Sunday, October 30, 2016

You Are Your Parents

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

I have something to share with you today. Something of which it is possible you’ve never thought of before… but more likely, I suspect, that you have given it, oh, maybe, a half-second’s thought before turning away in dread and repulsion. This “something” can be summed up in 4 words:

You “are” your parents.

When you’re done heaving, feel free to come back. I’ll be here. I’m a patient man.

You “Are” Your Parents

The focus, here, is on the experience of you being physically born of your mother and father and the holistic (physical, mental, etc.) consequence of being raised by them. The focus is about all the little nuances of life that you’d been taught, directly or indirectly; how they affect your behavior, interests, life choices, and how you interact with others; and how they cause you to live not your own life but a combined life of your mother and father.

Early Programming. Lifelong Behavior.

Within the first several years of your life (including your time in Mama’s womb) you were programmed with the foundational beliefs, fears, vibrations, etc. that would, unbeknownst to you, direct the rest of your life.

For example, you may find yourself at 39 years old to have great anxiety in regard to money and work. Every time your workload wanes, so does your income. Rather than seeing this as a natural and temporary lull, you have fits of anxiety and panic.

Should you inquire of yourself, you might recall a set of difficult childhood experiences wherein your father behaved the same way about his own work and income. He’s a contract carpenter, constantly riding the rollercoaster of lots of work/little work. Inadvertently through him and in your own naivete, you learned that, “anxiety is how I am supposed to behave when work decreases and money appears to be tight.”

Alternately, maybe you don’t recall such an experience. Nevertheless, knowing that you’d spent months in your mother’s womb feeling what she’d felt, eating how she’d eaten, being sick with what she’d been sick with, and so on, you decide to ask her if she recalls any particularly uneasy experiences she’d had while you were a fetus. “Ah,” she might say. “Two months before you were born…” And she’d go on telling you of the strong anxiety she’d felt when your father was having difficulty with his contract carpentry work.

Do you see what happens then? Though inadvertent, you’d been programmed to behave in a certain way—the very same way your parents had been programmed. And just as they continued on living as if, “This is the way it is,” so too will you live that near-same dissatisfying life experience as long as you leave the issues in hiding.

Which brings us to a second example. I’d stated a moment ago that your father is a carpenter. [You mean he still hasn’t told you? ;-) ] You may well find that you, also, are a contract carpenter. When it comes to something like this, people often rationalize with, “Carpentry runs in the family.” What’s important to get here is, why? Why does carpentry (or medicine or pet grooming or whatever) “run in the family”?

This kind of question is loaded. Because what you will very likely find with such self-inquiry are answers that can dramatically alter both who you believe yourself to be and, if acted on, the course of your life. You may find, for example:
  • I’m doing this for love and approval of my father.
  • I’m doing this for fear of being criticized by my father if I were to instead choose to be as he says: “a lazy office worker.”
  • I’m doing this to prove, to reaffirm, my beliefs that work is hard and money equates with lack and anxiety.
  • I fear admitting that my father isn’t perfect and doesn’t know everything.
If you’ve never done this type of self-work, I’m sure you can see why such inquiry can lead to major life alterations. Which, yes, can be uncomfortable to work through and take any needed action as a result of. But also of which will lead you ever deeper in to living more joyfully and freely in the truth of who you really are for a purpose only you can uniquely offer.

Alternate Paths

It could be that your father is a contract carpenter but you chose to be a full-time accountant. You may therefore imagine that this work example doesn’t apply to you. If you find yourself in this boat, I’d ask you to check the hull for leakage; in our human need to both skirt the uncomfortable and miss the not-quite-so-evident (and much of the evident!), it’s easy for us to find ourselves mostly-sunken before we realize there must be holes somewhere.

In this case, no, there’s not the direct parent-child connection of contract carpentry. But there could be issues such as:
  • I have an anxiety about money. Rather than face it head on, I’ll get full-time employment where I’ll hopefully never have to think about it.
  • I’ll show my father that I’m good enough by having a steady flow of work and income. Then he’ll approve of me.
  • I hate carpentry. Yeah, look at me, Dad. I sit in an office all day being the “lazy” you reject people for being. Suck oooon that!
No get-out-of-jail-free cards, here, folks. Somehow, some way, your parents are still at the center of “you.”

When Parents Are M.I.A.

For some people, one or both parents weren’t around during their pivotal years of development. Necessarily, many foundational beliefs, fears, and so on that any such child picks up would then be as provided by the child’s primary male and female caregivers. Yet, whatever traumas and other discomforts had been experienced while in the womb, during birthing, or just after would remain with that child. Such issues would linger subconsciously and drive the child to perceive life and behave in ways indicative of abandonment, disconnect, and so forth.

To otherwise make clear: For parents to be what I’ve referred to as M.I.A. (Missing in Action), they need not physically abandon their child. Indeed, parents could be with a child the vast majority of the time. No matter, either or both parents could be emotionally dispondent.

Let’s revisit the contract carpenter example. Your mother didn’t work and depended upon your father’s fluctuating work and income for her sense of security and sanity. When the economy took a dump and your father had a work accident with a loss in income, great anxiety and fears of all kind arose. Not knowing how to cope adequately, your parents both went emotionally numb in order to self-protect.

Trouble is for you as a highly impressionable child in the womb or just a few months or years old, you became programmed with beliefs and fears regarding the apparently hazardous nature of life, work, money, and emotion. Without ever realizing what you were doing or its disturbing implications, you repressed your emotions just as your parents had.

Dread Is the Mask of Latent Satisfaction. Start Small.

Seeing issues to the same depth as suggested in the examples above can potentially take a lot of time and effort and require a fair amount of self-clarity. Self-inquiry goes on for, well, that’s uncertain—it depends on one’s life path as determined by their soul’s interests in being here.

But no matter how long you end up self-inquiring for, it seems to me that perhaps the greatest obstacle to even beginning is this: An unwillingness to see what’s already right before you.

Willingness is where it begins. You see, first and foremost, that your dread and resultant avoidance of acknowledging that you “are” your mom and dad (which itself is learned from your parents) is serving no one; is, in fact, making you quite miserable. Recognize that this is about you understanding your unwitting use of self-rejection in order to maintain your parents’ identity. Is this really what you want for yourself?

Once you acknowledge this, you can begin working with what is right in front of you. Choose any of the myriad of small (and oft stupidly childish) sore spots you are aware of, self-inquire, and see through healing that your fear isn’t usually warranted; that your life can be easily made a lot more satisfying. Here are 3 examples:
  1. Every Monday when you’d lived at home your unemployed mother had what she called “Laundry Day,” when she did as many loads of laundry as possible. Now at 35 years old and with family, work, and evening activities, you stressfully yet unthinkingly effort to perpetuate this ritual. If only you’d stop and question the cause of the stress, you’d see that you’ve “become” your mother and that her ways are invalid to you. Then you could be free of it.

  2. Maybe before breakfast you do pushups while waiting for your oatmeal water to heat up. This sounds like a beneficial thing and you may have deliberately chosen to do it. But maybe not. Maybe you’re doing it because, as a teen, your father wanted you to do them with him—while you also were waiting for your own dad-approved oatmeal water to heat up. Nowadays you may not think about this or rationalize with, “Dad did it so it must be right and healthy.” For the sake of this self-work, “right” and “healthy” are irrelevant. It’s more important for you to see how your behavior is scripted. What do you want? Make the 100% conscious choice to either continue on or do something different—as defined by you.

  3. Your spouse constantly nags you to put your dirty socks in the hamper rather than leaving them next to the bed. Is it really that difficult to cease being a Negative Nancy or Arrogant Abe about it? Just do it and see how the stress and bitterness suddenly fall away and love takes their place. If somehow you can’t even manage to do that, then figure out what you’re trying to get. What causes you to get off to your spouse’s misery and the negative attention it provides for you? Very likely there’s some parent-learned program running in your subconscious causing you to believe and act on, say, the idea that your spouse will not naturally give you attention so you must tweak him/her to get it. Maybe this seems true to your mom and dad, but really there was never any truth in it until you’d made it so.
In some cases, like those where you’d put your occupation or relationship into question, sure, there’s a lot of potential fear to arise. But know that self-inquiry isn’t implicit of you needing to make monumental realizations or difficult changes. Just like the third example above, the outcome would far more likely be a deepening of love, not separation.

Each of us has so many hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny issues to be worked out that there’s no reason to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Start small and see where things go. See how satisfying it is to release unconscious, parent-learned stressors, habits, etc. See that the more you let go and become more of yourself, the more momentum and integrity you will have to tackle the bigger issues.

Running Doesn't Help

A common reaction an individual has to becoming aware that they might “be” their parents is to run from the idea as fast as possible. Problem is, what we resist persists.

As children of our parents we are already them, so to speak. We already, from a very early age, have had all their fundamental fears and junk beliefs implanted within us. “I’m not like my mom and dad,” someone states with “certainty.” And the next thing you know—but they don’t even realize themselves—they’re behaving or speaking in a way very specific to their parent’s own ways.

It’s like the people who have, say, repressive, restrictive parents and go wild earlier in life as if to say, “I’m am not my mother or father”… Only, maybe by age 30 or 53, to have gone through a divorce or two, a job or four, who knows what else, and finally given up and settled down into a lifestyle that’s just like their parents—because the programming always wins out when unaddressed.

Runners may try to verbally justify why they are not like their parents—which, incidentally, even if their few specific points are true, they miss the other 30,000 issues that still apply. This goes hand-in-hand with those who argue dissimilarity like, “My mom and dad are sexually inert; I have sex all the time.” Okay, yeah, you appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Now I want you to ask yourself, why? Because while you may be thinking, “Sex is normal and healthy,” or, “I’m a free person,” you may find more deeply that you’d chosen to have sex all the time as an act of defiance—in which case you’re not half as free as you perceive because you’re repeatedly bringing your parents right into the bedroom with you!

Always keep in mind that all of life is your reflection. You can spend an eternity altering the contents you set before the mirror, but the mirror itself will never change.

Seeing the Truth. Living In Integrity.

Simply put, we “are” our parents and will continue to “be” our parents until we see our inner junk, release it, and thus learn the life lessons being set before us. All that’s “out there” is merely a reflection of what’s “in here” so we might as well use it to our advantage, as a toolkit of self-discovery. Through this self-discovery we will each see the falsities for what they are and see the need for change.

And hopefully we’ll make that change.

To allay any immediate fear to arise at the suggestion of this change, especially about the greater valued aspects of life, I offer you the following thought:

You are where you are and don’t yet know what changes are to come or not come as a consequence of self-inquiry. And since many of you will be out of your range should you try jumping right to the big stuff, start small.

As you progress you will gradually realize your own truths and will, perhaps for the first time in your life and then increasingly so, walk in the integrity of who you truly are, of who you truly came here to be.

Neither as your mother nor your father, but as you.