Who doesn’t like to grab the meditation pillow, maybe a candle, and find that nice quiet space within one’s home where one can sit for 20 or 30 minutes in pure bliss? Sure you might first have to go through some challenging thoughts, feelings, and sensations, but if you’ve practiced meditation for a while, you know it’s well worth it. The truth is, however, peace and quiet in this day and age can be somewhat of a luxury. And this couldn’t be more true than for parents.
Olivia Rosewood pens this recent Huffington Post on the trials and tribulations parents face in practicing meditation. According to Rosewood who uses her own experience at cultivating that internal focus despite potentially overwhelming distraction, key for parents to take into consideration is echoed by the late meditator Lester Levinson and his quote, “Can I allow things to be other than the way I think they should be?”
I realized that I don’t have a problem meditating in noise, crowds, airports, buses, or even with loud and sometimes interrupting children. I had to look at that: where did this strange ability come from? At the heart of the matter is the late great sage of meditation, Lester Levinson, who famously said, “Can I allow things to be other than the way I think they should be?” Also, Eckhart Tolle espouses the simple yet profound encouragement to “allow what is without resistance.”
In fact, Eckhart has spoken at length about meditation practice and children. His most poignant recommendation, from my point of view, is not to yell harshly at your child when they interrupt your meditation practice. You are sitting quietly on your silk pillow, breathing, perhaps repeating a mantra silently. A child bursts in the room screaming and tackles you. How do you react? Scold? Ignore? Hug?
A meditation practice is just that: practice. Practice for what? Practice for life. It is practice for dealing with life as peacefully and receptively as possible, not just superficially, but on the inside, too. So if your child interrupts your practice, it’s no longer practice, it becomes real. Therefore hug the child, love the child, and if you can, resume your practice afterward. If you can’t resume your practice, whether it is energy cultivation or silent sitting, then practice is over and the game is on. How loving, receptive, and calm can you be in real life? Can you have boundaries without being reactive or emotionally volatile? Can you bring the principles of a meditative practice into your parenting style?
Read more from Rosewood on her experience with practicing meditation despite chaos here.