I am sitting here with my son, as I often do when my wife is pursuing her business goals or other personal interests, thinking about what I should be doing myself. My wife and I try to be good about allowing each other the time and space to explore our individual pursuits, but I still get that feeling like I need to be doing something productive. It seems silly now as the words stare back at me.
What better way to spend my time than in the company of a two year old, so full of life lived full-on, uninhibited by all the expectations and ‘shoulds’ we are confronted with daily. If I ever needed a constant reminder to stop and just enjoy the moment, it is this beautiful soul that needs me for so many other things teaching me this most valuable lesson and others.
Over the past two years, I have had the honor of showing this little guy around the 3D world; about gravity when he was trying to sit up or walk, or when he’s climbing the highest point in the room; about dealing with emotions when a toy car doesn’t fit in the back of a truck or when confronted with a square block and a circular hole; about sharing toys with other kids or TV time with other family members; about more than can be listed here. I feel a sense of gratitude that I did not expect pre-fatherhood. I’ve always prescribed to the idea that our children are not ‘ours’ best articulated by Khalil Gibran:
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
In fact, I am sure that is where I first read about the idea. Of course, it is easy to have lofty ideals before a situation presents itself, but I truly believe in the greater picture. That greater picture involves a slow, steady evolution through the contrast of experiences each human has had and will have throughout the entirety of our history. (Hopefully, I can convey some sense of my cosmology through future posts.)
All the while, I cannot help but think of what I have given him subconsciously for good or bad. I see the my own behaviors in him at this early age. It makes me sad and a bit guilty to see him dealing with some of the same stuff I have wrestled with my whole life. I remember feeling the frustration of trying to defy gravity or other laws of physics. It hits me at my core because I see the karma trail. It explains the strange dreams I had while my wife was pregnant, of surreal imagery around passing on negative traits in a science lab to embryos in petri dishes with a great sense of fear surrounding the act.
Did my father have such dreams? Did his? Interestingly enough, I come from a long line of men who could not express themselves and had a need for keeping things buried. I imagine that was a condition of the times they lived in. Maybe we still live in those times as we see these types of structures break down before our very eyes. Even then, back when I was a child, I knew my father as a complex, sensitive person.
I can recall a great deal of the instances when I could feel the great pleasure and pride he took in showing me around, teaching me about life on planet Earth in 3D. In fact, some of my greatest wisdom comes from him, such as the importance of always being aware of your surroundings, in taking in the finer details, being present. These are my words in retrospect. He was not trained in Buddhism or any other wisdom tradition. This was raw wisdom gleaned from his own experience, and there is nothing more valuable. He is a survivor at his core, and this toughness carries its way through our family history. And, this seems to carry with it the paradox of being a male in the 21st century, of balancing masculine and feminine in contemporary culture.
Lately, I have been more conscious of some of these attributes I carry from my father, to my son, and hold within. I guess I have been trying to shed some of what I may consider old baggage from all this. There is an idea that those ‘wrongs’ we hold within us that need to be healed need to be acknowledged in order to learn and receive the gift they hold within them. This is a process of re-framing where I stand in my own genealogy, letting go of the pieces that hold me back, and finding the wisdom within the experience. Sometimes I think that this is the process and reason for life, summed up.
So, this is where I am right now, in the midst of finding my place in time and space, as a son and as a father, where I stretch across my own time line and that of my genetic and karmic arrays.
(listen to and re-read EverNote notes)