KE: I remember when my daughter thought that I was totally crazy when I first began to explore spiritual teachings, particularly because for a while I joined a group where we did a lot “eye-gazing”—it was like, ‘who could hold it the longest?’ My daughter thought to herself, “There they go again, sitting in the living room,” and she would imitate us!
We had really tough years in her teens. When she was younger she was a little angel—but then she became a rebellious angel. And she left home temporarily at the age of 17, and I thought, “Oh my God, I’ve lost her!” And because I was already deeply involved in meditation, I sat with this and suddenly I realized that she was never really mine. She came through me, and lived with me for a while; I did the best that I could, and I had to let her go.
But instead of feeling like I was abandoning her, I was choosing to abandon my tight grip around my mental concept of how my relationship with my daughter should be. With that, I felt tremendous relaxation and peace—and, actually, happiness that she left! It was actually a joyful moment!
In a way, we do have to abandon our roles and the roles that we put upon others, including our children. That’s what provides space and freedom. When I stopped looking at her as “my daughter” and I stopped looking at myself as “her mother” our relationship improved greatly.
We have our ideas and our concepts about what a mother should be like and what a father should be like; and really we are none of those things, but we can relate to each other through stillness and then the right answers follow; the right guidance follows.