What does Transcendental Meditation have anything to do with parenting?
A lot, I think, but it is not exactly the Maharishi Mahesh’s brand of Transcendental Meditation that I am speaking about. I would like to invite you to reflect on this notion: that we become parents because we want, or need, to transcend. Is this true for you?
In my view, the real transcendental question behind such notion is not about transcendental meditation, but rather it is the transcendental question why or how do we become parents.
Procreation per se happens. From artificial insemination, to unprotected sex all the way to not wanting to have anything to do with a newborn, procreation happens.
In this way, procreation alone does not make us parents; it is in fact not absolutely necessary for a person or a couple to procreate in order to become a parent. I believe that it is the desire and active choice of becoming a parent that makes you one. (Bucay and Bucay 2016) put it this way: “The way we see it is that your Mother and Father… have fed you, protected you, sheltered you and educated you, and above all, they have done all these by choice”.
Let me then elaborate on the transcendental question: Why do we choose to become parents?
I can probably pose all sorts of theories, but I can only speak for myself, that is, why I became my daughters’ mother. My answer is: to love. The desire to love and be loved in a way that only a mother can.
Yes, our biological clocks tick (for women and for men, as we know more), society, culture, family and even financial needs do their part… Now, do we transcend by loving and being loved, even when this type of loving can be bidirectional, yet unequal in many ways? Do we transcend by loving, caring, protecting, cherishing, punishing, financially supporting and educating one or many human beings to the best of our ability, by choice, with or without help? It is possible, but it remains questionable that transcendence be the goal.
Why is the bond or the relationship between parent and child so complex? Why this much psychoanalysis, Elektras, Edipos, at-risk youth and interventions, for example, if the basic need, choice and desire is to love? I do not think I am alone in the reason I gave above to have become a mother, so why is this relationship so ridiculously complex and difficult? Why is effective communication so elusive, a day-in, day-out challenge for many parents (for most, I would say, at different developmental stages)? How do we catalyze positive change?
I do have some reasons that span from evolutionary to plain high-stress societies and rampant violence, but what I would like to do is to invite you to meditate, to not lose focus and reflect on your own why you became a parent and why it is so difficult and sometimes even painful for both or either parties.
Moreover, I invite you to do so from the perspective of deficit (we are so good at it!) as well as the perspective of carefully tallying what is working in the relationship between parent (s) and child(ren). Try each perspective for a week and let me know what you discover.
I want to believe that the perspective of what is working may give us more raw materials to build upon, and even though it may not make us transcend, it may at least push us away from being stuck and stagnating our relationships. I even dare claim that this way of functioning may actually be contagious, creating a positive effect on our surrounding relationships… Who knows? a Maharishi effect like a type of transcendental meditation?
Mothers, Fathers, fellow parents in arms, choose your mantra. We must show up.
Copyright, Maritza Rivera Gaxiola, Ph.D., 2016. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Bucay, J. y Bucay, D., 2016. “EL Difícil Vínculo entre Padres e Hijos”. Editorial Océano de México, S.A. De C. V. 3a Impresión. ISBN 978-607-735-792-6