by Hanuman Das, The Yoga Shack
Parenting has been one of the most fulfilling roles of this incarnation.
The two delightful souls who choose me to play the role of Dad for them in this incarnation have been wise and playful, willful and loving. We have all pushed each other buttons from time to time, however for the vast majority of our time together we have been engaged in the divine play of Lila. I was blessed to have heard teaching on conscious parenting when Jacob and Amy were young.
Now, knowing about conscious parenting and being a conscious parent are two very different things.
The Parenting role for me has been a mix of unconsciousness and consciousness: Times of complete unawareness of thought, word and deed and times of deep awareness of the dance, of playing the role of Dad.
One of the most fruitful realisations came with the teaching that dad-ness was another part of the Dharma. When I saw parenting as one of many components to this Soul’s dharma, a sense of liberation arose.
The dharma has two levels: one is the roles we play—parent, teacher, son, daughter, lover, friend, author. The other level of the dharma is the way in which we fulfil these roles. Many roles will come and go, but the way in which we can awaken is to do our Dharma, our duty, impeccably. As yogis in training, we are asked to look more closely at life and its unfoldment.
Parenting is a significant dharmic role, and The Yogi will endeavour to play the role with impeccability.
However, they will not lose sight of the teaching that they are more than roles; they are Souls. When we lose this awareness of the inherent being dwelling within, the parenting we perform is clouded in ignorance, ego, attachment and aversion.
The Yogic parent is one who sees beyond the role yet is fully involved in it.They also honour the souls who are playing the roles of the child. This enables clearer, less needy, less cultural clinging about parenting.
The reasons the child took birth to the parent becomes grist for the mill of awakening. The reasons the parent agrees to play the role for the child opens the door on some layers of Karma and the accompanying Samskaric patterns. It really becomes more interesting, intriguing, to consider the reasons behind the karmic contracts that have been entered into.
This does not diminish the love and connection between parent and child; it increases it.We can now play the Lila out physically and metaphysically. The connection goes beyond the superficial levels of the material world because our sense of ourselves as a father, a son or a daughter goes deep into the Soul levels where we are inextricably linked. It goes into the interesting questions of why we chose each other, and what our spiritual work together.
And so we dance wholeheartedly to fulfil the Karmic agreement made before we crossed the river of illusion. In doing so, we take it, the Dharma to the next level of awakening.
So, Yogis, to be a conscious parent, become conscious. Parenting is the way of things, it is a role, and consciousness is a state of being. When we become conscious, at whatever level, everything we do, including parenting, will be more conscious.
Hanuman Das is an author and teacher in the fields of Yoga and spiritual living. He shares techniques in the areas of meditation, self-enquiry and yoga asana. Hanuman Das conducts workshops and retreats and has lectured on consciousness and spiritual living at Yoga and spirit based festivals across Australia. Hanuman Das is a gifted and entertaining speaker and author whose parables make learning joyous, clear and easy to incorporate into daily life.