Transforming the Parent?/?Child Relationship
By Swami Parameshwarananda
“Some people grapple with doubt. They go to a workshop and meet a guru. They have an experience of being filled with the most incredible, expansive, divine love they have ever known. Then they go home, and slowly “real life” creeps back in. They pay a few bills, watch some TV, and then while brushing their teeth one night they think, ‘Did that whole one-with-the-universe thing really happen? There was that feel-good music playing at the time. Come to think of it, I had some caffeine that day, too. Yeah, I was definitely imagining it.’ Then they tuck that memory in when they go to bed and wake up the next morning having forgotten it ever happened. Not me. Even if the mind tried to make me believe that transformation isn’t possible, it couldn’t. If it pulled out all its stops to destroy my faith in love, it would fail. Because I have irrefutable evidence that I’m right … my dad.”
My daughter Becky wrote those words after the transformation of our relationship that followed our experiences with Sai Maa. She had seen me transform from her old father, quick to anger and judge, to someone with whom she could experience love, laughter and joy. It goes back to an experience with some “holy” hotel sheets.
Years ago, while on a trip, my daughter and I stopped at a motel. We were thrilled that we could do our laundry as our clothes were dirty from hiking. Becky put her clothes in one machine, and I put my clothes in another. We didn’t have any laundry detergent, so Becky said she would go and get some. When I took my clothes out of the dryer, they were full of large holes.
I was really furious because I thought the hotel’s machine had ruined my clothes, and I only had one other set left. I went downstairs and complained. Not being completely aligned with the Self, I asked for hotel sheets as replacements. Housekeeping delivered them to the room, so I went to the bathroom to try them on. They were too large, so I made do with what I had.
Cut to this past May. Becky and I were in Chicago for a weeklong program with Maa. I was in the front of the room, speaking about how, after one of Maa’s programs years before, I had been accused at a Syracuse hotel of sneaking out of the hotel wearing hotel bed sheets. Everybody, including Maa, was roaring with laughter. Becky yelled from the back of the room, where she had been overseeing the video team, “Wait a minute! I have another story about sheets.” I gulped.
She ran up to the front of the room. Everyone was on the edge of their seats to hear what she had to say. Becky explained the story I just shared above; however, she added some significant points, like “Dad was really pissed.” She explained about my demanding to be given hotel sheets to wear and how they were enormous on me. She added a point I didn’t know: she had put bleach in the machine to get the stains out. When she saw the holes she caused, she couldn’t tell me. “Holy sheet!”
Why do I focus on this particular story? First, Becky gave me the chance to face my own reactions in front of a very large group and see what happened inside me. Did I judge Becky for doing this? Was I upset? Was I embarrassed? I’d say for the most part, no. Not the old father and judge. Perhaps I felt a twinge of embarrassment; however, that passed very quickly.
Secondly, a big part of Becky’s gift was for me to learn to laugh at myself — to laugh with Maa, Becky, and everyone else. I had tears in my eyes, and they were not because I was sad or depressed. I was full of joy and loving every minute of being “up front” with everyone, in more ways than one. Yes, “holy sheet!” Life’s a hoot! Let’s keep on laughing and not take ourselves so seriously. I was so serious for many years, especially at home and with Becky. That’s all over, and thank God for it.”
Maa pushes us, always with love. She pushes us past our comfort zones to wherever we need to go to transform to a higher form, an awakened state. Maa sees our light and what covers it. She knows just how far we can go, what’s right for us at the moment. In her book, Petals of Grace, she teaches us how love is our highest truth and it is up to us to recognize that Divine Light, the Grace latent in us all.
“First, a relationship is a mirror of your Self,” she writes. “Secondly it helps you to grow because in a relationship you are to make decisions, you are to experience, you are to say ‘yes’ and you are to say ‘no.’”
I’m not saying that you have to be with a master. That would be arrogant and insensitive to who you are and what’s right for you. I can only attest to the quality and progress of my own path, still knowing how much further there is to go. No matter how long “it” takes, I choose to be with Maa because I’ve experienced, felt, and known deep down what’s right for me, what my truth is. I’ve witnessed transformations not just in myself but in Becky and so many people who have been blessed to be in Maa’s presence, however long their stay has been.
We’re living a great shift. We’re at the edge of a new golden age that’s coming. We can say it’s too high, or we might fall; however, we need to take the leap if we want to be pioneers and creators of this new era for humanity and the planet. We don’t really have much choice. The shift’s happening whether we like it or not, whether we join in or watch from the sidelines. It’s actually much easier and less self-destructive to go with the flow rather than resist, to do the inner work and transform rather than suffer.
Maa knows what it’s like to truly fly, to be completely free, to be liberated. I’ve been flying more and more with Maa, although not yet at the same frequency, speed, and consistency. As I live, learn and transform, my flight time will increase, and I’ll reach new heights and dimensions of myself. I’ll see and know all of you as the same multidimensional being I am, the same light, and same Self that is limitless and eternal.
Maa always says, and once had a program called, “Dare, Dare, Dare!” So much comes from taking this dare. You can’t know what the flight is like until you dare and come to the edge. Be pushed by your true Self and the truth within you that is waiting to be unleashed, to fly free.
Let’s rack up some flight hours together. Let’s practice and become the divine pilots we already are and don’t yet realize ourselves to be.
Let’s get our wings!
Swami Parameshwarananda has lived his life as a bar mitzvah boy and initiated monk, husband and father, student and PhD psychologist, management consultant and consulting firm partner, executive coach and spiritual guide, non-profit executive and board chair, teacher, lecturer and healing practitioner. This article is adapted from his book, In the Path of Light with Maa: A Journey of Love and Transformation. He has much to share, and this book reflects what he has lived so far and who he is in this moment. Its contents are a testament to the constant love, service and teachings of an enlightened master and Divine Mother who has graced his life for over 17 years.