Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Art of Spiritual Parenting Srishti with Sri Samadarshini

Part of the work of the Golden Age Foundation is to offer guidance in Shristi - the Art of Parenting. This is done through courses and seminars. In this article you will be introduced to some of the basic principles of Shristi by Acharya Sri Samadarhini.
Part of the work of the Golden Age Foundation is to offer guidance in Shristi - the Art of Parenting. This is done through courses and seminars. In this article you will be introduced to some of the basic principles of Shristi by Acharya Sri Samadarhini.
-What is special with Shristi?
-Sri Sri Bhagavan often says that to be a parent is a sacred responsibility. You cannot just say that you want to have a child because you're fascinated of children. It is a responsibility; you bring down a soul to this planet. Parenting is a sacred art which has to be learned. It is such an important experience to be a parent. You are dedicating 21 years of your life to your child. In fact Sri Sri Bhagavan wants the whole world to receive this learning first, before they get pregnant. It will be a grand experience towards the child.

The parenting is not beginning when the child is born. This parenting begins long before they even are conceived. Sri Sri Bhagavan says, a couple has to work with their selves; they have to discover love in their relationship. The mother basically have to learn to respect herself, to love herself, today every woman is aching to be respected, wanting to be loved. Sri Sri Bhagavan says, "If you love yourself the whole world will love you." And you cannot demand respect; once you discover love in your life you automatically become respected. We basically work on the couple first, we help them experience each other and love each other. Then we tell them to go for conception at an auspicious time, you cannot go for it just because you have lust and you want to create a child.

You look for an auspicious time and then with a strong intent about the kind of child you want to create, you create the child. You create love for each other; it cannot be an act of frustration. If you create a child out of frustration the seed is not filled with love, so that child will definitely go to life and suffer from lack of love. A big number of people you see today, they do not love themselves. We are speaking of loving our neighbour, how can you love your neighbour when you do not love yourself?

From that moment that the seed has gone into the womb of the mother we tell the mother that she has to be in a happy state of mind. That happiness is going to affect the child in the womb and if the mother is involved in some spiritually practice, especially if she has a teacher, her consciousness will be in a higher level. Even the child that is growing in the womb will have a different level of consciousness. His experience in the womb will be different.

Let us say that the mother is constantly watching horror movies or she is frustrated with life, she is unhappy. She is thinking that this is a horrible world and living in this world is suffering. The child also will come to the same conclusions.

I give you an example; there was a man highly educated, very intelligent but everything he tried to do seemed to end as a failure. Then he looked inwards and saw himself in his mother's womb and realized that the family in that time went through very heavy economical problems, and this obsessed the mother. She was thinking "what a horrible world this is, nothing is ever coming to me." All these thoughts the child had absorbed and the child had come to the conclusion that the world he is going to enter is a place where he cannot live in peace. Money has to come and it will be difficult to get them.

- If a child is born unhappy, maybe it was made in frustration and the parents did not love each other, what can you do for this child?

- We wait until the child is twelve and we do some work on him. It can be healed.

- Is it not enough if the mother gives the child her love from the heart?

- It should be done before the child is seven/eight, because that is the time when the blueprint of the child is made. After seven you really cannot do much, then the child becomes an individual and we have to work on the child. So we educate the mother gradually how she should bring up the child. We think that it is a mass of flesh inside the womb, no it has life, and it has consciousness. We are guiding the mother in what and how she should do when the child is coming out into the world. The few moments for the mother and the people around are like an eternity for the child. As the baby is passing through the tunnel, as it is coming out, it is torture. If the mother does some sadhanas the entry to this world can be a bit easier and very often the child comes out with the conclusion that the world is easy.

When the child is born the first response of the world is very important, the mother's touch as soon as the child is born is invaluable. So it is momentous how the world receives the child, if they say: "Oh, another male child." In India it is often "Oh, another female child" or " Oh, how dark it is." If the response is "Oh God, this child is the light of my life", that child will definitely be a happy child and very often successful also. The very first moments when a child enters the world it has an expanded consciousness. If the child felt rejected when it came out it will very often feel rejected in life. She may marry ten men, or twelve men, no matter how much love she gets, it will not be sufficient. She will always feel not wanted, nobody loves me. And that is those children that often commit suicide.

The extended consciousness that the baby has when it comes to the world, how long does it rest?

- It will rest an hour or so. And those few moment's people who love it must surround it. After that, if it forced to, it can go other way, but the first moments are crucial. And the first six years until the child is getting seven, we shall think about the child as a king. You cannot say no, the parents must be obedient. And to treat the children like kings and queens means that the parents shall not own the child, the parent shall be a friend of the child.

- But as a parent, you have to teach your child that there are dangerous things to watch up for?

- You can teach as a friend. It often happens when a parent tells the child to do something and the child refuses, that a friend says the same thing and the child does it. You do not like to be owned by anyone, do you?

- No.

- It is the same thing with the child, and the child is even more perceptive, even more sensitive, it hates to be possessed, it hates to be owned. The child wants to be helped by its parents, but as a friend. As a friend the parent can say, "Please do not do that, it is not god for you'. The child says, 'okay baba". It is the attitude of the parent, where the parent is coming from. The child is perceptive to your emotion, to your perception, your attitude; your action itself is second.

- What do you say about the three years defiant age? In Sweden we learn that the parents must be strong and show where the borders are etc. This is totally different from Shristi.

- Totally. Until seven the child must not confront much no, if you cannot give it, do not show it. If you cannot afford it, do not take the child there. The child must feel respected, the child must feel welcomed, the child must feel like a king. Sri Sri Bhagavan does not say loved, he says respected until it is seven. That is the time when the future of the child is made. After seven if the parents have a little turbulent period the child will make it, you do not have to be worried. It can be periods during the teen that the child goes off track, but it will make a grand comeback because of the first seven years. And those first seven years is not the time for the child to be exposed to parents fighting. It should not be exposed to any hate; the parents must learn to clear this. And the period from seven to fourteen Sri Sri Bhagavan says that the child is to be treated as a prince. You can say no, this is the time when you can be tuff. After fourteen you treat it like a friend, then it is an adult. Do not talk to your child, talk with your child. When they are fourteen you are just an equal. They have had their experience of life; this is the time in certain aspects that they want to find their own identity away from you. In that period they say no to everything you suggest. It is natural, and if you let it say no and you show it understanding during this period between 14 and 17 when it is 21 it will be a very understanding person.

This is how we go through Shristi and we basically put the mothers benefits first, liberate her from whatever she has accumulated from her childhood. If we do not work with the mother, the child will have all the mother's accumulated feelings. And the same thing happens with the father.

- Do you work with all the family together or do you work with women separately and men separately?

- Both types. Sometimes we have groups exclusively for the mothers, sometimes we have groups for both parents, and it is very rare that the child is there. Sri Sri Bhagavan says that when we can give Shristi to the world, there will be a better world.

- There will be happier children.

- And happy human beings are not troublesome. You can just give to others what you have, if you are happy you give happiness to others. So the best safety for this world is to make happy babies.

- I have heard that children are enlightened up to five, six years, is that true?

- The child is enlightened very often up to two, two and a half years old. It has no self; it has no sense of separation. Suddenly there, biologically it starts, it happens in the body, there is a self. First time it happens for some is around one and a half years, for some three. Usually it is around this period the individual is born, is separated from the others.
- I have heard that once the idea was that mankind should have been enlightened when it become teenager but that has failed, what is the background to that?

- It is the natural state of mind that self is not there when the person is born but then the self emerges. Only when the self emerges there is a different type of learning that is required for survival that can happen. Then the self has to go away when the child is around 18, 19, natural the person has to live in an enlightened state of consciousness. But due to various reasons, it is not happening. There is a discontent state around 18, I do not know if you have noticed? The whole thing looks disgusting, something that is irritating, until this time it is not there and then the child starts questioning: what is the whole purpose of life? Why am I living? Why can't I die?

This is the time when people take to drugs, when people take to drinks or they fall in love and they get married. When you marry, at least in India, you have a ticket to endless problems. The first years you have troubles with relating to each other, then with your in-laws, then with your children and life moves on, at least in India that's how it is. You forget about your inner life. It knocks on the door sometimes but you have so many problems so you push it away. Somewhere if you are blessed enough the discontent will come up again. It is a blessing because if you are not going to come in contact with that discontent how are you ever going to move inward? How are you ever going to become enlightened?

- What's the difference for a child between having two parents and just having one?

- It will definitely be better for the child to have a mother and a father, but if life has made it so that a child just has one parent, the responsibility will be more for that parent. It depends on if the mother is capable to overcome her own suffering, then the trauma will not be there. If the mother suffers from feeling lonely or has feelings of hate towards the other person or has suppressed her suffering then it is going to affect the child. This can also be the father. But let us say that the parents have worked on themselves, have assimilated the painful experiences in life of separation or whatever and they are happy and they marry to someone else. Then it will not affect the child as a trauma.

- Does this mean that all the parents' feelings are affecting the child?

- It will affect the child very much until the child is seven.

- Almost every child is affected then.

- Yes, that is why the world is full of hatred. It is so painful to see people that do not know what to do with themselves, how to deal with the pain they are carrying.

- Do the children take over the parent's pain?

- They are connected so it flows, joy flows, love flows. It is like when someone has an experience at a retreat. One person starts laughing, he goes into ecstasy and it goes into everyone, it just comes with no reason. Because during the retreat you got connected. If joy can travel, pain also can, fear also can. Even if you notice that someone sitting next to you have fear it affects you in your stomach. And whether you intend to or not, violence will keep go into you. I think so many parents are struggling to not express their pain, struggling to not express their anger to the child, there is an outburst. You have to face it, you have to deal with it, you cannot suppress.

Your concern for your child is making you behave well. That is what we deal with in level two retreats. We teach people how to deal with their suffering. Life is constantly serving you suffering, unless you know how to deal with it you become hard, you become dead internally. And from that inner death all diseases arise, all suffering, everything starts from within. All external problems start within also.

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Contemplative Questions

Here is a set of questions that would provoke you and put you through some soul searching. They are not about religion nor about ethics. They are merely about you.

They are not meant to serve as solutions nor are they meant to lead you anywhere. These questions are meant to serve as tools to discovering yourself.

1) Do you perceive the Presence of a benevolent force guiding, protecting and shaping your life? What name do you give that Presence? When did you best feel this Presence?

2) What is your opinion of God? Is your opinion drawn from religion, books, parents and or your personal experience of life?

3) Do you pray? Do they get answered? How often?

4) Do you think it is possible to relate to the Divine? What relationship would you opt?

5) Here is a story for you - Two fierce enemies once did a penance to placate god and receive boons vying with each other. God appeared to the first man and asked what he wanted. He said "give me twice of whatever you give my enemy". Then God appeared to the second one. Even before God could say anything he asked, "God, would you please tell me what my enemy asked for? On knowing his prayer request, he said, "then God, blind me in one eye."
Now what would you wish for yourself, your best friend and your worst enemy if God gave you a chance?

6) Have you ever experienced a coincidence or chance that seems to have involved so many people and factors that you can't stop wondering if a mastermind was behind this operation? If yes, do you savour the experience often and have you shared it with someone close to you?