We want the best for our children. we desire to gift them a spiritually attuned life – so that they can enjoy healthy bodies, open minds, loving hearts and yes, the untouchable happiness that arises from realizing that they are a sacred soul. How do we achieve this? Perhaps this unique letter will give you some ideas
Watering the shootsOne mother shares her experience with giving her children a spiritual and value-based upbringing” and “by Najoo Sohonie”
Most of us bring up our children the way we have been brought up ourselves. In spite of the many differences of opinions we may have with our parents, we seem to end up, in manyways, doing the things our parents did. So, when I am asked about spiritual parenting and how I have brought up my children, I answer that parenting is an ongoing process – a cycle of how you are brought up, and, in turn, how you bring your children up. Here are a few personal examples that may offer insights to parents keen on giving their children good parenting.
Exposure to different paths
I was extremely fortunate to have been born in a house where I was exposed to many different paths of spirituality. I learnt healing at the tender age of five years from my aunt, who lived in the same house, and who was very much into Christian Science. When I was in school, my father took sanyas with Osho, and I remember him taking me along to Osho's (then called Rajneesh) discourses, in his private residence on Peddar Road, Mumbai, every evening. As I went to college, I would go along with my dad to meditation camps, held by Rajneesh, in Mount Abu.
I appreciated the freedom that my parents gave me in choosing my spiritual path and the non-dogmatic approach to religion. As my own children grew, I decided not to 'impose' any particular religious belief on them, but allow them to be exposed to as many cultures, religions, beliefs and faiths as possible, in the hope that as they matured into young adults, they could choose the faith that appealed to them the most.
However, there was always an undercurrent of spirituality in the house as we were growing up. My children learnt to 'meditate' when they were really young, and would accompany me or my dad as we would sit to meditate.
My daughter, who is now an accomplished artist, always says that this diversity of cultural backgrounds and religious/spiritual inputs have contributed and inspired her in the creation of her art.
Sometimes, my children feel that they would have appreciated a more structured religious upbringing, rather than the total freedom which I gave them. They felt a bit confused from time to time, as their mother was of Parsi origin, and their father was a Hindu. Maybe, with children of mixed religious origins, the parents can decide at an early age in which direction they would like to steer their children’s religious upbringing. However, the role of parents, in my eyes, should always be limited to that of a guide.
Sharing and participating
Whenever I would attend a new programme, I would come home and excitedly share my learning with the children, who were more than happy to hear what I had to say. When I completed the Silva Mind Control Programme in 1993, they were so taken up with what I said that they attended and completed the entire programme at the tender ages of 14 and 15, and learnt to meditate 'scientifically' by lowering their brain cycles to alpha level whenever they chose to. I can say that they are still using this technique till date, to relax their minds.
Connecting with nature and the universe
One of my favourite childhood memories is of sitting on my balcony with my dad and watching the golden sky as the sun would set in the evenings. It would be a silent time, during which we didn't need words to communicate. Other times, we would wake up early in the morning to go to the Gateway of India, to watch the sunrise. Many times, we would take a walk down Marine Drive or Worli Sea Face in Mumbai, just absorbing the beauty of nature and feeling one with our Creator. My dad and I also loved to garden on our terrace garden, sowing seeds with our own hands and watching them grow into beautiful plants, fruits and vegetables – always being in gratitude to Mother Nature for the abundance with which She provided and shared her bounty.
Today, this love of nature has translated into a beautiful garden in our terrace flat, which my son tends to with meticulous love. He has taken over where his grand-dad stopped, and it is with awe that we watch every new bud that is born, every new petal as it unfolds its beauty, and every new fruit as it waits heavily on its branch to be plucked. In fact, we are so in communion with the plants, that we rarely pluck the fruits and vegetables for consumption. We simply prefer to enjoy their beauty as they adorn the terrace.
Apart from my two children, Maya and Nikhil, I can easily say that I have hundreds of other 'children' and they do really call me 'mom'. Maybe my maternal instinct is really strong, maybe I just love to nurture – but I give to my students the same love and spiritual guidance that I have been giving my own children. I share with them all the things I learn, all the books I read, all the practices that I find useful, and the experiences that make my life wondrous.
We are all on a spiritual journey here together – whether we are in the body of a mother, father, child or student. We are here to help each other grow and evolve. If we are alert and aware, even children can help you on your spiritual path. I am a continuous learner and find every moment miraculous.
Najoo Sohonie is a life coach and a teacher of the SSY (Siddha Samadhi Yoga) which regularly holds parenting courses and infant development programmes.
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