Our communication with our children should not place the focus on doing. We tend to rely on saying ”do this, don’t do that”, when we interact with our children, and often for good reason. But we must also listen to our children, ask them what they are feeling, and encourage them to be aware of what their mind is saying. These are all ways of bringing in the dimension of Being, of awareness.
We can teach our children the names of things, for example, the names of different trees, but at the same time we can also explain that a name is a word, and a word is not the tree, just as their name is not really who they are. Then we can invite our children to experience the tree, plant, flower, through sensing and feeling, rather than through words.
To help bring consciousness back into the parent-child relationship, Susan Stiffelman’s book, Parenting Without Power Struggles, teaches parents how to consciously interact with their children. When we grow up in a dysfunctional family – and most families are, to a greater or lesser degree, dysfunctional – we don’t know what functional or sane behavior looks like. Functional behavior reflects a high level of emotional intelligence, of Presence, and a way of communicating that embodies truth, love, acceptance, honor and respect. Stiffelman draws on some of the insights of psychologist Gordon Neufeld for her understanding of the way healthy relationships develop, as well as the work of Byron Katie, with her four questions that can help a parent feel less triggered. Everyone experiences emotions, such as frustration, but it is our choice as to how we might communicate these challenges in life.
The unconsciousness that we experience, the pain body, is a result of unresolved emotional wounds. This inability to process and accept our emotional states is caused by lack of awareness and of an inability to communicate what we feel. If we can’t accept and allow our own emotions to happen, how can we be expected to accept and give space to our children’s emotional reactions? That acceptance is an important aspect of the dimension of Being.
“It is our life’s purpose,” says Eckhart, “to awaken” – to free ourselves and our children from the unconscious patterns that develop without the rootedness in Being. As our true nature emerges and unfolds, an inner light shines through as the power of Presence.