Parental Stress – From the Womb to the Grave

“Being an inspiration to our children is the number one most important thing that ever we can be or work on.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

Few would doubt that being a parent can be stressful, but being the child of a parent has its own set of demands and challenges. 

The common thread through this, another ‘Ask Me Anything’ episode of The Vedic Worldview, is the theme of parental stress, both from the parent’s perspective and also from the child’s.

Thom explores the impact the stress of a mother has on a child in the womb, and shows us how to keep inherited stresses in perspective.

He helps us navigate the age-old question of how to cope with rebellious teenagers, reminding us that rebellion isn’t always as bad as it may seem, and that inspiration is the greatest tool a parent has available to them.

And he shares some comforting wisdom on how to cope with the most difficult stress a parent could ever face, the death of a child.

Subscribe to Vedic Worldview

Apple Podcast logo
Stitcher Podcast logo
Spotify Podcast logo
Google Podcast logo

Episode Highlights


Q- Is Fear Passed on to the Child While in the Womb?



A – Awareness of Progressive Change



Babies Have Qualities of the Biochemistry of Their Mother



Mother Divine – Qualities Passed by Every Mother to Every Baby



Elephants Walk; Dogs Bark



Inherited Ability



Rediscover the Elephantine Grace



Mother is at Home



Nothing Can Overshadow Mother Divine



Q- When a child is rebellious, how can we best support them?



The Trap of Being Loving Controllers



Be the Best Example for Your Children



Clean Up Your Own Backyard First



A Great Cruelty



 I Have to Be an Adult



Empathizing With the Youth



“I don’t trust the way I raised you.”



From Violent Guerrilla to Inspiring Head of State



Let Go of the Loving Controller



Be an Inspiration to Your Children



Q- How Do We Deal With the Death of a Child?



Life and Death is Not the Polarity



For How Long is it Relevant for Us to Reside in a Body?



This is Not Our First Life



What Are the Gifts That Child Brought to Us?



All Suffering is Obedient to One Principle



Become Masters of Being Adaptive



To Cope With Loss, Become a Philosopher



Life is Not How Long a Human Body Lasts



For Whom Are We Grieving?



Bring an End to Your Suffering


Jai Guru Deva


The CrisParental Stress – From the Womb to the Grave

Q- Is Fear Passed on to the Child While in the Womb?

[00:00:45] What is the Vedic Worldview in fear having been passed along to the child while in the womb? As an adult, this fear could be unconscious. How can I tell whether it’s my own fear or my mom’s? Aside from consistently practicing Vedic Meditation, is there any other advice on how to move through this?

[00:01:04] Jai Guru Deva

A – Awareness of Progressive Change

[00:01:06] You highlight for us a very important multi-generational consideration.

[00:01:14] In our desire to bring greater and greater knowledge to the world, generation after generation, it is a fact that the emotions of a mother during gestation are encapsulated in biochemistry and brain chemistry, most of which is capable of crossing the placental barrier, and the emotions for which, encapsulated chemically, are experienced and shared by the fetus; by the embryo first, and then as it graduates into becoming a fetus, into the fetus.

[00:02:05] What this highlights for us is the great importance that our dear mothers of the earth, who are bringing forth the next generation, have every advantage provided to them, of being able to practice Vedic Meditation on a regular basis, and twice a day is considered to be the minimum that a pregnant woman can do.

[00:02:38] We have a special mother’s program for pregnant women, where they can practice at a much higher level of practice should they desire it, should it be desirable. They can partake of a higher level, a greater number of minutes of practice, and a greater number of sittings in meditation than merely two, during the whole of their 40 or so weeks of gestation.

[00:03:07] Partly to provide the mother with all of the adaptation energy, stability, adaptability, integration, to provide the mother with the ability to purify her body, and for the mother to be in that awareness of progressive change. And as the first beneficiary of that, for the baby in utero to be able to have and share the balanced chemistry of the mother.

Babies Have Qualities of the Biochemistry of Their Mother

[00:03:45] And so this is really one of our great desires.

[00:03:49] Those who are in my immediate circle and, most particularly my wife Ariella, who has made deep connections in the birthing world with hundreds of mothers to promote the very great usefulness and applicability of Vedic Meditation, and as importantly, the intellectual understanding of all that goes into the consciousness of a mother, and then prints out through her physiology, into the child.

[00:04:33] Having said all of that, yes, it’s true that if a mother experiences stress, and we won’t be exclusive to fear here, stress can appear in the form of mania, which means uncharacteristically high levels of happiness for no particularly good rational reason. So just super-excitation, mania, which is one form that stress can take, to anxiety and fear. Yes, you mentioned fear.

[00:05:08] Sadness, another form of stress experience, and anger, another form of stress experience. Anger, sadness, fear; these are the trifecta. These are the triumvirate of the expressions, but there’s a fourth, which is mania.

[00:05:34] Anytime a mother is experiencing a negative reaction to overloads of demand that are demands that are being made on her, her negative reaction will turn into the chemistry for either anger, sadness, fear, or mania, and the baby is going to share that experience.

[00:05:59] And so then babies will be birthed, and in the first seconds of living life independently from the womb, already are having some of the quality of the biochemistry that was passed onto them by the mother.

Mother Divine – Qualities Passed by Every Mother to Every Baby

[00:06:19] But very importantly, in this consideration, something else was passed on by the mother, no matter what, irrespective of what relative experiences the mother went through during gestation, there is something else that we have to consider that is passed on by the mother. And that is Mother Divine.

[00:06:45] Mother Divine, all of the qualities of the divine cosmic maternal capability are passed along by every mother to every born baby. Every mother has innate Mother Divine qualities, and these Mother Divine qualities are in as a balancing agent against whatever episodes of stress may have been experienced by a mother during gestation.

[00:07:22] These Mother Divine qualities must not be overlooked. It will be a great insult to the status of the divine feminine to say that a child is merely the product of all of the stress episodic experiences a mother may have experienced during gestation, because there is this other great big thing, the big elephant in the room.

Elephants Walk; Dogs Bark

[00:07:51] See what happens, when an elephant enters a village in India. I saw this many times. An elephant will come walking into a village, dozens of dogs come barking from everywhere, but the elephant doesn’t mind. She’s just happy that some dogs are enjoying barking. That’s all.

[00:08:16] The elephant walks, and dogs bark. What is the purpose of this? Elephantine consciousness, that elephantine power of the feminine, that elephantine power of Mother Divine.

[00:08:33] And yes, there were some dogs barking and, you know, dogs only bark when there’s big consciousness around. Dogs don’t bark when there’s little consciousness; some little ant comes through the village, we don’t see any barking dogs. The dogs all just stay asleep. It’s only when big elephantine consciousness appears.

[00:08:54] Being pregnant is a big, big thing. As anyone who’s been pregnant knows. It is elephantine in its consciousness power. Something new awakens inside the feminine of the woman who is bearing another human, the next generation.

Inherited Ability

[00:09:15] And it is that that is the biggest thing that is passed along to the child, the biggest thing. And when we’re looking at different ways in which meditation can bring great things to people, the number one reason why meditation works is because when we settle down in our consciousness during Vedic Meditation, we make use of our mantra, and effortlessly using the mantra, naturally our mind quietens down, the body goes into a deep state of restfulness, and the mind arrives at that vast unbounded Unified Field, the deepest layer of relativity prior to absolute transcendence is that layer of Divine Mother.

[00:10:09] How is it that we’re able to get to that? We got it from our mother. We inherited that. That ability to experience that vast unbounded state is our ability to be like the big she elephant who comes strolling into a village, unconcerned about whether dogs are enjoying themselves barking or not. Happy if they are and unconcerned if they’re not or not.

Rediscover the Elephantine Grace

[00:10:40] And so this also has to be considered to be coming down through motherhood. And this also needs to be uncovered by every individual who gets born in the world— that’s all of you, every one of you was born of a mother— and to rediscover that elephantine grace, which you inherited from your mother, that is going to dwarf whatever little stress episodic events; the barking dogs are the stress episodic events.

[00:11:17] So if we were sitting in a village witnessing, as I did many times in my youth, a beautiful, big wild elephant walking through a village in the outskirts of a village in India, and some dogs came barking, and you had to say over lunch that day, what was the primary experience that you had this morning?

[00:11:41] It wouldn’t be, “A lot of dogs were barking. A lot of dogs were barking.” No, it wouldn’t be that. It would be, “An elephant entered the village, an elephant entered the village.” And then you might add, as a kind of a secondary note. “The dogs got pretty excited too,” but the primary thing is not the dogs. The primary thing is the elephant.

[00:12:08] How do we get to that elephantine consciousness? All of us need to meditate to awaken the primary deep Mother Divine quality that we inherited from our mothers and which came into our physiology from our mother.

Mother is at Home

[00:12:26] This is what meditation brings us, contact with Mother Divine, the greatest deepest quality in the relative world, just prior to that last bit of relativity, prior to absolute transcendence, feminine.

[00:12:42] And then having that in our awareness, we have that feeling all the time. Mother is at home. What does mother is at home mean?

[00:12:52] See what happens if there’s a bunch of children in a place, if they can look over there and see their mother, they think, “Oh, Mother’s at home.” It’s alright, run here, jump off the coffee tables, crash, bang, boom, all over the furniture. Things flying everywhere, fall down, bang your knee. Doesn’t matter. Mother’s at home. Everything’s fine.

[00:13:12] But if they look up and mother’s not at home, then it’s like everything’s suddenly frightening. Cloud comes over the sun. Ooh, frightening moment. Can’t find the car, frightening moment. You see the wind blowing a tree outside, frightening moment. Frightening.

[00:13:28] But when that stability’s there, mother is at home. That quality of consciousness, which we arrive at in Cosmic Consciousness as a result of regular daily practice of our Vedic Meditation technique, we end up stabilizing that ‘mother-is-at-home’ mentality.

[00:13:49] Let this happen. Let that, whatever happens. Someone comes and says, “Oh, the government changed their mind. You don’t own the house that you thought you owned anymore.” “Huh? Mother is at home. It’s all right. There’ll be another house somewhere. Everything’s fine. I’ll go for a walk for a few days. Who cares?”

Nothing Can Overshadow Mother Divine

[00:14:05] Mother’s at home; you have access to that Divine Cosmic, creative intelligence. It can never leave you. Who gifted that to you? It was gifted by your mother. Have you discovered it yet?

[00:14:22] Or are you still in that kind of, “Uh oh, my mother got stressed because she was pregnant and she had an argument with somebody. Or she was pregnant, she was scared about something. Or she was pregnant, and she got sad about things. And that’s all I am is a product of anger, fear and sadness, the stresses that happened when my mom was pregnant.”

[00:14:44] No, that’s not what you are. That’s not what you inherited. Those are the dogs. Let’s talk about the elephant. Big elephantine, she-elephant consciousness, that which cannot be perturbed by anything because of infinite capability, infinite capability.

[00:15:08] So, let’s emphasize on that. And then this other thing about some stress here and there, we prefer for there to be less stress during time of gestation, but nothing can overshadow Mother Divine. Nothing, and that’s it.

[00:15:27] But we have to awaken that, and we awaken that layer through our regular daily practice. And the rest of it is just proof that an elephant came. What’s the proof that an elephant came? Lots of dogs were barking.

[00:15:44] So, proof that big consciousness appeared on the scene. There were some dramatic events around the thing, but the big consciousness is the main event, main event. This we awaken through our meditation.

[00:15:57] Jai Guru Deva.

Q- When a child is rebellious, how can we best support them?

[00:15:59] How can we best support a child who is rebellious in acting out, a child who rejects our attempts to guide and support? I fear for my teenager’s safety, and I’m confused by the rejection.

The Trap of Being Loving Controllers

[00:16:13] You’re mainly forgetting what you were like at that age. You just have to remember yourself and evidently, things turned out alright. And now you have unnecessary worries and anxieties about someone who may have been even less rebellious than you were, maybe less, and even if you weren’t openly rebellious, maybe you were secretively rebellious. Maybe you were sneaking around being rebellious, but we all come through that age.

[00:16:48] And the thing is, for those of us, who’ve fallen into the trap as parents, or even as non-parents, that’s a whole other story. Those of us who have fallen into the trap of being loving controllers, loving controllers is a very easy trap to fall into.

[00:17:07] “I love you and so I have to make sure that you eat your broccoli. Oh, you didn’t eat all your broccoli. I love you so much. Eat your broccoli. Oh, I love you so much, you have to eat your broccoli. You really wanna see that? Go to that party on the weekend. Eat your broccoli.”

[00:17:21] And the child’s body is saying, “But broccoli isn’t really in my body type right now or inside my balance arrangement,” or whatever. “It’s not inside my desirability array.” And little child can’t really argue too much because it’s only three or four, and the loving controller is freaked out about broccoli being the solution to all problems in the world.

Be the Best Example for Your Children

[00:17:44] The fact is, the upbringing of children is something that you have very little control over. You can give a certain amount of guidance based on worthy inquiry. You can be a good example and do your best to be exemplary.

[00:18:02] If you have a knitted brow or raised eyebrows and you look worried and anxious, then your child is going to look at you and think, I don’t want to be like that. So, whatever it is that that is advising me to be, I’ll be the opposite cause I don’t wanna be that.

[00:18:23] So, we have to be careful what kind of example are we giving. Are we going to be able to control our children into the kinds of behaviors that we wish them to engage in? No, you won’t be able to control them.

[00:18:40] One thing that you learn as a parent is the delightful fact of the uncontrollability of your children. They’re uncontrollable. They may be inspired to follow your example if your example is exemplary enough, but if your example is not exemplary enough, they might be inspired to do anything except to end up looking like you.

[00:19:11] So, we have to be the first point of reference. Who is the Knower? Who is it that is the advisor of those whose advice we wish people to follow?

Clean Up Your Own Backyard First

[00:19:25] If we don’t look as though our own counsel has done us any good, if we don’t look as though our own advice has done us any good, if we don’t look as though our own personal philosophy has done us much good, why should anybody, particularly our children who watch us through magnifying glasses for our whole life, why should anybody follow what we say they should be doing or not doing?

[00:19:51] So, first point of reference, we need to clean up our own backyard first. That is to say, let’s get rid of the stress. Let’s get rid of the stressed looks. Let’s get rid of the idea that the world’s going to come to an end if particular things don’t happen, or do happen or whatever.

[00:20:10] Someone whose life is dictated by events, someone whose life is dictated by politics, someone whose life is dictated by gossip or conversations— if we wanna be more kind about gossip, we call it conversations— someone whose life is dictated by relativity, and that person wants to now advise me, and I’m a child growing up.

A Great Cruelty

[00:20:37] From the child’s perspective, they see this age coming. In the Western world, we’ve done a great cruelty to our children by telling them, and this was all done just so that politicians could get votes; you’re going to be a complete adult by the age of 18.

[00:20:53] In America, you won’t be able to drink any alcohol. In other countries, you can at 18. Every other country besides America, 21 in America. In the United States you can’t drink poison until you’re 21. Other countries, you can drink poison at age 18.

[00:21:09] When the vote was put down to the age of 18, many of you are not old enough to remember it; I remember when this happened all over the world, politicians wanting to be able to get a larger number of people voting for them, lowered the voting age to 18.

[00:21:25] And that itself could have been a reason why people would vote for them, irrespective of whatever their other policies were. You get a whole lot of immature people voting for you.

I Have to Be an Adult

[00:21:35] So, now kids see 18 coming, “18, 18, 18. I have to be an adult. The world in the society says when I’m 18, I’m an adult.” There’s nobody who’s here, who’s over the age of 18 who’s listening, who is actually an adult at the age of 18. And any of you who are over the age of 18 and the further above it you are, the more you’ll agree with me, 18 is not adulthood. You’re still a teenager.

[00:22:03] But that doesn’t stop children from thinking, “I have to be an adult. I have to be somehow, if not completely, at least a high percentage, 75, 85, 95% self-sufficient living in the world and having decided who and what I am.

[00:22:25] “Eighteen is coming. And now what am I? 15, 16. And in four years, in three years, in two years, in one year, I have to be completely my own person.

[00:22:40] “And now I have this adult talking to me saying, ‘Do this, do that. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Watch out. Don’t go and get those experiences you want to get.’

[00:22:49] “But I have the whole society saying you have a matter of months before you have to be a full-fledged adult. And so, I have to practice being a full-fledged adult, irrespective of what kind of advice is being given to me by these stressed parents.

[00:23:08] “What am I going to follow? It’s likely that I’m going to follow whatever it is I think I need to be doing in order to give myself that self-sufficient status that the whole of society is constantly reminding me, I’m going to be in that position pretty soon.”

Empathizing With the Youth

[00:23:26] Now, once we begin empathizing with the youth on this basis, what are they experiencing inside there? What are they experiencing inside there?

[00:23:38] The pressure of having to become a fully-fledged adult in their late teens, just in a matter of months; “I have to be one of those, and I have this person who I may or may not respect, the example that they’ve set for me telling me what I should be doing and what I shouldn’t be doing. Uh uh, that’s not going to happen. I have to figure it out on my own.”

[00:24:04] The moment we start to empathize with all of this, and we see what’s going on in these almost adults, late teens, early adulthood, if we want to call it that, even though that’s a little bit as if, we can start really understanding the extreme importance that we embody for them, what it is they’d like to become.

“I don’t trust the way I raised you.”

[00:24:30] That becomes the highest priority, the highest priority. Otherwise, if we can’t embody for them what they would like to become, why should they follow our advice?

[00:24:43] One young person I heard say to her own parents, she was a teen, “When are you going to show me that you trust the way you raised me?”

[00:24:53] It almost brought me to tears at the time. She was 17, almost 17. She was a few weeks away from being 17, and said to her parents, who wanted to prohibit her from going somewhere, “When are you going to show me that you trust the way that you raised me?” Wow! What a powerful mirror to hold up to those parents.

[00:25:19] So, sometimes we have to be very careful that we’re not saying to our children, “I don’t trust the way I raised you. You may have learned things by watching me that I don’t like you having learned. And therefore, now I have to advise you not to be like me, your advisor.”

[00:25:40] And then the child’s logic says, “Well, why should I trust the advice of someone who considers their previous advice or their previous example to be a bad one?”

[00:25:52] This, once again, throws us back into, the number one thing we need to be working on is self-referral, self-referral. This has to be our number one priority. To what extent, to what percentage am I actually radiating a desirable life that would cause people, young people, to want to come to me and say, “Whatever it is that made you you, please tell me what that is; I want it.”

[00:26:30] Rather than, us having to be the loving controller who says, “Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.”

From Violent Geurilla to Inspiring Head of State

[00:26:37] On the flip side of all of this, how many things did you end up doing, as a late teen, how many things did you end up doing that you looking at your children, you would think, “I would never want my children to experience that,” but here you are evidently relatively okay, having survived it all? And you came through it, and you ended up where you are in a position where you want to raise your children a little differently.

[00:27:12] We have to have a greater admiration for the robustness of the human condition. Children can get through just about anything and end up being great people. Children can get through just about anything.

[00:27:29] One of the greatest people ever that I met was Nelson Mandela, and here was somebody who, as a teenager, was a violent guerilla, and whose idea of what had to happen was the violent overthrow, by the killing of those overlords of the apartheid, racist government of South Africa.

[00:28:01] And he ended up spending years, decades in solitary confinement, and ended up being one of the most desirable people on earth you could ever hope to meet. Someone who had been a killer, and someone who had been sought after by an admittedly racist government, and had been jailed for political reasons, and was held for most of his life, ended up becoming the head of state, and one of the gentlest most beautiful, most enlightened, educated personalities ever you could hope to meet in your lifetime.

Let Go of the Loving Controller

[00:28:45] To what extent do we have trust that Nature knows what it’s doing? To what extent do we have trust that our children are coming into this earth with a destiny? It’s their destiny to fulfill. It’s not ours. And so, let’s let go of the loving controller. You won’t be able to control your children into anything. You will be able to inspire them, perhaps.

[00:29:15] So, we need to let go of the loving control thing and be a spontaneous inspiration to them. Let’s do some more self-referral, some more of this becoming the inspiration that is the attraction to their asking us for wise and trusted counsel, otherwise they’ll never ask us for wise and trusted counsel.

Be an Inspiration to Your Children

[00:29:39] Let’s have our attention on ourself. Let’s show some trust of Nature that my child is born with, yes, a few dogs that are going to bark at the elephants, but that elephantine Mother Divine quality, which the child has also inherited from us. All of the good things have also been inherited by your child. And let’s awaken those. Let’s be an inspiration to them.

[00:30:10] Being an inspiration to our children is the number one most important thing that ever we can be or work on. And learning how to control them, give up on that. It’s a completely futile exercise. It won’t ever work. There’s no method that I can recommend that will make you a better controller of children.

[00:30:35] So we just let go of that completely. Let’s let our attention on being the inspiration that attracts the worthy inquiry. “How should I live my life, mummy or daddy?” Whoever you are. “I want to be like you. What can I do?” That’ll come if we pay attention to our own spiritual development.

[00:31:00] Jai Guru Deva.

Q- How Do We Deal With the Death of a Child?

[00:31:03] Thom, can you share from the Vedic Worldview how we could deal with the death of a child?

Life and Death is Not the Polarity

[00:31:09] I think this is one of the most difficult experiences that it is possible for a human to process, the death of a child. It appears as though we’re really not hardwired for managing such a change of expectation. And particularly since, as the caregivers to a child, whether we’re parents or other caregivers involved with a child, it’s natural that every effort and every bit of attention goes into that child’s wellbeing and safety, the nourishment, the upbringing, and all of that, with hopes for a future, and that we’re doing our best to deliver some wonderful person to be a member of the next generation of humanity.

[00:32:17] And so let me acknowledge right from the beginning of this and from the outset that this has to be, on a scale of things that people have to deal with, one of the most difficult. And we’re not alone. Those of us who’ve had these experiences are not alone. There are millions of people every year worldwide who experience this kind of tragedy. What do we do? What do we do about it?

[00:32:55] First of all, from the Vedic perspective, one of the greatest gifts of our perspective is that life and death is not the polarity, the polarity of this and that, something and something else that is the opposite pole of that thing.

For How Long is it Relevant for Us to Reside in a Body?

[00:33:17] Life and death are not a polarity. Body birth and body death are a polarity and life is considered to be a continuum. Life, consciousness, and consciousness existing in a body is a continuum. Life itself cannot be killed.

[00:33:44] Consciousness is our true nature. Consciousness is the true nature of a child. All of us were children at some stage, and we arrived here with our consciousness in an embryo, a fetus, and then we were born. We’re living our life now. We’re listening to this, and we are also consciousness.

[00:34:14] Children in that respect are no different. They’re also consciousness having a human experience. And each of us brings with us certain limitations. One of those is for how long it is relevant for us to reside in a body. How long is it relevant?

[00:34:38] And clearly, Nature has no intention for any of us to reside in a body forever. All of these bodies die. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the death rate on earth has been, and always will remain, 100%.

[00:34:59] And if you think of what longevity means, longevity is a fatal condition. It doesn’t matter how long you stay in your body. There’s going to come a point where that body comes to an end. And each of us brings to this existence a certain, basket of gifts that we are delivering to the world.

This is Not Our First Life

[00:35:29] And each of us also brings to this world our own karma. Karma meaning the limitations, the boundaries within which we live that are the limiting factors of how long our consciousness can enjoy being in a body.

[00:35:52] It also is a great gift of the Vedic worldview, which is the origin worldview in this regard, wherever many of us is found in the world, the idea that this is not our first life. Each of us has many times been in a body and exited the body. Each of us has thousands of times, and probably millions of times, entered a body and left a body.

[00:36:35] I remember once talking to my Maharishi about body death and the fact that people have such an intrinsic fear of body death. And he just looked at me with those big brown eyes and he said, smilingly, “You’ve been in and out of thousands of bodies, and here you are. See, it wasn’t that bad,” and then he chuckled a little bit.

What Are the Gifts That Child Brought to Us?

[00:37:06] And so then, even though we can have these comforts, it is nonetheless only a marginal help to us that we have intellectual information about what the deep reality is of someone having to exit their body at a very young age.

[00:37:27] When we feel as though we have built lots of expectation around what it’s going to be like watching a child grow to adulthood, and then to have our expectations changed radically when clearly that’s not going to be happening, and the child’s body life, the life of the body of the child, comes to a conclusion.

[00:37:54] We’re left then with having to contemplate what are the gifts that child brought to us, however young it may have been?

All Suffering is Obedient to One Principle

[00:38:02] Whether this is a miscarriage prior to a 40 weeks delivery, whether this is a neonate, that’s a brand-new child whose body didn’t last beyond hours or days, whether it is a little child who’d already developed some degree of capability as a human, or older or older or older, it’s natural for us to have expectations about what we’re going to be experiencing, and we build upon those expectations powerfully.

[00:38:41] And all suffering is obedient to one principle, that when it turns out that our expectations were not accurate, then we have to change our expectations, radically in many cases, and the more radical the change of expectation, the greater the upward curve in suffering.

Become Masters of Being Adaptive

[00:39:10] And so, it’s not that we do not have expectations. It’s that we have to become somehow masters of being adaptive in allowing our expectations to go through change as the tides of time come and go, and with those tides of time, with the incoming tide, the arrival of so many new people in our lives, and with the outgoing tide, the departure of so many personalities whose bodies came to an end. It’s a tidal phenomenon in any individual’s life.

[00:39:57] You live a life for a period of time where there’s a surge of personalities that appear in your life, and around which you build expectations. And then there is a peak of that. And in your life, there is the outgoing tide where there is an outflow of access to those personalities because they’re not in their bodies anymore.

To Cope With Loss, Become a Philosopher

[00:40:27] And as one’s life continues on and on, the outflow, the outward moving tide seems to increase and increase. One of the things that we notice as we age is that the number of people that we can count, whom we knew, but who no longer are here in their bodies, starts to become an ever-increasing number.

[00:40:53] The older you become, the larger the list of those whom you once knew who no longer are accessible at this level of being a human in a body, and so this is a tidal phenomenon.

[00:41:10] In order to manage a loss as grievous as the loss of a child, however old that child may have been, whether it was a baby or an older child doesn’t matter; we have to become philosophers. If we cannot become philosophers, then we’re going to be doomed to a life of grief.

[00:41:39] We will not be able to have certain thoughts. We will not be able to visit certain sensory experiences that might trigger memories; we will be very, very limited. And it is better for us to experience a degree of all of the sensations that accompany working this out and doing the philosophical work, which can be painful, rather than living a life where there are certain subjects that we simply cannot touch or certain subjects that we simply cannot visit.

Life is Not How Long a Human Body Lasts

[00:42:19] This is a very important thing I’m telling you, that if we decide to be agents of philosophy, agents of change, agents of understanding, in advance of having to simply react to change, if we are prepared for any change of expectation, because we have both experientially and intellectually soundly, a broader philosophy about what life actually is.

[00:42:53] Life is not how long a human body lasts. Life is a phenomenon that transcends the birth and death period of a human body.

[00:43:07] Human bodies are not the arbiter of life and death. Human bodies are simply a means through which life is lived for a period of time.

[00:43:20] So, what gifts did somebody bring to the world? And irrespective of what our expectations were, it may be that even a very small, even a very young infant may have brought gifts. All of grieving has to do with transcending the idea that we are grieving for somebody as if we’re feeling sorry for what they’re experiencing.

[00:43:49] One of the things that we learn is that when one no longer is able to live in a body, one is not suffering. Suffering only happens to those who are left behind in their bodies. The one who is not in a body is not suffering.

For Whom Are We Grieving?

[00:44:08] That being the case, we have really to ask ourselves, for whom are we grieving? And it’s a rhetorical question, the answer to which is, we’re grieving for ourself. We’re grieving for the fact that we do not have information about everything that it meant that that personality was available in a body, and then wasn’t. What does it all mean?

[00:44:38] And I would like to say that there is a way, if we can transcend grieving for ourselves, grieving for how badly we feel about our expectations, all being radically changed. If we can transcend that, and we can, by the way, then we can begin actually communing with those consciousnesses who once were here embodied and now no longer are, and we can find out what is their wise and trusted counsel.

[00:45:13] I’m not talking about doing spooky kind of seances or anything like that. This is a much subtler phenomenon where everything about it is done just inside of one’s own consciousness, just as an innocent way of getting beyond, “What I’m actually grieving for, which is my experience of my expectations all being radically changed, to gaining an understanding of why that soul had an impact on me, and what does it all mean, and what is the takeaway? What am I to come away with?”

Bring an End to Your Suffering

[00:45:54] And first of all, we need to face sensibly the fact that consciousnesses that no longer are in a body, the moment departure from a body occurs, all suffering ends. Suffering is not there unless there’s a body.

[00:46:15] Since somebody, no matter how young they may have been, somebody who has died is not suffering, we need to ask ourselves, “Where is the suffering done? For whom are we grieving?” Once we address that question in a very pointed fashion, then we can start a process of arriving at greater and broader, accurate conclusions about what the meaning is of the interaction of consciousnesses. What is the meaning of it all?

[00:46:51] And you can arrive at all those answers within yourself within your own deep level of Being. And this will bring an end to your suffering because the person for whom you’re grieving; you’re not really grieving for them, you’re grieving for yourself.

[00:47:09] And you need to bring an end to your suffering so that you can continue to make your best contribution to the consciousness of the world. These are my few simple thoughts about that subject.

[00:47:24] Jai Guru Deva.

Read more