We know that from the moment of our conception we are influenced by people and events around us. As we grow up, many influences teach us about ourselves, our society, our world and humanity itself. Some of these influences can be said to lead us into light, knowledge and happiness but sadly, some of them may lead us into darkness and suffering. During our lives, we may have many teachers, many mentors, many passing gurus, some of them living beings, and some passed on. Some we may enter formal full-time relationships with and others we may only visit occasionally.
But the first guru which everybody shares in common, is our own mother, within whom our physical body first develops, from out of whom we are born, who nurtures us through childhood, adolescence and through whom most young women gain their first self-reflection of their own womanhood.
The primary relationship a child encounters is with his mother. The relationship with the father is secondary. That is simply biological fact. In any relationship it takes the needs, not just the desires, of two people for it to manifest. Many times we desire things, but the mechanics of necessity have not delivered. Conversely, many times we do not desire, but "something" brings us into the company of those we need and those who seem to need us. Throughout our lives, we cross paths with many thousands of people but interestingly, it is with only very few of these that we are destined to travel for any length of time.
Deep exploration of the how's and why's of cosmic causation is well beyond the scope of this book and my own understanding but I think it is important to consider that for a mother and child to meet and live together for so many years, there must be quite a considerable force of attraction and necessity between them. To me, conception, and later on the occasion of birth, is really a meeting of two souls destined to live and learn together for mutual developmental needs. Both are student and teacher to the other, however the mother, as the more conscious of the two, is aware of her role whilst the baby is not. Ideally, she teaches consciously all those things the baby needs to learn and as well, she learns consciously all those things she needs to know about mothering and herself which the baby (unknowingly) teaches her. But the child is just passive in his role of student and teacher. It is the mother who is making this transfer of knowledge work within the relationship.
The child is teaching just by way of being themself. If we adults have eyes to see, their simplicity, their innocence, their trustingness, and their joyous exuberance of life, will all help to remind us of how much we have lost those same faculties during our upbringing.
Beyond breastfeeding, nappy changing, mate-rial security and emotional needs, of equal importance, the mother plays guru to the spiritual needs of that child. In all regards, a baby is completely at the mercy of the whims and maternal experience (or lack of it!) of the mother.
The child, arriving as he(#) does with very little consciousness of himself and his surroundings, needs the assistance of a mind outside his own to help that consciousness develop. This is the same kind of role the yogic guru plays - an external witness, wisely steering us towards experiences which are spiritually beneficial to us and discouraging us away from those which may harm us.
Without a more conscious being helping you in this way, raw nature ends up doing the evolving. The process then becomes one of trial and error, survival of the fittest, ignorance versus instinct. Just imagine how a person would grow up if they were left solely to the forces of nature and to completely fend for themselves. They would soon revert to savage mentality or animal levels of consciousness just as happens in some jails and in the gangland ghettos.
In so many ways, a mother is responsible for a large part of her child's destiny simply by her own actions and the events to which she exposes the child. Some events may be the result of circumstances, yet many more will be the result of her own choices and her own awareness in a particular situation. It is this area of informed choice and awareness which I hope to address.
Parenting can only help a child evolve to an extent equal to the mother's own level of consciousness. Therefore it is important that she take the time to frequently upgrade her own self understanding, or else the child will remain retarded at that same level until they can recognise and rectify this later in life. For some children, the opportunities for growth do occur, but for many they do not, hence they remain trapped in childish states out of which their mother was unable to assist them.
(#) Throughout the book I have used the term "he" when referring to the unborn child within the mother. This is purely for grammatical convenience and to avoid any confusion when using the term "she" as referring to the mother.