is something most parents do not do– we’re extremely focused upon the future, our kid’s teen years, and how they may, or may not turn out as adults. We cannot make progress that way because it causes a lot of fear and anxiety which bleeds over to our children.
How do we NOT obsess on the future with our kids, especially during the times when they’re being extremely naughty? For me, it has helped to have a mantra going in my head. It was one of the quotes the monastic gave me: “Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” It’s part of my guru’s favorite quote from his autobiography, and they are not his words, but his guru’s words. It’s taken from what my guru considered to be the most important quote in his entire autobiography: “The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” It sounds so simple, but I can feel and hear my guru saying that last sentence to me, over and over again. It’s all I have to do– trust that truth. It’s a breath of fresh air- everything in my future, my relationship with my children, my own spiritual unfoldment, my understanding and compassion, the caliber of my dreams and goals- everything will improve if I continue to make a spiritual effort to the best of my ability, here and now. Remembering that, repeating that, and trusting in that brings me such peace. It brings me into the moment, knowing all that I can do is focus on my spiritual efforts, now, and all things will unfold however they will… not according to my will, but God’s will. You could say it has helped me to surrender, almost completely. I say “almost” because I have no doubt there will always be tests and I have a long way to go.
I’d like to add that the second sentence has really helped me cultivate more compassion for my kids, and for humanity in general. Unless anchored in the Divine, all behavior is unreliable. It helps me to more easily forgive myself and others. Powerful stuff when experienced and known on a level beyond the intellect.