Not a parent? It doesn’t matter.
This blog post will look at some areas we can all work on, and I think it is essential for everyone, as we will all have been influenced by our parents/careers/friends. It can help us reflect on what is within us from our childhood – because it affects us today.
My wife asked me to listen to this after she had worked through it. Having two young boys, we are constantly trying to improve ourselves as parents and are very aware of the mistakes and missteps we take regularly.
Consciousness is something I have been working through a lot in the last couple of years, moving away from a ‘God has it in hand’ mindset to an ‘I need to be present and aware of my reactions to things. It has been a tough journey but also very rewarding. Each morning I tend to do an 18-minute yoga stretching session and then a 10–20-minute meditation session. This is completely none spiritual, as the yoga is to stretch myself out due to a bad back and spend some time ‘being’, with the meditation being practised to remind myself that my consciousness comes before the I that I usually react out of.
I will be writing another blog post in a while about meditation and the revelations that I have stumbled across, so I will park that element of it there for now. But something we can all be familiar with is that we respond from the emotional state we find ourselves within at any given moment. If we are happy, our responses are far more relaxed than if we are late for a meeting, stuck in traffic and aware that if we do not make it on time, something is going to go very badly wrong.
Being conscious is basically being aware that we do not need to respond from these places; in fact, we can let these feelings and emotions fade away quickly if we know ourselves and if we are aware enough to notice that we are feeling these things in the first place.
This book is well written, and though it uses spiritual language, it conveys the need to be present, authentic and purposeful in how you are with children. I think the thing I found so hard to grasp was the reality that within 15 mins of listening to this book, I was once again reacting from a place of expectation (or ego) with my children. One of them makes a mess eating their breakfast after asking them to be careful, or they do not turn the TV off when I ask them to, and then they or I break down. My response is to want to shout at them, get irritated and worked up. It is like my fuse is about 2 seconds long, and at the drop of a hat, I detonate to full-blown nuclear Sam.
This is not because of anything my children have done. This is because I have unrealistic expectations of my children, and when they do not match what I expect, I react out of ego. Having these two little mirrors of reality popping up many times each day in my life, well, it is one of the biggest challenges and most extraordinary adventures I have ever or will ever experience. If I am willing to look, they reflect me back to myself: the good and the bad. I have an impression that I make on my children because children are so malleable. So, I need to be careful and present in how I respond to them – which takes a lot of work.
Learning how to respond to these two young children in a present way enables them to get the most from me, and also helps me to understand more about myself, because I will get it wrong time and time again.
I think that is the reality about this. There is no perfect state, but there is the ability for me to be awake some of the time to how I am reacting. Hopefully, this time will increase bit by bit, and I can become aware of the place I am responding from more often.
This is not just about children, you see. We interact with people every day. Being aware of the place we respond from is a potent tool to get the most out of who we are and the most out of those who is around us at any given point.
Before I briefly look at the spiritual differences between this and my Christian framework, I do want to put a note of warning to the reader. There are always new levels of self-discovery that are possible for all of us. We are never as aware as we can be, and there will always be more things we can learn about ourselves. So, it must be noted that this is a journey; none of us is perfect.
It should also be noted that a book like this, when aimed at parents (who can shape their children if they are consciously engaging with them), has the ability to change everyone.
The only difference is when you have young children; you are interacting with them all the time, so you have more failures, more moments of being aware and more to reflect upon at the end of the day.
This does not mean it is not actually beneficial for everyone. We need to be conscious and aware of what is within us, why we are responding as we are responding, and realising that we have the ability to pause and then interact with another human being.
Parenting in a Godly manner was always something people spoke about. But at the end of the day, those who believe in God tend to also believe that He will restore all people to Himself. He holds the keys to how and who we are, and that He raises our consciousness to how we are responding in certain situations if we are open to Him prompting us by His Spirit.
Without God, as I believe Christians actually are, it becomes apparent that we need to do the leg work to improve ourselves, and we need to realise that sometimes our subconscious will bring things to the surface that we need to work through. But then we can go deeper. We can use our conscious mind to reflect and witness what rises from our subconscious, becoming more aware of who we are as we watch our thoughts and feelings come unbidden to the fore.
This is where meditation comes in, but that is an entirely different post in and of itself.
In reflection (see what I did there?), this book is beneficial at reminding parents and people how to be better, in and of themselves. It will defiantly be going on my yearly reading list.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
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Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
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Farewell For Now – When Belief Dies
- Farewell For Now
- When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
- When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
- When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly