Yesterday I took my 4 year old daughter son and 9 year old to my meditation teacher training. I couldn’t find a babysitter and my teacher was gracious enough to suggest bringing them and letting them stay in a room close to our meeting room. Her suggestion brought an immediate feeling of resistance and fear.
For some parents the thought of bringing their kids is a non-issue, but not so for me with my disciplined Caribbean upbringing. I had visions of my daughter laughing out loud in the middle of a meditation segment; of people in the class being annoyed by these pesky kids; of having to constantly leave class to attend to them or quiet them down; of them trashing the room they were staying in and in the end of my teacher being displeased with them being there.
Ah, the workings of the mind and the scenarios it creates to reinforce its resistance! None of these fears were justified! My children, though they can be raucous and challenging at home are generally very well behaved in public. The class is full of other parents and gentle, loving souls who might actually enjoy the sound of a child’s laughter in the midst of their meditation. And my teacher suggested I bring them! So the fear, like most fears, was not logical at all. In fact when examined closely, it was a manifestation of the ego worrying: “What will people think of me?” So of course I had to take them! I also didn’t want to miss the lecture on Chapters 7 & 8 of the Bhagavad Gita (definitely worth reading if you haven’t already!).
Amazingly enough, pushing through my fear actually helped me appreciate my kids even more. Neither one complained when I explained what was going to happen. My son did a wonderful job of monitoring and helping his sister. They occupied themselves with the activities we brought, and he was very quiet the two times he did need to come and get me. We had to leave early to take him to soccer (especially since we were bringing snacks!) and he kept track of the time so that he changed into his soccer gear before we had to leave. My daughter made lots of little foam crafts and cleaned up all her scraps. She had pretty much reached her limit by the time we had to leave (in the middle of the lecture), but still they were both very considerate of being quiet as we left.
Later that day after soccer, my daughter handed me a juice pack and straw, and sweetly asked: “Mommy, would you help me with this please?” In that moment I recognized again the sweetness of their presence in my life. Even though there might be actual (rather than fear-imposed) limits to what I am able to do as a result of having to care for them, they are such beautiful beings and I am so blessed to know, love and be loved by them.