You know that expression "something struck a cord?" Well when I read chapter 4 of A New Earth it was like an entire piano fell on top of me. I'm not sure if it's illegal to copy portions of a book onto a blog but I'll take the chance because it's too important to not share with the rest of you. And since I've got a dedicated reader pool I thought if just a few readers benefit from these words than it's worth the risk of getting hauled away in hand cuffs! Speaking of, I'd love to know who my readers are in Argentina, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden and the Netherlands. I don't mean to call you guys out but I see repeat visits (same IP address) from these amazing countries and I would love to know what led you here and what keeps you coming back. But it's ok either way. Perhaps someday I'll visit one of these places and bump into you on the street!
Ok, onto the book.
Chapter 4 talks about Role Playing (not that kind of role playing) but how specific roles we play (parent, teacher, doctor, preacher) define our identity. Here are a few excerpts on the role of parenthood...
"Part of the necessary function of being a parent is looking after the needs of the child, preventing the child from getting into danger, and at times telling the child what to do and not to do. When being a parent becomes an identity, however, when your sense of self is entirely or largely derived from it, the function easily becomes overemphasized, exaggerated, and takes you over. Giving children what they need becomes excessive and turns into spoiling; preventing them from getting into danger becomes overprotectiveness and interferes with their need to explore the world and try things out for themselves. Telling children what to do or not to do becomes controlling, overbearing."
"What is more, the role-playing identity remains in place long after the need for those particular functions has passed. Parents then cannot let go of being a parent even when the child grows into an adult."
AMEN!!! (that part wasn't in the book, I just added it for effect.) Ok here's more...
"In the human dimension, you are unquestionably superior to your child. You are bigger, stronger, know more, can do more. If that dimension is all you know, you will feel superior to your child, if only unconsciously. And you will make your child feel inferior, if only unconsciously. There is no equality between you and your child because there is only form in your relationship, and in form, you are of course not equal. You may love your child, but your love will be human only, that is to say, conditional, possessive, intermittent. Only beyond form, in Being, are you equal, and only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship."
"If parents honor only the human dimension of the child but neglect Being, the child will sense that the relationship is unfulfilled, that something absolutely vital is missing, and there will be a buildup of pain in the child and sometimes unconscious resentment toward the parents."
And then later in the chapter it talks about giving up your roles...
"Give up defining yourself-to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily for a function or a role, but as a field of conscious Presence."'
-Just wanted to share those bits. Off to read some more!