Sunday, August 06, 2006

Conscious Relationships Between Parents and Children: An Excerpt from The Secret of Shambhala

I read James Redfield’s The Secret of Shambhala this spring. There are so many wisdom-filled insights in this book, and I’m sure I will come back to it several times in my blog. The following excerpt from the chapter called "The Life Process" explains the nature and deeper purpose of the relationships between parents and children.

“Next in the life process is helping a child to wake up. Remember, each of us forgets to some degree why we came, what we intended to do with our lives, so the child must be given the historical circumstances that surround the event of his birth.

What’s important is to give the child a context for life so that he knows what has occurred before he arrived and where he fits in generations…

….All this is immensely important information for a youngster to hear from relatives. It helps younger people chart the course of their own lives by learning from the mistakes and building on the wisdom of those who came before.

…Everyone here is clear that the human world evolves through the succession of generations. One generation establishes a way of life and meets certain challenges, and the next generation comes along and extends that worldview….More frequently what occurs is that parents want children to be just like them, to take the same view of everything. This desire is natural in a way because we all want our children to reinforce the choices we have made.

But often the process becomes antagonistic. The parents criticize the interests of the children, and the children criticize the old-fashioned ways of the parents. To some degree it is part of the process: Children look at the lives of the parents and think, I like most of how they live, but I would have done certain things differently. All children have a sense of what is incomplete in their parents’ way of life. After all, that’s the system: We chose our parents in part to be awakened to what is missing, to what needs to be added to human understanding, and we begin that process by being dissatisfied with what we find in our lives with them.

Yet all this doesn’t have to be antagonistic. Once we know the life process, we can participate consciously. Parents can be open to the criticisms of their children, and be supportive of their dreams. Of course, doing this causes the parents to have to stretch their own ways of thinking and evolve along with their children, which can be difficult.”

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