Parenting by Eckhart Tolle

In this video, Eckhart Tolle and physical chemist Lothar Schäfer discuss that no one can act beyond their level of consciousness, including our parents. When we want our parents or anyone else to act more consciously, we are unconscious, creating suffering for ourselves because we are denying the ‘isness’ of the present moment. We are conscious when we can allow people, including our parents, to experience whatever state of consciousness is arising in the moment, without imposing our expectations and demands on them. This is the state of compassion, kindness and empathy for the humanness of the other.



Gretchen Schmelzer August 11, 2015
This is for all of you parents who lived through difficult childhoods, difficult years–through trauma (however you would define it), through neglect, through war—especially, but not necessarily, as children. This is for all of you who had to do whatever you needed to do to survive and now you are out on the other side. You made it with a lot of grit and effort. Your life is calm. It is good. And you are working hard as a parent to raise your children, whether they are toddlers, teens or young adults.

As a therapist I saw how hard it was for you– as you work to raise your children in a life of happiness, even as that was something you did not get as a child.

You grew up in the country of trauma—and you managed to emigrate from that land and come to this new country of health—of peace. The country of health where your children are now growing up.

On the outside this sounds like the perfect happy ending. Parents are safe, and children are happy and healthy. It should be easy, right? It’s not. Because if you do it well, if you raise your children to get what you didn’t have –and I am not talking about material things, though they may figure in; I am talking about attention, and consistency, and care. I am talking about help with their homework and going to their games, and friendly dinner conversation. I am talking about the freedom of being a child, of being able to be age-appropriately self-focused; to be able to lean on you and struggle with you, and even ignore you.

If your child lives in this world of health, what’s difficult and painful is that they really will never understand your world—the world you grew up in. And this can be incredibly lonely. And can make a parent feel incredibly torn. On the one hand all you want is for your children to get what you didn’t get and have the opportunities you didn’t have, and on the other hand you worry that they don’t appreciate what they have and that they won’t get the strengths you have that saved your life. Holding these two vastly different worlds is so very hard and takes so much strength.

What I tell parents who have lived through trauma is this: If all goes well, your children will never completely understand you. They will love you and they will learn from you, but your experience will always be foreign to them. Maybe when they are adults they might be able to understand some of it, but they will never know what you really lived through. They will never see the world through the same lenses as you do. They will take things for granted that you see as the biggest gifts. They will not see all that you do for them, because what you do for them is a part of the fabric of their lives. Children only see what they live in. This is as it should be. It means you are doing it right, but it can feel so isolating.

One of the most baffling things for parents who have lived through trauma is this: childhood isn’t always easy, even if everything is going well. Learning is hard work. Growing up is hard work. Kids struggle and wrestle—they cry, they tantrum, they worry, they do thing wrong. They get sad over small things and small disappointments. Even in the happiest of households, it is a long trail with a lot of ups and downs. It takes a lot of learning to build the muscles of becoming a healthy person. And for parents who lived through trauma, this can come as a shock. Many of the parents I have worked with have voiced a similar sentiment: I thought a happy childhood was easy—I never imagined my kids having a hard time if there weren’t bad things happening. I don’t understand them when I see them getting upset over ‘nothing.’ I don’t understand them. And they don’t understand me.

And what I try to help them understand is that in healthy families—the kids are doing the developmental work they need to do. They are working on their growth, not yours. You need to work on your own growth, healing and development—so that you can support the growth and development of your kids.

It is tempting when you have had a difficult childhood to want to give your children the childhood you didn’t have. Yet the most important thing you can do is give your child what he or she needs. Each of your children will need different things—different parenting—than you needed –or even than the other siblings need. A more anxious kid needs different parenting than a more risk taking kid, for example.

The biggest casualties of a difficult childhood are the emotions. If you grow up in trauma you survive by shutting your emotions down, and then you have kids, and man, kids are nothing if not emotional. And they can trigger yours. How do you suddenly learn to manage your emotions? Find language for them? Tolerate them? One of the best books on emotional coaching is Faber & Mazlish’s How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Your Kids Will Talk. It is a clear easy guide to talk about and coach kids through emotion. I made it required reading in all of the therapy classes I taught because it was the best guide out there, even for future therapists. And as you help your kids with their emotions. You can learn about your own.

Parenting with a trauma history is one of the bravest things that people can do—and it is invisible. If you are doing it well, nobody knows. Nobody cheers. If you had been physically disabled by a past trauma and chose to run a marathon—people would call you brave. But we don’t do that with emotional wounds. They are invisible and the parents who rise to the occasion—and parent with love and purpose—who give what they never got—they are unsung heroes.

One of bravest things you can do is to heal from your own trauma—because it allows you to hold your feelings, it allows you to get just a little bit of what your own children are getting—some support and help with the hard things. It allows you to have someone help you and coach you about child and adolescent development and understand what the losses and gifts were in your own trauma. It might help you understand your child’s world, this new world that you created. It is easier to have compassion for your children’s struggles when someone has had compassion for yours.

So I say to you. Stay strong and know you are doing one of the most difficult things I have witnessed. That you may feel alone, but you aren’t alone. That your courage and bravery are creating not only a better world for your children, but for the world right now and for generations to come. And as you teach your children about love, have compassion and love for yourself and the journey you are on.

© 2015 Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhD

Yes! from Byron Katie

When you discover that all happiness is inside you, the wanting and needing are over.

Moving from Opposition by Jeff Brown

The polarities are changing with respect to gender. Soon it won’t be men vs. women. It will be the awakening vs. the asleep, the heartfelt vs. the heartless, the selfless vs. the selfish. Awakening men will rise up and stand beside women, in opposition to those men who imprison all of us. The kind of men who sexually assault women; the kind of men who manipulate economic systems solely for their own benefit; the kind of men who confuse aggression with assertiveness, will be met by a gender-inclusive force of benevolent souls, who will no longer tolerate the stripping of our human dignity, the raping of this planet or the women who mother it. I appreciate the good intentions of those who believe that we are ready to move away from opposition as a construct altogether, but I feel they are putting the heart before the force. It’s premature. We still need to fight for our right to the light, and we need to do it together. Not as two polarized genders, but as souldiers of a higher order united by love, ready to march humanity into the light of compassion. (~an excerpt from ‘Spiritual Graffiti’) by Jeff Brown

Overcoming Separateness by Ram Dass

We try so hard to overcome separateness with others. More intimacy. More rubbing of bodies. More exchanging of ideas. But always it’s as if you are yelling out of your room and I am yelling out of mine. Even trying to get out of the room invests the room with a reality. Who am I? The room that the mind built.

We spend so much effort to get out of something that didn’t exist until we created it. Something that is gone in a moment. We’ve all had moments when there was no room. But we freaked. Or explained it away, ignored it, or let it pass by.
A moment. The moment of orgasm. The moment by the ocean when there is just the wave. The moment of being in love. The moment of crisis when we forget ourselves and do just what is needed.

We each come out again and again. We turn and look and realize we’re out – and panic. We run back in the room, close the door, panting heavily. Now I know where I am. I’m back home. Safe. No matter how squalid the room is, no matter how unmade the bed, no matter how many bugs are crawling around the kitchen. Safe.

These moments appear again and again in our lives. For many people it first comes as a glimpse into other states of consciousness brought about by emotional trauma, drugs, sex, nature, or a love affair. This glimpse reveals to the person that there is something more. That he or she isn’t exactly who he or she thought.

You may link these moments with the conditions out of which they arose. Perhaps it’s the moment of sexual orgasm when you transcend self-consciousness. Perhaps it’s a moment of trauma, of extreme danger when you “forget yourself.” Perhaps it’s when you are out in the woods away from people and you let down your defenses, loosen the boundaries of your self-consciousness. Perhaps when you are lazing by a stream. Perhaps when you are sitting quietly with friends you trust and love.

For surfers it is the moment when they come into equilibrium with the incredible force of the wave. For skiers it is when the balance is perfect. When our skills fit the demand perfectly, then there is no anxiety. Then we have proved ourselves. There is nothing left to do. In that moment our awareness expands.

– Ram Dass

Life’s Lessons by Ram Dass

Question: You say every life situation is a perfect lesson. How is that so?
Ram Dass: The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out our reactivity, which is our attachment, our clinging, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it. And as long as there are places where we’re vulnerable, the universe will find ways to confront us with them. That’s the way the dance is designed.

In truth, there are millions and millions of stimuli that we are not even noticing, that go by, in every plane of existence, all the time. The reason we don’t notice or react to them is because we have no attachment to them. They don’t stir our desire system. Our desires affect our perception. Each of us is living in our own universe, created out of our projected attachments. That’s what we mean when we say, “You create your own universe.”We are creating that universe because of our attachments, which can also be avoidances and fears.

As we develop spiritually and see how it all is, more and more we keep consuming and neutralizing our own reactivity. Each time we see ourselves reacting we’re saying, “Right, and this situation too, and this one too, Tat Tvam Asi, and that also, and that also, and that also.” Gradually the attachments start to lose their pull and to fall away. We get so that we’re perfectly willing to do whatever we do – and to do it perfectly and without attachment. It’s like Mahatma Gandhi gets put in jail and they give him a lice-infested uniform and tell him to clean the latrines, and it’s a whole mess. And he walks up to the head of the guards and he says, in total truth, “Thank you.” He’s not putting them on or up-leveling them. He’s saying, “There’s a teaching here, and I’m getting it; thank you.” What’s bizarre is that we get to the point where somebody lays a heavy trip on us and we get caught, and then we see through our caughtness and we say, “Thank you.” We may not say it aloud because it’s too cute. But we feel, Thank you. People come up and are violent or angry or write nasty letters or whatever they do to express their frustration or anger or competition, and all I can say is thanks.

–Excerpt from Grist for the Mill: Awakening to Oneness

In order for us to be able to make these teachings available to everyone, we need your support. As Ram Dass says, “When you see the Beloved all around you, everyone is family and everywhere is love.” We are all affecting the world every moment – our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another. So please do lend your support to help us make this vast offering from Ram Dass and friends accessible to all.

Honesty by Jeff Brown


is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.

The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning
of Everyday Words
© 2015 David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

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