About "The Parents' Trap" : Students of Vedanta learn that Atma cannot be defined but may be understood only as what It is not! That process of logical negation, ‘Neti Neti’ (na iti meaning ‘not this’), explains that Atma is not the Body nor the Mind nor the Ego or Intellect; that Atma is neither the Sky, the Earth, Light, Wind and so on. It transcends all that exists and at the same time, pervades all existence! This knowledge pretty much helps to describe my column. It is not about parents, nor about traps. It is not about schools, children, babies or brats.
My column is, well, the color that pervades Life's highs and lows in their infinite shades. Like yoga, that is union of Body, Mind, Soul, this column is a confluence of Life as a whole.
I'll share 50 years of personal experience; observation, introspection and some revelations. Perhaps through the lens of a nurturing heart, my column will celebrate living as an art. I will share my experiences as a parent, teacher and child to present all of the colors that manifest as Life
Chapter - 5
It was late evening in November. I was about to curl up on the sofa with my little Beagle as usual and watch the day’s recordings of my favorite TV serials, when the doorbell rang. “Seems like one of your friends!” my husband called from the study, which faced the driveway. It was rather late for an unexpected visitor. I found a stranger on the porch. Young, pretty, yet visibly anxious. She had some baggage so I guessed she was searching for an address. “I’ll quickly direct her and return to my couch”, I reassured my TV-obsessed self. But to my utter surprise, the young lady had come looking for me! “I need your help, Aunty” she smiled weakly, her beauty worn, yet her eyes exuding an inner confidence.
As a student of Vedanta, I am often obliged to share the knowledge with friends who could use the guidance but here was a total stranger, referred to me by a common friend! Of course I had some suspicion as to what had brought her to my doorstep and it was soon confirmed, even before she could acknowledge the tea and cookies placed before her. With a trembling voice she began to ‘throw up’ in great detail, all the bile and festering indigestion of two years of marriage. It was a story that has by now become so familiar that we should have an app based on it!
She spoke of the same helplessness that hundreds of women experience with disrespectful, abusive husbands. She wept at being tormented by the same insecurity that hundreds of women experience when emotionally abandoned by their husbands. She retched with humiliation, as hundreds of women do when betrayed by husbands and in-laws, unwilling to honor their wedding vows. Through the drama and its harrowing consequences, the GEM of a mother inevitably surfaces as the Great Evil Manipulator!
As a mother of two sons I recognize that I have at my discretion, the power to set my sons free to experience the joy of loving others or keep them bound in a Parent Trap that only serves to feed my ego. The key lies in understanding the MATRIX.
The word Matrix interestingly translates to “the womb” originating in the word,”Matr” meaning mother in Sanskrit.
Apart from information technology, MATRIX refers to the intercellular, cross-functional structure of tissue. It is the scaffolding that keeps things from collapsing. The Matrix exists at various levels …physical and ideological. Whether it is a tree or a community, both are supported by a matrix. Few people know this to be the true meaning of the word ‘DHARMA’, which is often misconstrued as ‘religion’. Originating in the Sanskrit ‘Dhrt’ meaning ‘holds’ or ‘supports’, DHARMA refers to that which does not collapse. Mother Earth is thus referred to as ‘Dharti’ or “She who holds”. Gurus often give the example of water. The idea of water HOLDS as long as water boils at 100 degrees C, is colorless and seeks its own level. That is the Dharma or Matrix of water. Should water assume color or change its properties, it would cease to exist as ‘water’ and acquire another dharma. Similarly, the idea of mother ‘holds’ only as long as she adheres to the MATRIX of mother. When she defies the natural Matrix or Dharma of mother, she becomes ‘any other’ but ‘mother’ and must bear the consequences.
Every individual therefore has infinite DHARMAS all forming the MATRIX of his or her existence. The trick is to be aware of our specific Dharma as parent, child, passenger, customer, tenant, landlord, patient, relative, friend, neighbor, doctor, teacher, student, employer, employee, daughter in law, son in law, even mother in law and find the underlying balance.
My anguished guest stayed the night as we discussed the various options before her and hopefully by daybreak, she could see light at the end of the tunnel. At the very least I hoped that she knew the secret to her happiness lay in adhering to her Dharma first as woman, stable, confident, independent and compassionate. Armed with that vision, her possibilities were endless.
About the Author : Mona Vijaykar is the Director of The Globasaurus Program, a series of classes designed to bring deeper understanding of Vedanta for children of all backgrounds. Vedanta is the core wisdom of all religions and helps connect people of seemingly different cultural backgrounds. Mona, a mother of two grown sons has always been engaged in teaching spiritual values to children through books, which she writes and illustrates; musical theater which she scripts and directs as well as through classroom presentations (India in Classrooms) in schools, across the Bay Area.
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