Reinventing the relationship with my mom
“Kill your mother. Kill your father”
I read this in a book on Zen by Osho. It made a lot of sense to me then, but I knew that as with every Osho book I have read, it would take time to settle in and make the impact and finally, to be able to apply this. It did happen – one fine day, months after reading this. I decided to die to my relationships – all of them. The most important one to me at that time was my relationship with my parents, the raison d’être for my entire plunge into spirituality at the outset.
Waking up in the morning in those days was triggered with intense hate due to all the noise that my mom would make doing her morning chores. Even her complaints about me irritated and depressed me as I woke up each day – until I decided to end it all within me rather than throwing a morning tantrum that I was so (in) famous in the family for. That morning I sat upright after waking up, and just focussed on all the noise, all the complaints. Letting the tears roll but choosing to go through it saying only one thing – “what is the worst that could happen if I go through this and face it!”. I started writing all the thoughts that connected to angst, pain, anger and hatred. It was the start of the journey. Through the days that followed, every time I had the thought “Mom never likes me doing this” or “she never values my opinion”, etc. would be dealt with a firm “CANCEL CANCEL”(see article on Switchwords) with rephrasing of this thought EVERY SINGLE TIME.
About 6 months of doing this, I could finally acknowledge that mom was just being a mirror to my darkest sub-personalities – not a very happy realisation because that meant dealing with a lot of darkness a lot of time! Though this realisation would keep hitting me every now and then, I didn’t want to acknowledge this. One day I sat myself down, doing Inner Child work, I asked myself this valuable question – “why do you want to deny this thought?” The answer came – “Because I feel angry when I think about this”. I persisted, and asked, “Why? What angers you most about it?” The inner child replied, “She is supposed to be only good to me”. “Says who?” I asked. “Says me!” yelled my inner child adamantly. This is where another realisation dawned – the ego of the child. Synchronistically, I had read Osho one of those days saying that a child needs to have ego when he/she is young, because that ego feeds the individuality of the child, makes the child unique and hence, rebellious because otherwise the child grows up never feeling his/her own self. But at one point, every individual must adapt the spiritual awareness which allows him/her to shed this ego once a person turns into an adult. I was struck by Osho’s clarity because this was exactly what was happening. I had hit the spot of ego in my inner child – the place where “should’s” came in.
This awareness took a long, long time to settle in. Every “should” related to “my parents SHOULD be able to provide for me”, to “my parents SHOULD understand me” came about and determined as I was to end this “should” business once and for all, I would CANCEL this thought and substitute it with HAVE – “my parents HAVE been able to provide for me” and “my parents HAVE understood me”. “What a lie this is!”, the inner child retorted. Yet I persisted. Slowly the validations of all the statements such as these came about in the physical world. The next step was acknowledgement – writing down notes in my daily journal – even though they appeared silly, like, “today my parents bought me the fruits I was longing for without me telling them anything; I acknowledge that I am being provided for by them and I choose to be grateful now”.
Though on a thought and feeling level I was greatly healed, there was still a sense of some resentment towards my mom especially, very deep within me still lodged in – like a small shard of glass that is lodged in some tiny corner, which causes ache every now and then. I intended to heal it and left it at that. Another valuable lesson is when your spiritual teacher and friends tell you “Surrender. You’ve done all that is needed now let the process take care of the remainder”, you must listen!
Rebirthing-Breathwork workshop was on in a few months with Jesús Meca and Sara Dawn, two incredibly powerful beings. At that workshop, just talking to them was making miracles happen! In one of those talks early on, Sara mentioned about an affirmation that was really funny – “Ding Dong! The wicked witch is gone!” At first it didn’t make any sense as to why Leonard Orr would have that as an affirmation! Then getting to understand its background from the old movie, The Wizard of Oz, I understood that it was a celebration of freeing oneself from an innate death urge that seems encoded into one’s psyche due to birth trauma, where the soul is too terrorized to want to live and hence fabricates a psychological pattern of attracting death-like situations in various parts of their life. One of those days, we had to say affirmations aloud from a page in turn in the workshop, and it amused me when the wicked witch affirmation came to me!
After returning from the workshop, I expected myself to fight with my mom (as was a pattern then after each of my workshops). Instead there was peace. While earlier I had struggled to maintain silence with her, this time all was naturally quiet. At first I didn’t understand what it was. Then one day it dawned – all the fight, all the struggle was inner – right since the moment I was being birthed by her, the anger and resistance so deeply encoded. But that negative inner talk was with a mom that was inside me – the wicked witch was my own created sub-personality – and it had the identity of death urge. The fight had been cleared in the workshop through breathwork and working with this affirmation playfully. Silence was inside my mind and I was at peace with it, rather than fighting to create it. You truly cannot fight a war for creating peace. All fights, struggles, wars and fears are ONLY inside our minds. This was a big realisation in itself, one that I have been applying in my daily life since then.
Every conflict I have had with anything – be it money, or poverty, or with a person, I have been learning to identify and isolate it in my mind and treat it within, rather than drawing daggers out and burning bridges in relationships – something which I tended to do earlier, which was a part of the death urge.
We may die and be born several times but “fixing” our relationships doesn’t have to wait for the next life. Moreover, we leave the projects, the deadlines on earth, never to return back to them again, but we never leave our relationships – whatever your theory is about reincarnation, we are going to keep coming back to the same relationship to the same person over and over again – yes we can take a “break” from a relationship by taking time to rethink it out, but there’s no leaving it or escaping it. It is better to give it a balanced end in a way that my maitreyi-guru taught me – she always says about relationships, “Let the bondage go and the bond remain” – it was the middle path between abandoning a relationship and attaching oneself to it.
Today I understand my mom as a new person I am meeting for the first time in my life. I see her inner child clearly for the first time – the situations that hurt her that makes her insecure and, at times, violent. It is a lesson for me too that compassion does not mean containing the violence of someone’s mind, but leading by example and choosing to end that relationship, while acknowledging the spiritual connect with that person. I ran away several times from home just to get a “break” from her, and so the struggle was always there to be free. But after having to keep coming back every time to the same relationship taught me that freedom is also an inner process. The condition to begin every transition of life from outward situations is the most basic conditionality to all love in life, which blocks our progress. The start is inner, the journey reaches the outer circumstance, but finally it feeds back into an inner realisation. It IS full circle that way, and to comprehend it takes time, takes space – because those are the two things our planet is bound to for now.
Today I feel married to her – as a spouse – a different person that I am living with, whom I have chosen to love in a different way; a person who means a lot to me even when she doesn’t seem to satisfy any ‘conditions’ and is a person still coming to terms with her own individuality. Her inner child ego is now just her story, and I can watch her and hold her hand through this without invading her space, by personalizing her story, her pain and calling it “mine”. I have learnt that cutting my energetic bonds to her every night before I turn in helps her and me both without getting entangled in a spiritual blame-game. In that way, I can choose to let go without abandoning her. That for me is marriage – an ultimate form of commitment – for now. I am happy to be married to her for the rest of my life.