When I think of my daughter some day spreading her wings and heading off into the world on her own, I feel a mix of pangs of personal loss combined with an incredible excitement for the experiences that lay before her. Where will she go? Whom will she meet? What will she experience? Who will she become? I hope that my husband and I will have been able to instill her with a sense of confidence, trust and joy for herself and life, and to give her the tools my parents imparted on me, tools for navigating through lifeâ€™s pleasures and challenges–trusting and learning along the way, and how to project for, and manifest oneâ€™s goals in life.
I love to watch my daughter, Amrita, as she plays, discovering how the world works and testing its boundaries, cause and effect. She recently heard one of my friends taking about catfish. She came over, looked at me and asked â€œCatfish?â€ then burst out laughing. â€œCat….fish? Cat + Fish?! Hahaha!â€ For the next hour I could hear her muttering and chuckling â€œCat…fish?!â€ to herself. She knew about cats and about fish, but a catfish? Amrita just turned two and is forming her own sense of reality. Her whole day is filled with…What will happen if I do this? What sound will this make if I bang it on that? What will I look like if I put on my butterfly wings on in the front, Mamaâ€™s shirt on my head and two pairs of pants? If I put this here, will it balance or fall? Will that always be so…?
I believe that as people we are only limited by what we believe we can achieve and manifest. If we believe we are worth nothing and can never amount to anything, this will most likely be our path, since we will not put out positive energy towards our goals. By projecting for the kind of situations and growth you wish for in life, you open yourself to seeing the roads to achieve your goals and are open to receive gifts when they come. By meditation or prayer or simply positive thinking much can be realized. That is not to say that there will not be a lot of hard work involved. The traditions in which my husband and I are raising our children are based on a variety of inspirational stories and yogic meditations, through which energy can be harnessed to achieve a goal or state of being.
As a parent, I often reflect on my childhood and the elements that contributed to forming my own sense of reality. My chosen bedtime story was often one of Yoganandaâ€™s childhood tales from his Autobiography of a Yogi. As I mentioned in my column from last month, my parents are both disciples of an Indian Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, who first brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920â€²s. In his autobiography, we are taken on a journey through his childhood, his family life, his path to finding his own Guru, and becoming a monk and a spiritual teacher. I really love being able to share and learn of Yoganandaâ€™s path through his own words. It has always been a great inspiration and comfort to me. Yogananda begins his account as an infant, and especially when I was a child myself, listening to stories of his early years was a wonderful way to relate to myself and my spiritual growth. To see that my Guru was not born as some ideal of a perfect, all knowing being, but a real person who had challenges and experienced growth, while still being very connected to God and the universe, was invaluable in my own realization of connecting to God. We are all God, we are all one and many.
One common thread throughout Yoganandaâ€™s life was his ability to be clear in his intentions, and through his connection to God, manifest his own reality. My favorite story of him as a child was one where Yoganandaâ€™s sister teasingly dares him to ask the Divine Mother to bring him two loose kites that are sailing over the roofs by their balcony. Yogananda begins silent prayers, and one kite floats against reason toward him, the string entangling in a cactus plant within his reach, a perfect loop formed for his seizure. His sister tries to mask her amazement by exclaiming that it was simply an extraordinary accident and challenges Yogananda to bring the second kite to him. Again, Yogananda begins his prayers, and again he is successful.
This story really appealed to me on a fantastical level, as I think most children are drawn to stories of the sort. I have always been drawn to overcoming the obstacles of perceived scientific universal law. Then I began to realize that â€˜magicâ€™ can be viewed as connecting your energy with that of the flow of the Universe and God, and we all have our own little pieces of magic in our lives. What is commonplace or easy appears as normal and what we do not understand how to create can be seen as impossible. But as the human race evolves, we constantly achieve feats that in the past would have been viewed as magical or impossible. I do truly believe that anything is possible, we must simply grasp the path there. That is part of the fun of life and existence.
My step-son Siri, who is 17, often likes to share what he learns in his Psychology class in relation to Amrita. Our most recent discussion revealed that children first believe anything is possible. Their inner magical life knows no boundaries. Then, as they get older and become aware of the laws of the universe and the reality of their situations in life, they think in a much more linear and limited fashion, defining their boundaries and perceptions. The interesting thing is that for most, thinking then usually shifts back to one where more possibility can be seen and there is more room for â€˜more in life than meets the eyeâ€™ once again. As my children evolve and learn and grow, I will be be there cheering them on, and offering what guidance I can with a gentle hand as they realize and manifest their own personal reality. I want to teach them that while they probably canâ€™t fly off the roof without getting hurt, they still really can soar.