Svagito reports on a painting course for children and parents, inspired by Meera, that took place in Tuscany at the end of August.
Sahaja, Ojas and I just concluded a Children and Parents Painting course in Miasto, Italy. Meera had created this course many years ago for families to come together and learn to be creative. Single parents or couples bring one or more children aged between 3 and 16. This year a couple came with 7 children, some of them from their previous marriages!
It is quite a joyful, but at times very intense and confronting process. Sometimes adults and children paint together, other times they paint on their own or both have different activities in different locations. For the adults we also have sessions where they can address and get support with the difficulties they face in their role as parents or in their couple relationship.
Generally, parents worry too much about their children. The psychological reason is that they often see the child as an extension of themselves; in particular the mother tends to. As the child is born out of her belly, she instinctively sees her child as part of herself – without being aware of it, of course.
But when we turn in, we understand that the child belongs to existence, that we are merely a vehicle to bring the child into the world and that they do not really belong to us. Then it becomes easier to drop the idea that ‘the child is mine’. In fact, in an even deeper sense there is no ‘me’, no ‘mine’. Neither our mother, nor our partner, nor our child is ‘ours’. We are all part of the vast ocean of life.
To live according to such an understanding in day-to-day life is not easy; we have to let go of so many habits and unconscious behavioural patterns. That’s why during the group we want to give the possibility to experiment with these new ways so that they can be really experienced.
Another point we address is that, when we relate to a child or to our partner, we tend to be too much focussed on the other – while forgetting ourselves. The other is, in fact, a mirror in which we can discover many aspects of ourselves. So, having a child or being in a long relationship can be a great learning; we can discover unknown parts of our psyche. But very often we do not see our relationships or our role as a parent in this way; we rather forget ourselves, immersed in being busy with duties and responsibilites.
As Osho points out, it is quite a delicate art to be a parent – in the real sense, and I particularly remember him saying that ‘consciousness is the key to all authentic happiness’. A good parent, I understand, is nothing else than a ‘conscious’ parent. It is not a matter of behaving in certain ways, according to rules that say what a good parent should or should not do, but rather of becoming aware of oneself – moment to moment. A conscious act is ‘good’ whatever we are doing, and an unconscious act is ‘wrong’, even if we do what we are supposed to do in the eyes of society.
As I already mentioned, in the group we create situations where understandings and new ways around parenthood and partnership can become an actual, lived experience that does not remain like a great spiritual idea just in our heads. That’s very important for me.
Another good point is that in the course parents can find the time to meditate and go deep into themselves – while our team of helpers take care of their children!
P.S. At the end of the course we painted stones and brought them to Manfredo’s dreamforest where he also created a memorial place for our beloved Meera. While live music was playing we expressed our gratitude for all that Meera had initiated. Each year new coloured stones find their way there.