Parenting: a matter of setting a good example, right?


I am sitting in an office with the owner and his son of 2.5/3 years and a cat. 
The owner tells about personal developments in recent times. 
I'm listening. In the meantime, his son plays with the cat.
"You must come here," the young child says to the cat, "come here."
He commands the cat several times (as his father commands him), but the cat just goes its own way. At a certain moment the child picks up the cat. He holds the cat between his arm and his side. The cat tries to break free, she is not in a panic, she doesn't scratch or meow, but she wants her freedom of movement back. The father intervenes. He says: "The cat doesn't like that, you shouldn't do that, let go of the kitty, come here" (the commands).
Jim lets go of the cat and goes to his father. 
The father takes the child on his lap and says: 'I will let you feel what you are doing with the pussy..., you hurt the pussycat, the cat doesn't like it when you grab her like that'. 
The father clasps his hands around the flanks of his son, around the rib cage and presses forcefully on the rib cage of his son, who starts to cry loudly and says: "That hurts, don't hurt, Daddy." The father continues the movement and says: "Yes, that's how it is for the cat, that's what you do to that kitty, never do that again, have you understood that?" 
The child cries even more violently and in the meantime nods 'yes'. And then Daddy lets go of his son's rib cage. The child pushes the father away and on the other hand he also moves towards the father (mixed feelings). The father puts his arms around his son's waist and comforts him: no more, huh?
When the child stops crying, he leaves his father's lap and the father continues to talk about his experiences to me. Then the phone rings. Father answers the phone. In the meantime I look at the boy and the cat. And then I see the following scene: the boy grabs the cat and puts both hands around the rib cage of the cat and starts squeezing firmly. This time it is serious. 
Where the first time there is an unintentional holding of the cat, now a conscious act is taking place: what does it do to you, kitty, if I press your rib cage together like my father did with me? I see it happen..., and jump up to free the pussy from his hands. The child lets go of the pussycat, because of my unexpected movement and at that moment the telephone conversation of the father also ends.

Yes, that's how it goes. From an early age, we unconsciously copy the behavior, habits and beliefs of our caregivers. As parents, we often don't realize how much impact our actions have on our children. We don't realize that what our children show us (openness, closedness, helpfulness, distrust, violence, etc.) is a mirror we give them by the way we live.

The father commands the child; that is the example he gives the child and the child commands the cat. The father wants to teach the child that it should lovingly interact with other living things (the cat) and uses violence (the opposite) to make this clear. The child copies the behavior of the father and treats the cat with violence. And possibly, at a different time in time, the "child" uses violence against his father or other people. And the father wonders why his son has become so aggressive.

Like father Like Son.

Patterns, customs, beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next, without us being aware of that. Well, that's how it goes... until our heart opens and a wakening up from our unconscious state of being takes place. Then we can rewrite our history, then we are aware of that what is taking place in us and around us; we see through the beliefs on which our actions are based. Then it is possible to transform patterns and deep imprints of beliefs. Everything starts with 'awareness', with 'seeing'. 

Until that time...
Forgive them, for they don't know what they do.
Forgive us, for we don't know what we do.

To see is to be free.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes


Socrates: an unexamined life, is not worth living.

The all-seeing eye of Horus 

Today the words 'Know Your Self' went through me. 'Know Your Self' stood above the temple of Apollo, the temple where the Greeks consulted the Oracle of Delphi. Many classical Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, were convinced of the idea that true knowledge about life starts with intensive self-examination. In fact, according to Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. For the sake of clarity: Socrates doesn't say that an unexamined life is worth nothing. 

I recognize this statement from Socrates. An unexamined life is not Life..., it is a life that proceeds mechanically according to learned patterns that we develop as a child. Example: you always fulfill the role of mediator (as an adult), because as a child you were in the middle of serious arguments between your parents, they often had a fight. Result: as soon as there is disagreement in a company or in the relationship, mechanically the pattern is put into action, you mediate, whether you want it or not, you are taken over by the pattern, because the last thing you want is to be in an atmosphere of fighting and quarreling. So any circumstance that has similarity with this atmosphere, triggers a feeling of insecurity, the insecurity you experienced as a child from which you stepped in between your parents. So you act 'unconsciously'. Actually, according to your learned program, which you have no control over, because this program is still unconscious in you, there can't be disagreement. Disagreement or quarrel, which in time is a given in a lifetime, means to you: insecurity. You don't want to be confronted with this feeling. 

Another pattern can be: distract. For example, you come from a family that didn't talk about emotions or difficult situations, because the parents themselves didn't learn how to deal with emotions. The example you have seen as a child: as soon as emotions or vulnerability are in play, your parents distract you. Consequence: as an adult you repeat, completely unconsciously, automatically, this pattern when emotions are popping up in a conversation with your child, partner or friends. Another consequence: you don't understand why you feel so empty..., cut off as you are of your own emotions and vulnerabilities... You feel alone with some regularity, you don't experience connection, contact, friendship, without being aware that this is caused by this pattern. 

Everyone, without anyone, knows painful experiences whose pain has never fully seen the light (for example the pain of being left out), but this pain does direct our behavior, without us knowing it. Unless... 'being aware' stands up in us.

In addition to learned patterns (appeasing, doing your best, distraction, wanting to be liked etc.), we also learn from a young age what is right and wrong. In this way many 'pictures' live in us, which we lay about reality. 

Example: to be lazy and doing nothing is wrong, nobody dies from working. Again we are guided by these 'pictures', which are automatically activated when a situation in the present agrees: your son or daughter, who with some regularity takes time and space to relax, is encouraged to work, you give him or her an assignment for a household job or let him/her know that homework needs to be done: lazing is not allowed. The reality is: a daughter or son who relaxes. That reality is therefore neutral, but not for you, because you have received the picture that doing nothing is wrong. This is one example, but I can tell you, through years of self-examination, that there are many pictures and beliefs in our lives that directs our behavior, without having to say anything about it..., unless we wake up, become aware. 

Whether we like it or not: we are lived by all those pictures, parental voices and beliefs, which we are not aware of. Ignorance and old pain determine our behavior. 

Okay, intensive self-examination seems to be necessary to wake up from the state of ignorance, also called the dreamstate. Yes, I agree. And that requires 'Consciousness', 'Awareness'. 

A first step is that we see the pattern. But what do you mean by seeing? Do you look from the mind? Or do you look from Awareness/Consciousness? If we look from the mind, we have an opinion about it: we condemn what we see. You see, for example, that a judgment passes and immediately a thought is activated: I am not allowed to judge, because judging is an expression of the mind. This is not the seeing that will free us from our suffering. It is about seeing from Consciousness, then it is perceived without judgment. And that is an essential development: the leap of seeing from the mind (which rejects what is seen) to seeing from the Source, which is clear, loving and neutral (our Buddha nature). 

How do you look? With what eye do you view your behavior and actions? Research that once every day. Do you look from the mind? Or is there a seeing from neutrality, a gentle, loving view of what is taking place in you? And what do you see? Do you see the patterns and beliefs in you that guide your behavior? Do you see which deeper pain is being affected, that you don't want to feel? The pain that lies behind irritation, judgment, distraction, your best efforts, guilt, shame, not being good enough, fear? 

Let the old pain melt, make contact with this pain that you have been carrying for so long: the pain of being unloved, the pain of loneliness and rejection, the pain of emptiness, the pain of not being welcome, the pain of helplessness and powerlessness, the pain of not being understood and heard, of being insecure and unsupported, the pain of oppression, of having no voice. The story is not important, because it keeps you in identification with the mind. Just feel the pain out of  Awareness (no story, be totaly aware while feeling the pain). The way out is the way in. 

Self-examination has a condition. What would this condition be? Any idea? What is essential to be able to reap the fruits of self-examination? 

My answer: a deep sense that you are the only one who is responsible for your pain. And we don't find that easy, because we are all avoiders..., avoidance of pain. And in order not to feel that pain or hurt, we point out, to the other, the others are the cause of my pain. And this conviction is very persistent: I feel so and that is because of you. No, that is not because of the other (s), the other only triggers the pain that is already present in you. If that pain is not present in you, there would be no pain at all, you would not experience the grumbling of your partner if you ask him to turn off the TV, because the bottom for it is missing in you. You can only be touched if there is a hook in you of previous pain, which seems to agree with what you think you perceive with the other person(s): my partner doesn't consider me important, he has no attention for me, only for that TV (mobile phone, other people etc.) If you are hurt, take responsibility for what is happening in you. And let the pain of the child you were melting. 

And the reward of self-examination is: inner liberation, unconditional love, suffering that ceases to exist, a clean lens, emptiness (there is nothing between you and reality: you see things as they are). A rich reward, which is not just thrown into our lap. It requires a total effort and then one day... the shift takes place... and you are no longer a slave of the mind. There is more and more vision, clear vision, the identification with the painful emotions and convictions gradually goes out (or suddenly), as the Consciousness deepens itself. If you feel challenged by this path, the way of self-examination, know that you are welcome for some guidance and support.

An examined life is worth living. 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes