Consciousness isn’t a magical quality bestowed on the few who are lucky. Rather than being dropped out
of the sky, it’s a state that emerges as part of a process.
To engage this process, it helps to be aware that consciousness isn’t a sudden and total absence of unconsciousness. On the contrary, consciousness emerges progressively from unconsciousness. Those who walk the path of consciousness are no different from anyone else, except that they have learned to mine their unconsciousness for its potential for heightened awareness. This means that consciousness is accessible to all of us. Indeed the magical thing about the parent-child relationship is that it constantly presents us with opportunities to raise ourselves to a state of intensified consciousness. While we believe we hold the power to raise our children, the reality is that our children hold the power to raise us into the parents they need us to become. For this reason, the parenting experience isn’t one of parent versus child but of parent with child. The road to wholeness sits in our children’s lap, and all we need do is take a seat. As our children show us our way back to our own essence, they become our greatest awakeners. If we fail to hold their hand and follow their lead as they usher us through the gateway of increased consciousness, we lose the chance to walk toward our own enlightenment.
When I speak of our children transforming us as parents, don’t for a moment imagine I’m advocating relinquishing our influence on our children and becoming their minions. As much as conscious parenting is about listening to our children, honoring their essence, and being fully present with them, it’s also about boundaries and discipline. As parents, we are required to provide our children not only with the basics of shelter, food, and education, but also to teach them the value of structure, appropriate containment of their emotions, and such skills as reality testing. In other words, conscious parenting encompasses all aspects of bringing up a child to be a well-rounded, balanced member of the human race. Hence there’s nothing “permissive” about parenting consciously, and throughout this book we will see examples of parents learning to truly be parental in a constructive manner that empowers their children to become emotionally and behaviorally mature.
This being the case, I think it’s important for me to explain why I have reserved the specific information I wish to impart concerning discipline for the final chapter. The conscious approach to discipline is grounded in our ability to exercise real presence with our children. It’s crucial parents realize that this approach is only effective once they have learned through the parent-child dynamic how to be present with their children, which is something that will unfold chapter by chapter as we proceed on this journey together.
Parental metamorphosis is the key to a leap in human consciousness. However, when parents come to see me, they aren’t usually looking for a way to grow personally. Rather, they are eager to find answers to their children’s behavior. They hope I have a magic wand that will transform their children into youngsters with a resolute and healthy psyche. I point out that conscious parenting is more than applying clever strategies. It’s an entire life philosophy involving a process that has the power to transform both parent and child on an elemental level. The only meaningful way for parents and children to relate is as spiritual partners in mutual spiritual advancement. For this reason, conscious parenting goes beyond techniques aimed at fixing a specific behavior, speaking instead to the deeper aspects of the relationship between parent and child.
The beauty of the conscious approach to bringing up a child is that, rather than trying to apply a technique and hoping it’s the right one for the particular situation, consciousness informs us momentbymoment how best to go about the task of parenting. For instance, when my daughter tore a dollar bill in half, was a reprimand required or praise? I allowed my inner being to guide me, which in our oneness resonated with her inner being. Even when we are called upon to discipline, consciousness shows us how to do so in a manner that bolsters our child’s spirit rather than diminishing it. As you muster the courage to abandon the control inherent in a hierarchical approach and step into the spiritual potential of a circular parent-child dynamic, you will find yourself increasingly free of conflict and power struggles. The parent-child dynamic then becomes a transcendent experience, replete with soulful exchanges worthy of beings who recognize the privilege of finding a spiritual partner. By surrendering to the oneness of a conscious parent-child relationship, we elevate parenting out of the purely physical and into the realm of the sacred.