I stopped wanting love and respect from my children, because I recognized that what I really want is to experience my children exactly as they are.
Once I was willing and eager to purposefully go through every suffering that arose from my experience of raising children, it was also obvious that trying to change how they showed up in my perception would defeat that purpose.
At this point, I’ve been playing the role of parent for over 22 years, and like the common parent, I used to think that it was of utmost importance that my children show love and respect for myself, other significant people and each other.
But starting about four years ago, I began to intuitively recognize that wanting something other than authentic expression from my children caused me to react in a way that attempted to make them into slaves to my personal desires….so that I could avoid going through the sufferings that reflected my own ideas of self importance.
When I first intuited what was really going on, it was very painful for me. Every time that feeling of wanting my children to behave differently came up, a lot of pain and suffering arose with it, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of the intensity that I was experiencing.
To start out, I tried ignoring my kids whenever I suffered over them. Instead of giving them attention, I attended to my own breathing…I would control my breath, making the inhale and exhale long and deep as best I could.
On many occasions, this substitute form of control worked out and I would recover without an angry outburst or fit of victimization. But ultimately, I noticed more of a disconnect between myself and my children…and I knew that to truly go though the intense suffering that arose in connection with these sacred relationships required another approach, although I had no idea what it was.
I looked to the masters for any counsel in this regard, but what I found was that the masters didn’t even bother with raising kids. In fact, the Buddha left his wife and son to seek enlightenment.
As the desire for enlightenment was very powerful in me, for awhile I had the notion of also leaving my own family so that I could work out my salvation without being disturbed by them, but thankfully, I also knew that my path was different…
In my case, I have been gifted with this amazing husband who was willing to take on the role of single parent whenever I felt the need to take space from my family life. I kept retreating from my role as mother and returning again, ultimately realizing that my children were an important key to my total liberation and freedom from suffering.
At that point, which was little more than 1.5 years ago, I made a commitment to stop entertaining thoughts about leaving my family, and to spend more time with them. Instead of trying to control anything, even my own breathing, whenever sufferings arose I would retreat to a private space in my home to experience the energies that had me under their spell.
At the time, I had a selenite crystal wand which was long enough to cover my entire torso. I would hold tight to that wand while experiencing tears, a lot of internal heat, and both mental and physical pain and suffering. For many months I cried loudly, as the pain was so intense that it made me scream.
Eventually, I surrendered to my sufferings without making loud sounds, and just let the burning sensation happen in my body and mind…until nothing was left of this idea that I needed my children to be different. About three months ago, I realized that I no longer required the selenite crystal for this purpose, and when I met another woman who admired it…I gave it to her gladly.
More recently, only a few days after completing a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat, a very painful sensation around my kids came up again, and for about 30 minutes I entertained the idea of getting away from them…I cried over it a bit as my mind projected a need for change…and then there was a sudden sense of embodiment like I had never known before, and I was immediately relieved of all pain and suffering.
At this point, any form of suffering comes up and I smile, allowing the sensation to burn through my body…just noticing thoughts and experiencing feelings as the defilements held for me in the mind very quickly burn themselves out.
Now when my children express suffering, there is no reaction in me. I don’t avoid or ignore them either. I willingly and gladly feel the pain of the perception they are taking as true, but I do not join in their suffering.
As for choosing my response…I don’t choose. I allow the response that most resonates with the peace that has come over me to come spontaneously through me…even if that means no response at all.
Through this process, I have come to recognize that everyone who suffers is like a little child…and that I have come to nurture them with this peace that passes all understanding.