I remember one story told be Eckhart Tolle about a man who was doing love and kindness meditation in his room. I love this room, I love this house and everything and everyone in it, I love this neighborhood, I love this city…the man was affirming his love while sitting in a lotus position, eyes closed, breathing slowly. Suddenly his little daughter entered the room. Daddy, daddy, can I…she didn’t even finish her sentence, when the man shouted angrily: get out of the room, can’t you see I am doing love and kindness meditation? Did he really love everything he enumerated, we wander smiling wittingly. And it’s really funny when we see it in others, but let’s better check with ourselves.
Go ahead, bring out all of those embarrassing situations you acted a total fool with the people you should love the most. I am sometimes shocked to witness the monster born in me when my little one joyfully destroys all of my expectations, plans, and agendas. And what about our parents? Do you also agree that they are the exception of all the spiritual truths? I did. I knew that the essence of every single human being is love, but that did not apply to my mom for some reason. Her essential function appeared to be to drive me mad. And mad she did drive me. Do you know how that made me feel? Yes, like a total fake and a freaking double-faced liar. How come I write all those beautiful articles and cannot handle a simple phone call with my mom. What’s wrong with me?
It’s only now that I am starting to understand that there is nothing wrong with me personally. Or my child. Or my mom, for that matter. It’s universal. It is really difficult for most of us to be the prophets in our own hometowns, that is to say, to be heard and seen for who we are in our intimate circles. Why? Because we are boiling in the same pot. Our past, present, and future are interlinked, we are emotionally and physically attached, we monitor every single step of each other. There is no space, no perspective, no pauses to reflect on our words and actions. It’s like a ping-pong game. The chains of actions and reactions are just so numerous and so rapid that we are almost bound to make mistakes. We know each other’s buttons best and do not hesitate to push them.
You can see thousands of children throwing tantrums in the street and walk past with a compassionate Buddha smile. But if that’s your heir and you’re tired or in a rush, oh dear, that’s a different story. You can see couples fighting and feel superior in your maturity. But wait till your beloved accuses you of being lazy and dependent, suddenly no rules apply anymore. You are so right and so fired up that a fight is inevitable. A few hours or even days later, you wake up from your emotional breakout and feel guilty. You feel like a failure that talks one thing and does the other. Loving our closest ones is actually such a great deed that teacher Ram Dass said: If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.
However, instead of seeing our intimate relationship as an inevitable burden, we can approach it as opportunity. But how? Remember, we said that our darlings know our buttons best? It means they can be our most valuable teachers and help us uncover our soft spots. The next time your mother, father, or whoever is your teacher calls, try to monitor very carefully what ignites your reaction. Here’s what would get me heated: Hi darling, I saw today on TV that Scandinavian language experts are highly valued on the market now. I thought you could take up one of these languages and become a translator for a big international company. Don’t you think it’s time to find a stable job?
So, what I would do now in a similar situation is try and stay as present as I can throughout the talk. I would notice what emotions are taking me over and then try to end this subject on some neutral note, like: Thanks, I will consider that. After I put down the phone, I’d rewind the talk in my head and do the work. Here’s how it might look. Ok, so she suggested that I would gain a new skill to be able to find a good job. How did I feel hearing it? I felt angry, misunderstood, not valued, and not loved for who I am. Why did I feel that way? At this moment I am giving all my heart to writing and she does not encourage my heart’s desire. Also, I hate her reminding me about the job and the money.
After an observation like that I know that it’s not my mom who got me so boiling mad, but my inner unresolved issues. I am informed about the areas to look at and to work on. So, what can I do to feel more assured and stable in my chosen path? I should take it seriously, make goals, and achieve them. What about finally writing a book proposal? What can I do about the money issue so that it doesn’t knock me off my feet the next time someone reproaches me? Get more clients to consult? Publish articles in magazines? Do freelancing online? See? Only one talk and I can write down a bullet point action plan and try to figure things out. Can there be a better school? It only took ten minutes and I know what I have to do.
And what concerns the mother (or your teacher) stay present and let yourself be guided. Will you open up and tell your wildest dreams no longer needing their approval? Or will you try and keep some distance while you’re working on your spiritual muscles? Maybe you’ll just breath and thank for the lessons you receive? Well, there’s no best way I guess. See what your heart is telling you to do, but whatever that is, the most important is to stay anchored in the present, in your true self. Maybe miraculously your annoying teachers will change as you change; maybe you’ll find a deep and meaningful connection. Who knows. At least you’ll no longer feel a victim and make them into your enemy. That’s already huge, because there is no greater happiness than loving the ones that we want to love so much.
Blessed to have best teachers,