In my previous blog I laid out how many of us have come to accept conflict, strife and struggle as the ‘natural way of being’; the norm of our everyday experience. Since we have been holding on to this belief steadfastly for longest time throughout history, we’ve created a world which reflects our belief of ‘what reality is’ and ‘how reality operates’. This places us in an unfortunate feedback loop, as we inside ourselves believe that ‘life is struggle’ – then with our own eyes and ears observe the world around living in struggle and conflict – using this observation as evidence that = yes, indeed, my belief is accurate = living is constant struggle and conflict; and so there’s no point to further question this premise. Because we create what we hold as truth, it’s hard to even conceptualize and imagine ourselves living in harmony and having an external environment which is harmonious.
What we forget to consider is how our beliefs and all those things we consider to be ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ shape our behaviour, perception and actions to fit and match the belief we hold as truth or fact, and so how we are the ones ‘making it so’.
Let’s take for example the belief that ‘children need to civilised’. With civilised meaning ‘being cooperative and acting according to social standards’.
You hold this to be a truth, a fact of life. Now one day, you visit family with your young baby/toddler who’s recently learnt how to walk and has acquired some very basic motor skills. While you’re catching up and drinking coffee, your little one strolls around and seems to be captivated by all the plants and flowers in pots. Your little one grabs a flower and pulls it off. Then takes another one and pulls it off. It takes you a few moments to realise what your child is up to, that when you look at your child there’s already a bunch of leaves and flowers on the floor and your child is just picking away. A surge of energy runs through your body and you shout out ‘Bad Lily!’ (Or whatever your child’s name might be). ‘Stop it!’ and you grab the baby away who in the meantime has a look of petrification and confusion on its face as she’s still trying to figure out what just happened and why she’s so bad. You put her in a corner and tell her to ‘stay there’ to teach her lesson. Picking flowers and leaves is bad, you are killing the plant and you are destroying our host’s decoration. Bad, bad bad!
You go sit down sighing, thinking why your child is always doing these inappropriate things, like she’s out to get you and never give you an easy time. You think about how it’s just going to take more time to discipline her and have her learn her place and that this won’t go on forever.
Within this example, the parent had already made up its mind that children are inherently naughty and a disturbance, requiring to go through a training or disciplining process to have them ‘behave correctly’.
When my little one started pulling off flowers and leaves for the first time, I also got a fright. I immediately assumed I had to stop and intervene, that this was ‘bad’. I noticed the surge of energy inside myself, and instead decided to take a deep breath and really look at the situation. He kept pulling off flowers, and then he would pick them up and try to ‘put them back’. Yet they’d just dwindle down to the ground. He tried a few more times and went ‘Oh’.
He didn’t go to the plants and flowers with the intention inside himself of ‘I am going to kill this plant and destroy this pretty garden gna gna gna’. He just kind of looked at the plants, the flowers, got curious about what they’re all about. Without knowing why he started picking at the flowers, checking what happens. He tries to put them back. Hmm, they fall back off. That’s interesting. So once they are off, they’re off.
He was going through a genuine learning experience, figuring out how things work. What happens if I do this? What happens if I do that?
So I joined him and I talked to him about the plants and how if you pick a flower, the flower cannot be put back. How the flower will not have access to water from the plant and its root system and eventually wilt and die. Now he learnt something about plants.
If we go back to the example of shunning and reprimanding your child, where you assume they are being bad because you’ve already decided that they are inherently bad and act on negative impulses – then you end up with a child in the corner who looks like they are bad. You end up with what you believed about the child because your perceptions and actions were guided by the belief which you held as ‘fact’ and ‘truth’. Was the child really bad? No, they were just exploring. They did not intend to ruin your day or upset you, that’ something you did. You decided to react and believe that all these ‘bad and terrible things’ are happening to you. The child didn’t intend to kill the plant or destroy household decoration. They don’t even have a concept of what that means or entails.
If this is a repetitive behaviour on the parent’s side, the child will learn that it is not safe to explore and be curious in the presence of the parents, and start doing things in secret in hiding. It will start doing and playing with things when you’re not around and where you are unable to guide them or prevent harm because they believe there is no other way that they can express their curiosity without your intervention and reprimanding. Now you find your child has been breaking things after the fact. Oh my god, I have such a bad child. Not seeing and realising that we pushed the child in that position where we are not guiding them through learning experiences to come to a point of understanding, but merely wanting them to behave ‘good’ without explaining or substantiating what that actually means.
This type of disharmonious behaviour becomes the result and consequence of holding to beliefs which are disharmonious to the true nature of reality, as the utmost potential of what Life on Earth can be.
I know finished my previous blog stating I would go further into why emotional conflict and turmoil exists, though for this blog I found it necessary to illustrate how what we believe and hold as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ does not have to be in fact so, so that we can learn to be open to alternative possibilities and that our experience of how ‘the way things are’ doesn’t have to be an unchangeable reality, but is something that we create in every moment of our day to day living.
See you in the next blog!