In one of our "fly by" chats with my kids, while we were getting ready to run out to another soccer practice, somehow the topic of God and spirituality got mixed in our usual daily banter and discussions. And, even though I know my kids are smart, it floors me every time that even at that young age, each one has a very distinct, unique and quite refreshing views of what spirituality means to them.
That got me thinking of how am I influencing them and preparing for the future as far as their relationship with God, deities, spirituality or however you might want to call it. So I started googling on the topic and you'll be surprised to see how many parents are not quite sure how to approach this whole subject. During these visits to related sites, I stumbled upon this great article by Donna Goddard related to spirituality and motherhood, but looking at this issue from a completely different angle.
I tell my partner that, at the age of sixty-three, he has still not outgrown his mother obsession. He finds that rude. I ignore him. Actually, most people never do, so it's not as insulting as it sounds. Few people truly outgrow their deep, inner referencing to their mother in their choices in life. It doesn't matter if the mother has died. It makes no difference at all. For most people, it is the mother that has the most power over consciousness.
"The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." If the mother was weak or emotionally absent, it might be the father. Once outgrown, we find that no one can ever have that hold over us again. Once the pivotal person is internally conquered, all are conquered. Outgrow mother and we outgrow everyone.
I once heard Eckhart Tolle humorously suggest to his students that if they believed they were making great spiritual progress, to go and spend a week with their parents and see how advanced they really were! Everyone laughed because everyone instinctively knows the power of parental conditioning over our deeper selves.
After all, our consciousness was born, bred, and fed on that parental mind and it takes years of deliberate effort to consciously overcome it. In fact, so widespread is this phenomena that most people have no idea that it is in operation within their thoughts. And there is no greater enemy than the one unrecognized.
My family of birth was an ordinary family. They did their best, as people generally do. In the grand scheme of things, "ordinary" carries with it many human problems. Most people never outgrow their families of birth or their own "ordinary" consciousness. For someone destined for the spiritual path, ordinary is not good enough.
Normal human problems are not accepted as inevitable and inescapable. Life is seen as a precious chance to evolve. One can rise above the innate clinging to the invisible mental structure of one's family for security, acceptance and an unquestioned agenda with which to approach life. The concepts of creative visualization, positive thinking, learning about and exploring different religions and achieving unlimited abundance can all be learned and absorbed even away from that secure family environment, but only if given a chance.
We sanctify family life as if it is God. It is not. We cling to it with rapt attention. It is the family romance - one which generally has a love/hate theme. We may spend many years reacting to it, trying to escape its influence. Either way, it is imprisoning. If we desire emotional maturity and spiritual power, we will tackle the uncomfortable but necessary task of outgrowing our family of birth. In fact, it is the first step on a really serious spiritual path. At the age of twenty-two I realized this, with the help of my beloved teacher Dr. Thomas Hora.
However, the power of family over our consciousness is so inbred and strong that it will generally take a lot of work to free ourselves from it. In my own case, I spent at least a decade away from my family, with very occasional visits, before I felt I could return without a transgression into a territory, within my own mind, which I no longer wished to visit. Admittedly, this a painful experience for a family who naturally has no idea why their adult child would do that. Nevertheless, all serious spiritual students (and even strong and emotionally independent thinkers) will tend to do the same thing in some version.
The process of disengagement is somewhat modified when the mental climate of the family already allows and encourages true independence, freedom, and respect. Nothing is held on to. Nothing is asked in return. The family romance is less commanding, certainly more conscious, and, to some extent, the disengagement is already active. The child, once grown, must take their rightful place in the world as any other fellow human. "Blood is not thicker than water" when all in the world is seen as brothers, sisters, and children.
Children must grow up and find their true emotional and spiritual independence, not just the pretense of independence while all the time being driven by unconscious family conditioning. Parents of adult children must also grow up and release their offspring to God and the fulfillment of their own destiny.
Such love is greater than normal parental love because it does not seek to satisfy its own desires for love and affirmation. It seeks that which is best for the long-term development of the soul that was, for one brief moment, within one's temporary care.