Two weeks ago, I attended a mind-blowing parenting programme called “Space of a Child” conducted by the Head of Enlightening Education, Ma Rishi Advaitananda from Nthyananda Dhyanapeeta. In that 3-hour session, it created so much awareness in me as a parent and literally at the end of the session, I came out feeling that every parent on planet earth should have this knowledge and understanding of the “Space of a Child”!
For parents, you probably would have realized this by now – being a parent is one of the most challenging responsibilities we have undertaken because there is no preparation from life for being a parent and each child is different. We just give birth to a new life and the next thing we have to go figure out how to raise a child through trial and error. No amount of parenting courses or support groups out there can fully prepare us for this task because there is a deeper mystery about life that we need to understand as parents.
That mystery is the “Space of a child”. What do I mean by the space of a child?
The moment a woman is pregnant, for 9 months she is closest to the source of creation. From that space of creation, every soul takes a human body and lands on planet earth in a meditative state. This pure state is a space of unimaginable unlimited possibilities which is beyond our limited human mind. That is why children are always so full of life, filled with creativity and new possibilities. They are embodiment of LIFE itself, the pure energy which represents wisdom, innocence, integrity, authenticity, creativity and bliss. If the children are allowed to retain in this space as they grow up, they will become the awakened ones – the Buddhas in the inner world and Bill Gates in the outer world.
As parents, unless we understand the space of a child, we are not even aware of our conditioned inner space. This awareness will create a cognitive shift in us and help us to bridge the communication gap between our child and us. When parents are not spiritually aware of this space of a child, they constantly try to pull the child out of this space into our adult world which is a space primarily driven by limited logic, fear and greed, limited possibilities. This fundamentally shuts down the space of endless possibilities for a child. The truth is our role as parents is to love our children unconditionally, give them a sense of confidence to explore life and allow them to deepen the innocence in their space.
When I looked within myself, I had also made some of the unconscious mistakes in the process of raising my son in the past, including many parents I’ve encountered. This seems to be an universal problem that many parents need almost immediate inner awakening.
Here are some examples I could identify with:-
- Our parents brought us up without the awareness of the space of a child; they raised us to the level of intelligence they had at that time. As a result, we became a by-product of a conditioned society where fear and greed thrive. Many times, through our lack of authenticity and a manipulative mind, we impose our fear or greed on our child so that they do what we want them to do. When we do that, we indirectly limit their possibilities. One example is the concept of playing in the rain. Our parents had taught us that by playing in the rain, we would fall sick, so we pass this legacy of conditioning to our child. The moment they are conditioned, they can no longer explore the freedom and joy of playing in the rain without falling sick because their mind is already shut down from this possibility.
- I’ve seen some of the most bizarre things which some parents do to their kids! One parent I know practices a fixed sleep timetable for the baby. Even when the baby may be sleeping soundly, he is not allowed to sleep beyond the fixed time-table, they wake the child up despite his cries from the disturbance. The premise of training the child with a fixed sleep routine is to make the parents’ life manageable and also the wrong belief that the child will be so-called “trained” to have a regular sleep pattern. But they have forgotten one basic truth – the child is an independent intelligence, any effort to go against the flow of this intelligence will only create more trouble such as irritation and suppression at the later stage. A child should be allowed to be in their space as much as possible.
- Another cultural conditioning that parents tend to make is they think the child is an extension of them. They try to possess their child by living their unfulfilled dreams through their child or children. Many parents force their children to take up many hobbies or go to branded schools just because they didn’t get to do it. NO! The moment they are born, they are independent beings with their own wisdom. They have come to fulfil their own life purpose and possibilities, as parents we are there to enjoy their presence and support them.
- Another big misconception is some parents always think that the children don’t know anything about life, so the kids should listen to them when they are teaching the children. The truth is, in that pure space, they always know something beyond what we know. We just have to be patient enough to listen to them and be sensitive to allow them to express their wisdom. Only parents with sensitivity will be able to create a space for nurturing this infinite wisdom in their child.
- Sometimes due to parents’ lack of integrity, they fail to honor the words they give to themselves or the child, slowly the child also pick up this habit of not honoring words he or she gives to self and others. The moment integrity breeds in their inner space, they have already moved away from the space of possibilities. Parents should learn how to complete with their child every night so that both the parents and child can be in completion with each other.
- I also notice that generally Asian parents are less able to face their inauthenticity in front of their children due to past cultural conditioning of pride. It is difficult for them to admit their mistakes and be naked before their children. Actually when we are able to admit our inauthenticity and be ready to take guidance from our children in terms of how to correct ourselves, they will feel complete and fulfilled which help them to open up new possibilities in their space.
- The next dimension is a tricky one – how to define the boundaries of freedom to your child? This is one mistake that many parents commit including me. Quite often, when we try to teach our child about the danger of fire, due to our own fear or greed, we tend to give the instructions with attachment of our own fear or greed. The right approach to defining the boundaries of freedom for our child is to provide the facts about the dos and don’ts patiently about the dangers of fire without adding our own fear or greed. Two important things happen with this approach – 1) your child will not have to learn from life the hard way by exploring all kinds of fire in order to know fire burns; 2) you avoid passing your own fears to them and restrict their possibility of making their own conscious choice.
- How do you react when your child performs something remarkable? Ordinarily we would react with surprises and praises. When this happens, unconsciously we are teaching the child the greed for appreciation in association with something done remarkably well. When we get surprised by the child’s amazing feat, we are giving them an indication indirectly that it is not a possibility for the child. The best way is to respond just as a spectator and enjoy their presence and creativity.
The above understanding I got out from one parenting session is only the tip of an ice-berg. There are more deeper insights about the space of the child that parents need to internalise and learn to how to get into their space without curbing their boundless possibilities. If you are keen to learn more about Enlightening Parenting Programme, please sign up for the first FREE session on 20th April by sending your contact to [email protected].
The moment I started practising some of the practical tips, I could see an improvement in my relationship with my son – I listen to him with more sensitivity and he also listens to me because he knows I am relating with him in that space of a child! So beautiful! Now, I am eagerly looking forward to the next eN-Parenting session! 🙂