“The non-dual way to raise children“?
The parents mind, if it is not deeply understood, normally reacts to the child‘s actions, speech and thoughts as if the child were the doer, speaker and thinker. Therefore the illusion of being able to educate children arises. And parents take themselves to be responsible for how they children grow up.
In the name of love children are shaped according to the beliefs of unhappy parent's minds to discipline them and then they are told to "Be happy!" First be happy yourself then your "education" will be more likely to make your child also happy!
Happiness is the understanding that children are life's children and not man's.
Happiness is trust in Life which raises its children in the way it is meant to be.
Happiness is to understand that man is not the doer, speaker and thinker and that this is also true for children.
Happiness is to live Life as it is and not what the mind takes to be life which is just illusory thoughts.
Happiness is to live with alive little beings in Life and not with ghosts in the parent‘s mind.
Happiness is to understand that behaviour is nothing but a thought in the parent's mind and not an actuality in life.
Only a clear understanding of one‘s own mind will lead to a better understanding of children! But is there a “non-dual way to raise children“? How does this understanding of non-duality deal with the child/parent relationship? Can you just say "there is no me"? (so no child)?
No, there is not a non-dual way to raise children. Non-duality is not about “How to do?“ but about understanding the function of the mind as illusory and not real. This understanding will spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably express itself in the apparent individual‘s actions, speech and thoughts, illusory it may be.
So to answer the question above: Who would be the parent who says: “There is no me“? It would be a “somebody“. This would be a superficial understanding. Just be aware, that it is the ego who claims to be nobody and you will probably not say such nonsense to your children! Real understanding that the “Me meaning the parent“ is illusory and not real means the child too is illusory and not real and words too are illusory and not real for they are just sounds and not real words with real meanings in Life.
If this is clearly understood, the question would not arise, who is there to be a parent or a child. There would be just witnessing sounds made by life in the apparent body of the parent and in the apparent body of the child: Oneness in form of the parent talking to Oneness in form of the child. In Oneness it is seen, that the separation between parents and their children is illusory as is every other thought too.
Then, spontaneously, unpredictably and uncontrollably, Life as the parent will respond to Life as the child free of the beliefs of the conditioned mind about how to raise children to make them “good and happy“.
But nevertheless the question remains: How to raise children if you are a parent whose understanding of the mind is not complete yet?
To be good parents to children, it is commonly believed that parents should love their children. Trying to be loving is not wrong, even if man is not the doer! Don‘t be confused by the message that doership is illusory! Understand the message: Illusory does not mean that it does not exist, it exists but not in the manner the mind thinks it exists. That‘s all! So if you believe to be the doer, you could try - if it happens to you - to love your children, but try it in the right manner, illusory it may be.
What is meant by trying to love in the right manner? It means: Try to love your children, as everybody else, unconditionally! Even if this will not happen only because you want it to happen, your sincere attempt - if it happens - will make you aware of the mind‘s false beliefs about love and you will come to understand that the love which your mind believes to be love is just illusory and not real.
The mind is based on comparing, judging, blaming, guilt, insisting, demanding, expecting and is therefore not capable to really love unconditionally. This is the mind‘s illusory function and nothing is wrong with it at all. Sincerity is needed! There has to be the imperturbable intention to really want to find out what real Love is. If this happens to you, you could ask yourself for example:
Is it love, if parents compare their children with other‘s?
Is it love, if parents want their children to be different than what they appear to be?
Is it love, if parents praise their children expecting them to do the “right“ thing again?
Is it love, if parents scold their children expecting them to behave better?
Is it love, if parents reward their children for achivements expecting them to improve further?
Is it love, if parents punish their children?
Parents, be compassionate with your children AND with yourself always! It is paramount to always accept one‘s own capability or incapability to really love the child. If there is a feeling of guilt involved, it will be very difficult to just watch the ego‘s reaction. So watch the self-blaming too and always be compassionate with yourself, come what may!
Always keep in mind that you are not the doer, speaker and thinker and that you are not able to do anything about the mind‘s reactions to its conditioned beliefs about parenting which keep “you“ reacting. And this should be proof enough that parents are not at all in control of parenting.
Parents should be happy that Life gives them the opportunity to understand their own mind through their children. Enjoy every experience with your children, painful it may appear, albeit illusory. Understand: The apparent difficulties in daily life with your children are illusory thoughts in the mind and not in life, and look at it as an opportunity to grow into Life instead of remaining stuck in the mind.
Understand that mind and life are not synonymous; the mind is a delay in life. Life flows continuosly, spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably. Mind unfolds intermittently, spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably.
If this happens, parenting will become the door to enlightenment which is being true, unconditional Love itself. But can you imagine how difficult it might be for parents who are beginning to understand that Life is not a matter of doing but a matter of happening (which is a singular flow without a beginning and an ending or cause and effect) and that parenting is not a matter of controlling children but a matter of trust in Life? Understand that Life will flow in only one way and the way cannot be stopped by the mind.
If parents begin to realize that all their beliefs about raising children are illusory, they will begin to stop shaping, commanding and criticizing their children, at least they won‘t take it so seriously any more, and this too will be a happening, albeit illusory.
Teachers, neighbors, grandparents, husband, wife and the whole illusory society will probably jump on them with slogans of responsibility and will even attack their beginning understanding by calling it madness and egoistic. Such is the Power of Illusion! And this too happens, if it is meant to happen. The depth of understanding reflects the quality of speech and action, albeit illusory. Understand this and compassion naturally sets in.
So the intention - if it happens - to really become free of all illusory beliefs about parenting has to be very strong to overcome those illusory obstacles! However, enlightenment should not be made into a goal to be reached in the future, for Life is the enlightened, toughtless Here and timeless Now which is unconditional Love itself. It reveals itself through the understanding that the mind whose concepts of “love“ are based on conditions is illusory.
It is highly recommendable to meet a true master as a guide through the illusions of parenting as well as all other illusions of life. His trust in Life is contagious to those who are open to it and shows parents in themselves the power to overcome all resistance against a true understanding of parenting and Life as it really is. The authors have met such a master in Dr. Vijai S Shankar who trusts life and realizes what life is and what the mind is not!
© Marcus Stegmaier, M.A., and Yvonne Machacek-Stegmaier, parents of Mara (8), Anna-Lea (5) and Lou (1)