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Family Life with Heart and Soul
By Ivan Sokolov
This PDF file can be downloaded for free from www.knowwareglobal.com/parent
© Soulfodder – 06.10.01
Contents............................................................................................................................... 2 Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 1. Family Overview............................................................................................................. 7 2. Pregnancy and Birth ...................................................................................................... 10 3. Children......................................................................................................................... 15 4. Raising Children or guiding them through Life ............................................................ 18 5. Nature versus Nurture ................................................................................................... 23 6. Boys and Girls............................................................................................................... 25 7. Co-operation versus Competition.................................................................................. 29 8. Children, Toys and Violence......................................................................................... 33 9. Emotions and Children.................................................................................................. 35 10. Teenagers .................................................................................................................... 40 11. Rules and Controls ...................................................................................................... 43 12. Negotiating Win-Win Agreements.............................................................................. 45 13. Spiritual Education...................................................................................................... 47 14. Education and Schooling............................................................................................. 51 15. Sex and Sex Education ................................................................................................ 55 16. Separation and Divorce ............................................................................................... 58 17. Bereavement and Death .............................................................................................. 61 18. Ancestors and Tradition .............................................................................................. 63 Epilogue ............................................................................................................................ 66
© Soulfodder – 06.10.01
1986, my wife Jacquie and I set up a UK national charity to work with parents. Parent Network was designed to help parents understand themselves and their children better, love themselves and their children more, and communicate more effectively with each other and their children. In this way, we believed we could help parents avoid passing on their old ineffective parenting ways to their children, and so make the world a better place to live. The following year, I spoke to open the first group leaders conference and quite spontaneously referred to that famous and powerful “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King. My dream then was for all children to be able to grow up surrounded by love, loving themselves and feeling good about who they are in the world. To a limited extent, Parent Network worked. Yet it became increasingly obvious to me over the years that there was a piece missing from the equation we were using at that time. A piece that would truly make the difference if we could just have included it in the game plan. It was an understanding and appreciation of the spiritual dimension. Since 1979, I have been on a personal spiritual journey seeking to expand my awareness and understanding of life in order to have a truly holistic view of things. I knew I would be more effective as a human being if I could be equally aware, at least some of the time, of my mind, heart, body and soul. 22 years on I have learnt a great deal and know that there is much still to be learnt. And I still have a dream. It is bigger today that it was back in the 80s, though at its core still lies the issue of love. In this text, I hope to share with you aspects of that dream that relate to being a parent and living in families. You can read in other texts about other aspects. I have a dream for our experience of life as parents: it is for us to experience parenting as a powerful way to show who we are in the world; for us to experience being a parent as an opportunity to give to other's, to help build a world fit for our children and our children's children; for our work as parents to be a spiritual exercise, emotionally satisfying and intellectually challenging – a way to keep us fit and healthy in body, mind and soul. I want family life to provide us with many opportunities for companionship, collaboration and the sheer joy of seeing each other excel at being ourselves. I want being parents to provide us with many opportunities to feel satisfied that we have done the best for our children as well as having made a contribution to the greater good of humanity and the planet that is our home. I want the fruits of our labours to be future generations of children who are still connected to the spiritual source from which they came. I want them to grow up knowing the power of unconditional love and acceptance. I want them to know how to use love so that they can come to recognise and handle the fear that currently keeps so many of us paralysed. I want children to grow up trusting in themselves so that they won’t automatically let others lead them blindly through life. I want them to have balance in their lives, love in their hearts, constant questioning in their heads and bodies as free as possible from the contaminants of all kinds that bombard us from every angle. The children of the future can have all of this if we are prepared to change: change ourselves, change our attitudes and our values, change our approach to life and take back control from those we have given it up to. We can change. My experience is that change is simple yet hard to do. It is very much easier to do if we have help at various points along the way: help some times from others who may be only one step further ahead of us, at other times from people who have travelled the road far into the distance. Above all, in my experience, the most powerful and
© Soulfodder – 06.10.01
The energy we require to live derives from the sun and is only available to us as a result of the great chemical processes of nature. How we undertook both the simplest and the most complicated of tasks would give us a growing sense of who we are and how we operate in the world. cleaning the house and all the other many aspects of daily life. chopping firewood. playing with my son. Secondly. easy it is not! I struggle at times to keep hold of my awareness of my heart and soul and bring my limited understanding of spirituality into everyday routine.10. talking with friends. none of them are as valuable as the spiritual path that involves getting up every morning and making the family breakfast. Valuable it is. earning a living. These can only benefit us in our modern western world through the efforts of the farmers. They all have their place. To help. trial and error as a parent. not to mention the enormous infrastructure that makes their work possible. First is the fact that the world really exists as an opportunity for healing our separation from Spirit. 2. A spiritual vision for parenting would allow us to see every element of our family life in terms of whether or not it is providing us with such opportunities. For such is the true purpose of life: to be who we really are in every moment. freight drivers and retailers who bring us our food. distributors. that we accept our interdependence with all living things. if not demands. These 7 elements come from the Divine inspiration I am grateful to have received as well as previous spiritual teachings. silent time in lonely places. family life allows. For it is through this dedication to being real that we will open ourselves to the lessons we came here to learn and so move on in our soul journeys beyond the physical. so I will spell them out as simply as possible here before you go further:1. By working and playing to discover who we really are as spiritual beings incarnated here we progress our soul journey through the stages of growth and development until we eventually make it back to re-union with Spirit or God. It would also give us opportunities to show others who we really can be. taking the dog for a walk. As we lead our daily lives. They are neither new nor unique to me. Family life forms such a significant amount of our earthly experience. No aspect of life is possible in isolation. our school and our stage in the exciting journey of unfolding our soul purpose. providing us with many opportunities to strive towards understanding who we are in the world. I offer you 7 elements that make the difference for me and now many others in staying focused on the spiritual in everyday life. doing the dishes. not human beings some of whom choose to occasionally have a spiritual experience. Without the latter I might still be stuck in the fearful and bewildered place I have been for most of my adult life – with it I now finally feel able to move out into the world and be who I really am as a spiritual being having a human existence. Yet for me. What you are going to read in this text is the result of many years of study. packers. These elements underpin all that you © Soulfodder – 06. we effective spiritual help comes from a personal connection to All That Is.01 . I have dabbled in spiritual paths that have required weeklong retreats. successes and failures as a person and a large amount of Divine inspiration. The family can be our playground. We are spiritual beings having a human existence. digging in the garden. though the combination of them appears in few other places.4 Introduction will read in this text. God or whatever name you choose to use for it. Spirit. hour upon hour of meditation or yoga exercises. I also at times struggle with the old habit of beating myself up when I don’t do it! We need to be gentle on ourselves and kind with each other as we strive to live in love and not slip into the old familiar ways of behaving.
fear. beasts. By contrast. Beneath all the emotions that we experience always lies either love or fear. or between us and the birds. Yet. Life will be much sweeter is we give up the scarcity mentality that drives so much of life and replace it with a spiritual understanding of abundance for all. 7.01 . 6. we can consciously choose unconditional love as much of the time as possible. Through our acceptance of this one-ness we can help our children to learn about reverence and gratitude in a very natural way. insects. 5. living with children provides us with constant opportunities to remember that there are only two fundamental energies in the universe: love and its opposite. remember that we have total freedom of choice.Introduction can hold in the back of our mind the understanding that without the rest of humanity. plants and earth formations of our home. nature and the planet we would not be able to achieve anything. from them stem our ability to achieve anything. For fear will hold us back. As we go about our daily lives with our children and our partners. The seventh spiritual element is that we inhabit a truly abundant universe. and which we choose to operate by. Nothing happens to us by chance and we can affect everything that goes on around us through the choices we make. In our role as parents we will also inevitably affect the future our children will have by the choices we make for them when they are little. We can resist the temptation to let fear rule our lives and how we bring up our children. The fifth element follows inevitably from the fourth: if we have freedom of choice then we can also be expected to take full responsibility for the choices we make. 5 4. There is nothing preordained about how our life or our world will unfold. It is the choices we make moment by moment that dictate the outcome of our thoughts and our actions. will have a considerable impact on us and our world. will always hold us back in the long term. Each of us is currently doing our bit to generate the world around us through our unconscious and conscious thinking processes. Thirdly. the sixth element of the spiritual approach to life is the fact that thought creates reality. and our responsibility is logically to everyone else around us as well as to ourselves. As a parent there will be many times when it is appropriate to take responsibility for our children and for meeting their needs as well as our own. Fourthly. moment by moment. at every turn and twist of the road of life. Equipped with this basic understanding of the energies of life there is little that we cannot achieve if we set our minds and hearts to it. 3. stifle our creativity and reduce our potential in the present and the future for achieving all that we can really be. The emotions are the driving force of the universe. We are creating our present. This realisation ever-present in us will reinforce our acceptance of the fundamental spiritual principle that we are all one. that there is no real separation at the level of Spirit between any of us. and thus our future. combine this element with number two above. It is © Soulfodder – 06.10. And there will be other times when it is more appropriate to interpret this element as the “ability to respond” to our children as well as everyone else we come across. Love is a fundamentally constructive and creative energy that can move others and us forward in our spiritual purpose. though possibly achieving much in the short term. For. Recognising the power of our thinking can consciously and quite dramatically equip us to create the family and the world in which we wish to live. fear is a fundamentally destructive energy that.
I live every day with the paradox that God exists within you and me at the same time as having created the very matter that makes us up. For me. In the knowledge of the abundance that God or Spirit created. constantly energised by the knowledge that you are where you are because that is what you chose for the lessons to be learnt. healthy and rewarding existence for every member of the human race. in the full knowledge that it is through giving that we receive. © Soulfodder – 06. and that choosing love instead of fear will allow you to make the most elegant choices available to you moment by moment. We are God and yet God is also outside of us. Recognise that you have choice in all you do. you can now choose to expand your consciousness and tap into the spiritual energy available to you to build anew. in all my spiritual journey I have not yet come across another English word that offers the meaning I wish to give it. There is a physical abundance of all that is necessary to create and maintain a comfortable. The process of creativity works as your thoughts interact with the spiritual life essence of the universe. In that way you can even more easily take responsibility for your life. you will ensure that all your choices and actions have as much positive impact as they can and create as little waste.6 Introduction only fear that creates scarcity. Open yourself to the reality of your deep soul connection to Spirit and know that the presence of Spirit in you. and I use it in alternate chapters of my writing in deference to those who cringe at the mention of God. Spirit with a capital S comes nearest. brings the power and energy of life to carry you through any toil or struggle.01 . you can ensure that everything you do or produce will play a part in the spiritual evolution of humanity. These seven elements provide all the guidance required to help us know what to do. Let me end this introduction by clarifying what I mean when I use the terms God or Spirit – two words that I use in exactly the same ways. Open your mind to the recognition that you play a substantial part in creating the world in which you live. Open up your heart to all around you and know that in collaboration with the rest of life. to achieve the spiritual vision of family life as an elegantly efficient process of helping us unfold on our soul journey. So choose to create the life you wish to lead in the world you wish to inhabit and know that what you choose will happen. And. God is love and fills the Universe with love. by accepting your responsibility for others and your world as well as yourself. God is the Divine life force that flows through everything. pollution and pain as possible. Move out from under the shadow cast by the community or family of which you have been a part and free yourself up to think differently about the world. Actively work to undo the old patterns of thinking you took on unwittingly in the early years of your life. offerings to be made and gifts to receive. as in all things. The realisation of abundance allows us to freely give to others rather than grab for ourselves. Yet.10. God is the creator of all that exists and at the same exists in all that has been created. of which you are but one interconnected piece. I am very much aware that many people – like me up until 10 years ago – have enormous personal and cultural issues with the term God.
In my text on Marriage I write on the subject of spirituality. extended. it would be useful to consider what role the family can play in the spiritual development of individuals. Traditional communities that have a wider definition of family find it very much easier to cope with the ups and downs of life. loving relationship between two people of the each sex. will continue to be a powerful tool for socialisation for many years to come. lovemaking and sex. If undertaken with the reverence that it deserves as a true spiritual channel of love. Most of what I write here relates to family life of any shape or size. Families provide people with a safe. whether nuclear. Yet they will find their task © Soulfodder – 06. An enormous amount of the stresses and strains experienced in “civilised” societies stems from the pressure felt by parents living in isolated nuclear families with little or no help or support from networks such as their families of origin. In our experience of lovemaking we have the potential to combine the profound physical pleasure of sex with experiencing the flow of the love of God or Spirit through us to each other and the world. a source of unconditional love that can also spread out into wider communities. whether with one parent or two. mind and spirit. In this text we will consider many elements of family life and the growing up of our young. however. stepfamily or any other label you may attach to it. aiming to show how raising a family can become part of moving humanity in general forward towards the future that beckons us. There are many single parents and same-sex couples doing a good job of guiding children through their early years. There is much to be said for this ideal family to include quite a lot more than just Mum and Dad and 2 or 3 kids. The current human social unit best suited to this process is the long-term. Family Overview Family is vitally important to us all at the present time. This is the most wondrous process and one that will remain central to the human condition for all time. with next to no-one excluded from a sense of kinship with the children of any particular couple. None of this makes nuclear families. families in some parts of the world include virtually the whole tribe or community. Such is the wisdom of this way of thinking and behaving that you will find it in place in most highly evolved societies across the universe. Let it be enough to say that the physical creation of a new human life ready for the incarnation of a soul is far more than just a physical action. the result is a bond between a man and a woman with that which is waiting to be born and which becomes the child of their love. and so of the human race as a whole. This does not mean that other families do not work. even as the detail of that socialisation will change. their friends or communities. Before we can consider all these different forms of family life. in one form or another. From this ideal perspective. They can be the seedbeds of spiritual evolution for humanity. any family that is caring for children within it will be most effective if it contains a father and mother joyfully sharing their roles as parents. This does not mean that it is time to replace them with some other model. This gives us as parents both huge power and considerable responsibility to ensure that we provide our children with the best possible start in life. The family. Let us stick with the ideal for a moment. single parent. supportive environment in which to learn and grow. Family Overview 7 1. All that we will cover will sit within the current forms of family.01 . families in many of our societies have come under increasing pressure in modern times and do not always manage to fulfil the promise that they hold. So I don’t want to go into detail here. in any way wrong or second-rate. Families have the potential to be immensely nurturing of the body. We learn most of what we need to know about life from our experiences in and of the family.10. In their most extended form. Unfortunately.1.
let us remember that there are no such things as right and wrong in the Spiritual Universe. My experience of God is of a truly accepting force that creates all that is and powers it with total unconditional love. In many more highly evolved societies in the universe. the children will have the potential to gain more than where there is only one. Both the man and woman have been exposed to fewer polluting substances and energies. punishment or reward. one of whom is not a biological parent. the children will inevitably receive less to help them in their growing up than if they have two loving adults on hand. those first ten years. Family Overview harder to achieve in the absence of support. Some things work and some don’t. young adults create the next generation and leave the bulk of caring and education to their elders. Let us briefly consider the difference between judging and condemning. This ability to figure out as accurately as possible. such societies are humanly and spiritually better suited to supporting young human beings in growing to © Soulfodder – 06. In the case of families in which. This creates a level of acceptance and unconditional love that is effective in providing a safe space for children and young people. All adults within them often accept responsibility for caring for everyone’s children. For a start. and probably the following ten or more. without sitting in judgment. Such a system exists to some degree amongst a few tribal cultures of indigenous peoples who have escaped the process of “civilisation”. Physically it is easier and safer for young adults to conceive and bear children than it is for older ones. will be able to provide more than a single parent can for the children emotionally and spiritually provided that the non-biological parent is aware enough to love the children unconditionally. However. This is such a prevalent tendency that in the English language judging someone has become almost synonymous with condemning him or her. But it is only we who are judgemental in such matters. Yet. not having a balance of male and female energy present will detract from the total they might otherwise receive. waiting to hand out decisions on right and wrong. so may be far from wise themselves.01 . are the years when they are likely to be least suited to spending time at home passing on the wisdom of humanity on to new members.10. A family which includes two adults. whether situations and people serve us well and what the possible outcomes might be.1. Let us remember to be as discerning as we possibly can. Those effective societies which have been fortunate enough to retain their tribal way of life have many advantages over the “advanced” societies which have struggled to make their communities civilised places to live in. only one parent is active in the process of loving and guiding children. They are normally the people most suited to be out in the world undertaking the physically and emotionally strenuous activities that society demands. so their reproductive systems are likely to be most healthy in the first ten years of their sexually mature life. they are nowhere near finishing their own learning and growing process. moment by moment. If we were to stop condemning others and ourselves our world would be a happier. Where they still exist. They have avoided growing too large and so have retained a way of life more akin to an extended family than an unrelated community. It is unfortunate that it becomes entangled with our readiness to condemn those things. is a crucial skill for all of us to develop. saner and safer place to live in. It is important for us to become effective at making judgments in our lives based on as much information as we can find. There are those who believe God dictates one way and condemns others. The elders are both better equipped for this task and often less well able to work in the world. In families in which two or more adults of the same gender share the task of guiding children lovingly. whether things are working. for whatever reason. In considering all forms of family. 8 Back to starting a family. people and circumstances that we judge as negative or not useful.
10. In regard to bringing up children. Family Overview maturity than those in which the vast majority of us live. not to mention the wounded and damaged members who are too often now left to fend for themselves in a seemingly loveless world. They can provide a haven for the elders of society. they work: ours don’t.1. if we are willing to take up the challenge. our children and the human race as a whole. 9 © Soulfodder – 06. Families can evolve to play a vital role in the evolution of society. This text is all about ways in which we can all make the family work far more effectively for us.01 . They are also about deepening the spiritual bonds between people who have decided to follow the same life path for a time. For families are not just about raising children.
unforgiving God”. You do something “bad” in one life and are punished for it in the next life. A sacrifice because of the physical strains she will experience and the disruption required in everyday life for so long. For some they may be easier if they choose harsh circumstances in their families or communities and the social and political environment around them. The incarnating child is as close to Spirit as it is possible for most human beings to get. This presupposes that the universe is a judgmental place ruled by “a harsh. comfort and nourishment of her body the mother provides the unborn child with an environment in which it can start the transition from spirit to matter. A loving mother able to take the time to feel connected with her unborn child can do a great deal to welcome the new human being into its body. Though our souls have choice about when and where to be born again. the soul ultimately comes to remember itself as one with Spirit. Growing in the mother’s womb is also an important process of spiritual transformation for the child. As such. There are many lessons to be learnt in the journey of coming to full awareness and accepting that love is all there is and that we are all one with each other and with Spirit. Each of us has our own personal path to follow. The incarnating soul chooses many aspects of the life it will lead by virtue of the physical body and earthly situation into which it is born. Through many experiences of physical life. hoping that next time we will be better able to fulfil our learning and so come nearer to achieving our soul purpose.01 . Many of us are fortunate to choose families and environments that support our soul paths. Through the safety. Many more are unfortunate to choose situations that make it hard. It can also be a significant element in a woman’s spiritual journey. Pregnancy and Birth The growth of the baby in the womb and its delivery into the outside world is one of the great miracles of human life. The difficulty with the concept of karma as it is too often used is that it contains an element of judgment and punishment. easing what is a potentially harsh move from the world of spirit into physical form. she can do much to soothe the incarnating soul. For the mother it is both a great sacrifice and a great privilege. Not everyone will choose to experience the spiritual transformation this process offers.10 2. Relevant to this unfolding of new life is the idea of karma. any more than do © Soulfodder – 06. It does so in order to have the experiences it needs in the physical world to live out its purpose of rediscovering who it really is. yet. through their child to Spirit and. This is part of why we choose to keep coming back. we cannot control all aspects of the circumstances we choose. It is not. Karma in the sense of paying for the sins of a past life in this one does not exist in the universal nature of things. yet many will know that their ability to love has been increased as a result. You might almost say that a built-in side effect of the whole process of giving birth to a baby and then caring for an infant is to open the heart and soul of the mother to total unconditional love. we can be sucked into powerful collective thought processes in our families and/or communities and forget what we have come to learn. Pregnancy and Birth 2. A privilege because of the joy that can result and the never-ending gifts that motherhood can bring into a woman’s life for years to come. During this time. For some people those lessons may be easier to learn if they choose a life with some level of physical or mental affliction.10. making friends with it. ever more deeply with each other. pregnancy is such an important part of it. and talking it through the early days of its life in the womb. caring for it provides both mother and father with the opportunity to open a channel directly to the love of Spirit that flows through all of life. at the same time. This transition takes many years to complete. Even during the pregnancy it is very possible for the parents to start to connect spiritually with their child.
the list of irritants that can affect the physical and emotional systems of the human body is very long. Some of the air pollution we expose ourselves to comes directly from the waste products carried in the air from cars. these ideas are hard to accept by people who see human life as sacred. not learning what we need to help us move on to the next stages in our personal spiritual journey. or they may have chosen to incarnate for the benefit of someone else rather than themselves. As a result of the agro-chemical farming systems we now employ it is also lacking both in minute elements of biochemical makeup and in the vitality of unpolluted living food. It is well known by doctors that many of the seeds of vitality are sown during these nine months of growth. This does not mean the body is unimportant.10. It is worth every effort a mother can make to provide herself with an excellent diet leading up to and during pregnancy. It is not. This is when the unborn body is most at risk from pollutants.01 . More of it comes from the materials we © Soulfodder – 06. Pregnancy is about the most important period in the physical development of the child. They may have learnt their lessons through the process of pregnancy. and can be passed through her blood to the child itself. even the back-garden bonfire burning apparently “organic” matter. Life never ends or begins. the result is to weaken the elements of a finely balanced system that would otherwise be able to function almost indefinitely. The soul is sacred. There are souls who only need come down to earth for a very short time. If this requires the death of the physical body prior to or at birth then that soul willingly lets go and returns to spirit. The less contaminated the food and drink she takes in the less harm she will pass on to her child. Unfortunately. Much has been documented about the physical process of human foetal growth. factories. Many of us may well have chosen to live a life this time round based on what our soul needs to learn as a result of other lives lived or being lived right now in the physical realms. Others struggle not only through one life but perhaps several. The unborn child may choose to incarnate to help with the healing of the mother or father it has chosen. All these effects are so minute as to be discounted by most conventional medical experts. In my experience. We could usefully be aware of the ways in which the life we lead right now potentially interferes with our desire to provide our children with a good start. herbicides and fertilisers. Pregnancy and Birth heaven or hell. power stations. It is only those who watch from the physical realm who see the beginning of life in conception and it’s ending in death. Some of us learn lessons easily and quickly. If we recognise this as an illusion. Luckily. The air we breathe is full of chemical pollutants that can affect many of the bodily functions of the mother carrying a child. The soul willingly moves in and out of the physical form without any sense of trauma. The list of potential pollutants is not limited to food alone. unnecessary stimulants or sedatives. bone structure and internal organs. Yet. The food most mothers eat contains residues of pesticides. the trend towards organic production will make it easier to ensure a full and adequate natural diet for women carrying babies. such as with some children who die in the womb or at birth.2. incinerators. clarifying lots of opportunities to ensure that every child born into this world has a good biochemical basis for all future physical growth. Even a small look at these ways runs the risk of digging up unpalatable truths that are not so easy to hear. It may also be that the soul recognises that the situation into which it has chosen to be born is not suited to the life lessons it wishes to learn this time round and so chooses to leave the body before it is fully developed. only the physical context changes. affecting the growth of nerve and brain tissue. the garage for the soul is periodically knocked down and rebuilt. then we will no longer be afraid of death and will be better able to live to the full in the present moment. inadequate 11 nutrition. it is a continuous process of living.
How realistic is it to ask people to care for their health and vitality? How realistic is it to ask people to care for the environment and the other forms of life with which we share this world? We have choice in all these things. Just as people are now beginning to discover the healing power of sound. Right now. Any one element of these has the capacity to effect shifts in the vibration of core aspects of the life process. Yet there is much that we can each begin to do to reclaim responsibility for cleaning up the world.10. while failing to take us forward on the path to achieving our individual and collective purpose in life. but also every living thing on the planet – indeed the very structure of the planet itself. We can be selective about the music we expose yourselves and our children to. the unnatural fibres in our floor and furniture coverings. The use of mobile phones has added a shockingly dangerous element to the equation. and money over long-term survival. not to mention our clothes and the residue from the chemicals we use to treat our clothes. I appreciate that this will be hard for many people to do. So many of our technological advances are not advances for the body. The technology is different this time. We can do away with the cordless phones that save us having to get up from our chairs and be willing to return to having fewer telephones in the house if we cannot give them up at all. Right now.01 . bathing whole countries in high frequency radio waves which we will one day realise are detrimental to our own health and the health of all life. which do not promote the truly healthy growth of the body and mind. Some of our distant ancestors chose that road before and almost destroyed themselves. What can be done I hear you ask? We live in uncomfortable times. We can clean our houses the ways our grandparents did with such things as baking soda and vinegar rather than chemical cleaners full of skin irritants. wash up rather than use a dishwasher. Such shifts affect not just us. speed over quality. We can choose to furnish and decorate our houses with natural materials and products instead of paints and foam products giving off poisonous fumes. We can avoid many pollutants once we know of their existence. We have also filled our planetary airwaves with myriad electro-magnetic radiations. anywhere and give up our mobile phones. by the electrical energy being generated and expended through cars. We have to travel a long way from “civilisation” to escape the radiation caused by electricity flowing through cables. Sound has the power to affect the vibrations of molecular structures and so bring about changes in the working of cells. we are at risk of valuing convenience over good health. We can do away with the need to be instantly in touch with anyone. trucks. Humankind has succumbed to a fear-based mentality that ostensibly pushes on and on for “progress”. by radio and television receivers and transmitters. boats. We can simplify the electronic gadgetry in our homes and offices and be willing to take the extra time required to cook a meal rather than microwave it. we human beings are choosing technological progress over human evolution. Then there is the pollution of sound and energy that is so all pervasive in our modern world. our hair and our skin – the list is long. Life appears to be much easier surrounded by gadgetry. but it is also surround ourselves with – the plaster and paint on our walls. the glues and resin used in fibre board and other artificial wood products used in furniture making. We can educate ourselves as to the risks we face and know that we can choose to © Soulfodder – 06. so we might wisely start to explore the polluting power of sound. planes and trains. Paradoxically it is the richer and more “developed” societies that face the greatest threats in these areas. soul or mind at all. Pregnancy and Birth avoid many of them. We can change the values we live by.12 2.
what a lot it has to look forward to in life. The birth process is a significant marker in the lives of a child. Planning to conceive a child would appropriately include a careful review of all aspects of the parents’ personal states. we have paid quite a price for the improvements. They would be even better placed to help if they were taking a far more holistic and spiritual approach to the issues they are dealing with. Mother and father. there are wondrous things that developed societies has done to make it a “safer” process. include it in family life as much as is possible. Many of us are so unaware of the power of the human heart and mind that we place both unborn and growing children in fields of fear and negativity. suggesting dietary and lifestyle guidelines. There are organisations in the world that encourage women to prepare their bodies for pregnancy. “Is the time right for us to enter into this life-long commitment to bring another being into the world?” If this question were now asked genuinely by every couple of childbearing age on the planet. We have dealt so far with the physical aspect.2. we would also have a chance to bring up more spiritually aware and less damaged children. oblivious to the detrimental effect it has on them.10. but not as the master of the physical. Now let us also consider the importance of the emotional and mental. and even older siblings and grandparents.01 . the process of having children has become so automatic that conscious choice has virtually disappeared. its parents and the wider family that ideally contains them all. tell it how much it is loved. It would be useful to be more aware both of our own emotional and mental processes and of the effect these have on a growing foetus. how welcome it is in your family. surrounded by love and positive affirmations about it and the life it can look forward to. then the emotional. family context. On the face of it. mental and physical would naturally follow on. © Soulfodder – 06. as it is to take into account the physical. in which fewer babies and their mothers die. Electro-magnetic radiation is not the only type of vibration the unborn child is exposed to. Compared with what we often refer to as "the dark ages" of prescientific medicine. If we understood our soul purpose and had the spiritual and emotional awareness to appreciate what we are now doing to our physical systems. However. whether or not they are involved in the caring process. things have improved on the purely physical level. Pregnancy and Birth true that we have not learnt the lessons of the last global catastrophe – that technology can be used as a servant of the spiritual process of life on earth. He or she is also exposed continually to the emotional and mental vibrations of the mother and other people around. A new baby is a member of the family from the moment it imbeds into the lining of the womb. It is as important to be aware of the thoughts and feelings the unborn child is exposed to. If we would put the spiritual first. 13 We could then make a conscious choice as to whether to conceive a child in the first place in full awareness of the many issues we have briefly outlined here. Such a review would be designed to answer the heartfelt question. Much has been written about the fall of Atlantis. We would be wise to heed the warning and wake up to the reality we are creating individually and collectively. financial and environmental situations. which we can study to begin to grasp some of what happened all those thousands of years ago. will have a head start over the child growing in a fearful or rejecting atmosphere. Sit with and talk to the incarnating child. For many people. mental and emotional. Let us return to pregnancy and birth. can make up for the times when this cannot be avoided by creating extended moments to just be quietly with the new family member in the womb. A child growing inside it’s mother’s womb. we would not be able to continue acting as we are. Sing to it. very many would probably answer no! Not only would we solve our problems of population growth. It is so very important to consider the spiritual as well as the physical.
Familiarise yourselves with what I have written in the chapter on Sex and Lovemaking in my text on Marriage. The womb has two functions. not just between two people but also outwards to those around them. some children did not mean to be born at all. The termination of a human life in the womb. undertaken with full loving awareness. It is only in recent historical times that this has changed. Their experience of conception and pregnancy being the lesson they chose this time round. seen as such tricky subjects by many of us. need not be traumatic for either child or mother. And remember two things: one is that we cannot take another person’s physical life away from them without their consent. the loss of the spiritual and emotional elements of the experience. Given the stage we have reached in the overcrowding of our planetary home. after all. the success rate was as high if not at times higher than today. Birth control can only be an issue in a society that sees a purely limited role for the human sexual act. that of procreation. and I repeat: human life is not sacred in the eyes of Spirit. and not acknowledge it as possible within every simple act of © Soulfodder – 06. it also provides a channel into the physical world of universal love energy flowing directly from Spirit. Let us take a moment to touch on birth control and abortion. The price we have paid is. the process was more open to Spirit and heart than it is in our westernised hospitals surrounded by doctors and nurses. Yet how much more loving and effective it would be if we could act with such awareness and self-responsibility that we avoided pregnancy when it wasn’t wanted. so freeing women from the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Choice is always there for us to take. once again. it would have been more efficient for the human female body to ripen for pregnancy once a year or even less frequently. In a few current cultures and in distant times when generations of women were involved in the celebration of the beginning of life. A successful birth was more about the choice of the incarnating child than the journey down the birth canal itself. In some churches’ insistence that sex is only for procreation and that birth control is “wrong”. the human sexual act has built into it the capacity to be the finest process of enabling love to flow that it is possible to imagine. It was a change brought about by the rise in power of the churches that wished to retain the connection with Spirit within their own power and control. the father. In the instinctive knowledge that this is so. And as a truly holistic process. physical and spiritual. and where appropriate. much of the natural understanding of contraception has been lost by many women. Nor is it meant to be needlessly wasted or abused. As it is.10. The question each of us can most usefully address is how far our actions contribute to our discovery and expression of who we really are. it not only provides a place for the foetus to grow. we human beings have practised birth control for millennia.01 . we need to carry out an abortion with full awareness: both of the soul needs of the unborn child and of the lifelong emotional consequences for the mother. If this were the case. As to abortion: this point has already been answered in this chapter. a return to a common understanding and awareness of the process of human birth control and its value in the world has to make much a lot of sense. Pregnancy and Birth lovemaking. If considered necessary.14 2. The second is that life is never-ending and is unaffected by the coming to an end of our time in this physical body.
We may not all become parents but we have all experienced what it was like to be a child. he or she will be born with a close connection to God and the spiritual realms as a whole. The answer to such a question will always lie partly within the particular family and the society within which it exists. Similarly. the energy expended by parents in the next eighteen years dwarfs the amount of time and energy that usually goes into those first nine months. It takes little encouragement to get the spirit. Such risks highlight the major disadvantage children are born with. Some people worry about the ideal age gap between siblings in families. It is common for society to set an arbitrary age boundary around the definition of children. Children 15 3. once again. heart and mind of a human child busily imagining the most creative of games and activities. inventing wondrous things and experiences. and yet many of us forget it when we become parents ourselves. that children are at grave risk of having those connections severed by the attitudes of the adults around them. children have access to immense creativity and imagination in their unschooled state. The bulk of the assumptions we make about the need for the heavy socialisation of children stems from a belief that people are born sinful and need to be saved. not needing to be saved at all. which can destroy the spark of creativity each of them brings into the world. which is not entirely valid. the opposite is true: we are all conceived in the image of God and bring with us into the world our true connection to the Divine.10. Children As critical as the pregnancy and birth process is for the holistic health of the newborn child. This may seem unnecessarily obvious. it is only the socialisation and schooling processes that destroy it. Before we make a start in that direction. when at their most vulnerable. If children were encouraged to develop and maintain that connection rather than having it ridiculed. Another advantage is their ability to experience the world around them relatively unfettered by the assumptions and prejudices that many of us end up lumbered with as adults. This is a far greater risk in the societies of the "developed world". each of us is someone’s child even unto our dying. Unless a small child has received considerable antispiritual indoctrination whilst in the womb. then the issue of how close together children are conceived will tend to be irrelevant. Much of the content of this text focuses on aspects of guiding and educating children. And. In reality. It seems almost as if it is easier to remember the patterns of our parents' child rearing practices than what it was like to be a young child in a family. safe and supportive environment in which a human being can grow towards fulfilling their human and spiritual potential in this chosen © Soulfodder – 06. than in those societies of the "primitive world" where communities often have a close spiritual connection to the land and all life thereon. After all. then the whole world would soon become a very different place. a real disadvantage of being so young and innocent is the ease with which young children internalise the criticism of adults. If the family exists to provide a loving. let us look more generally at the subject of children. Children start out in life with some considerable advantages as well as a range of disadvantages. If the family exists to produce as many children as possible so that some survive to care for the parents in their old age. They have the advantage of being far closer to the direct experience of the spiritual realms than the enormous majority of adults. denied and even beaten out of them. It is during the first few years of life. their immense vulnerability. Let us consider a few general questions on having children. children can hold on to this innocent contact with the world for quite some time.01 . with their long traditions of god-based religions. Given just a little encouragement.3.
personally as well as for humanity as a whole. beliefs. The same applies in those few societies where for reasons of population control. such as restricting the degree of disruption to their own lives. who choose to have only one child. Some say that there are risks associated with having only one child in a family. In isolated nuclear family units. A move towards a more tribal way of being in the world provide a far more viable support structure for parents and children. and both sides can become locked in a co-dependent relationship that is not useful for either. During the first three to four years.01 . Even those who consciously set out to conceive a child do not necessarily take great trouble to examine whether their reasons for wanting to do so really reflect both their own spiritual journey and that of the being they will be bringing into the world. on the other hand. In an ideal environment. once again they are likely to run into problems. and can be assessed by the level of security and selfesteem the child displays rather than by the number of years and months they have been out of their mother's womb. draw out their potential and find their path to being and expressing who they really are. If a couple are desperate to have more than one child and cannot. with parents who are unaware of the emotional. then the social pattern of conceiving children out of fear of the future rather than love of life would no longer exist. and the emotional threat from a younger sibling arriving on the scene is greatest. Now. Is it perhaps appropriate for some people to decide against having children at all? It would serve well to be more consciously aware of our motivation for bringing children into the world. There are two questions that need to be asked: Is becoming a parent a full reflection of who we really are in the universe? Is having a child a responsible thing to do for the planet and its inhabitants? The time is rapidly approaching when we will shift the basis of family life on the planet. this issue of the only child would cease to exist. If we chose to live in a world where the enormous abundance that exists in the universe was shared around so that no one went without. the level of attention required is at its highest.10. bringing up an only child can be quite problematic for all concerned. Many people do it without thinking about it.3. so making the task easier and more fulfilling for all concerned. attitudes and behaviour in their child based on their own 16 unresolved childhood experiences and resultant emotional hang-ups. that will inevitably affect the one child they have. every child could do with the full attention of the adults in the family to care for them. spiritual and social issues entailed in guiding children through their early years. then closeness in age is a definite issue. love them. That was before there came to be almost six billion on the planet. If we lived in tribes or greatly extended family groups. Children life. Any such risk is likely to be related to the attitudes and emotional makeup of the parents rather than the child. There was a time when the decision to have children was never an issue. is taken with a very high level of awareness. or because it is just such an easy part of the physical process of being a sexually active human being. it seems appropriate that such a significant decision. If they choose to have only one child for reasons that are less than completely sound. Parents lacking in a high level of personal psychological awareness are at risk of becoming as emotionally dependent on their only child as the child becomes on them. help them to grow. harsh measures have been introduced to prevent couples having more than one child. Fully aware and functional parents. The age will vary somewhat from child to child. The greatest risk is that unaware parents may encourage thoughts. It would also do away with the need for all adults to become parents as the only way to have a loving relationship with © Soulfodder – 06. will not necessarily experience any of these problems. They may do it because it is expected of them.
3. I know that in some parts of the world. It may be preferable to accept this. people are beginning to question whether perhaps society should make such decisions for parents. Until such changes start to take place. In an ideal world. we may all have to accept that there is a social role in ensuring population control. 17 © Soulfodder – 06. However. it is wholly appropriate for an increasing number of people actively to decide not to bring children into the world at all. Society’s role in this process would best be as educator and provider of the information necessary to allow people to reach their own decisions. and so experiencing one of the great joys of human life. It is also true that the huge increase in population over a short period has made it extremely hard for societies to bring about the cultural shifts required for change. It is difficult to change the social patterns laid down over generations.01 . Children children. the role of the community and the extended family would be to help couples decide whether it was appropriate for them to have children. As such.10. rather than to face the natural consequences of over-populating our planet. it is questionable whether that is a reason for society to take decisions on child-bearing away from couples.
It is probably easiest amongst the few remaining indigenous peoples of the world who live close to nature.01 . they need to be able to know what it means to be a spiritual being having a human experience. changing patterns of parenting will have a profound impact on the state of society. So many of the phrases we use suggest passivity on the part of the child and active control on the part of adults. However. Many people consider the anti-social behaviour of young people on the streets and in schools as the result of poor parenting. On a spiritual level. the ways of their families and societies in order to know how to live social lives. free from the value-based judgments and frequent rebukes of the adult world. we have the task of finding an effective balance between allowing children to grow freely with awareness. If we think rather of guiding them through the adventure that is life. This help needs to be applied without undue pressure to conform to some arbitrary code of social conduct that may be at odds with the possibility of realising their soul purpose. Raising Children or Guiding Them Through Life 4. They need every opportunity to come to understand that they have choice about how to be and what to do in this life. The needs of the child and the needs of society are not that different. without too much personal cost. been away from a relaxed approach allowing for the spiritual towards greater social control over parents and parenting. as part of all life. emotional. “rearing them”. Parents are regularly blamed for not adequately socialising their children. emotional and intellectual as well as physical muscles in all sorts of ways. and much more limited than. their freedom and their responsibilities. To succeed in living towards their universal life purpose. They need to be seen for whom they really are. these would be one and the same. © Soulfodder – 06. Terms like “raising children”. Raising Children or guiding them through Life In English speaking countries. At the same time. each child is in fact a part of every adult living on the planet today. physical and intellectual levels. Yet the mainstream trend of recent years has. It is only because our societies have moved away from the spiritual that there is an apparent conflict here. They need to learn about what works and what doesn't in their attitudes to and behaviour in the world. Nevertheless. On the contrary. They need to be recognised as one with all of life. Both needs would be addressed by a substantial increase in the amount of unconditional love in the world and a corresponding decrease in the amount of fear. They need to be able to stretch their spiritual.10. This is most hard in the technological. as part of a holistic system with a more balanced regard for the sacred and the profane. “bringing them up” all speak of too much adult control. There is no doubt that children and young people need assistance to survive and grow effectively. and helping them to understand the constraints of the social world in which we live. Children and young people need a very high level of love and acceptance. it is not appropriate to wait until someone has managed to change the society in which we live before we change the way in which we guide children through their growing up. They need guidance on the spiritual. consumerist countries where our lifestyle is so much at odds with a balanced spiritual way of being. spiritual beings coming to terms with a human existence very different from. we bring an appropriate element of mystery that better suits the task of learning how to be human. How do we find a way to marry the demands of society with the spiritual needs of the child? In the true course of events. the problem is not just one of language. it spills over into the way we behave with our children. we have something of a problem with the language we use to describe children growing up in families.18 4. As parents. if anything. that they are used to in the realms of spirit. They need to discover. they need to be helped to understand and appreciate their individuality.
merged schools.4. we have created child-unfriendly communities and societies in the name of progress and development. We can turn the fear of judgment into a love of our willingness to be more open and aware of whom we really are. And the only way we are going to bring about long-term permanent shifts in the way we live is to change our ways of being and doing with children. shopping centres. As in highly evolved cultures in other parts of the universe. The world has become too full of dangerous technology. Our demand for consumerist production has taken people away from working in the community into factories. not just their biological parents. we need to remember to love ourselves and give ourselves credit for doing the best we know how. We can direct the energy that goes into our struggle to get it right into choosing to become more aware of ourselves and others as spiritual creatures in a human world. 19 All is not lost though: there are things we can begin to do positively about shifting from child rearing to guiding our children's growth. Our lives run at a pace that is too fast for little people. inspirational writing and other means.10. given our background and our past experience and any training we have received.01 . which poses a threat to their very survival. angels and other entities. much will be achieved. However. literate workforce has established long hours of schooling frequently at odds with the emotional and spiritual development of children. guidance from texts like these and that of others in the world who love you. We can tap into that help through prayer. I found that the most powerful place to start was making a conscious decision to choose love rather than fear in every minute of my day. Above all. young people and families are taking the brunt of the pain all this is creating. Others see guidance through a close connection to nature and the ancient ways of hearing the still small voice of Spirit through the animals. children would benefit from being treated as the shared responsibility of every adult in society. meditation. the idea of change may feel quite daunting. So why do the lives of children and young people seem to be at odds with maintaining a stable community atmosphere? It has to do both with the often ineffective nature of our communities. As the scale of things has increased. We can start with ourselves. the wisdom of nature and a myriad spiritual energies waiting patiently in the wings for the awakening of the spirit in humankind. We will talk more about this last piece in Chapter Six on Education and Schooling. Increasing numbers of people are opening themselves up to the help of spirit guides. local communities are being deprived of facilities and amenities that might otherwise help to compensate for the absence of the extended family. growing in a community of spiritual commitment to life itself. nurtured and educated by any and every adult around them. bringing about a change in the way we guide children through life requires a shift in the way we live. Seen from this perspective. birds. depriving children of the very adults they need around them to learn from. central libraries rather than local ones. out of fear about what others will think of us. or what our internalised parental voice tells us is right or wrong. Raising Children or Guiding Them Through Life just as we are all part of each other and every other living thing in the universe. Faced with a description of all the things that are not working. In most of the industrialised countries of the world. We have grown too quickly. and with the way in which children are reared to be largely out of touch with their soul purpose. We are surrounded by the glory of life on earth. Whenever we react negatively. © Soulfodder – 06. At the same time. Children. plants and the land itself. we can open ourselves to the help that is to be found all around us. The pace of technological development has far outstripped our ability to manage the social and environmental consequences of such rapid change. Remember that Spirit is always present and willing to help us in our life journey. our perceived need for a compliant. With Spirit’s help. children can be cared for.
" “If you don’t do well at school. All young people need our help and guidance about how to be in the world. In the short term. you won't grow". rather than starting from the false belief that we already have all the answers to pass down to them. They come to accept this as the norm.10. It would be more effective to find loving ways to communicate with our children as much of the time as possible. In this way. as they struggle to fit into an adult world that is far from user-friendly. but operating from this short-term view is an example of the damage done by not taking into account the bigger picture of life. We can choose many ways of starting to break down the barriers between us and other people. That is the single most important thing we can do © Soulfodder – 06. we can avoid instilling fear in them as it probably was instilled in us as a child. It is worth remembering what it was like to be a child ourselves and offer them guidance in finding their connection to the spiritual side of life from which they can draw unlimited support to help with the human side. We will start to be aware of them as young beings born to experience life in the physical so that they can come to discover who they really are.20 4. such as the building of intentional village style communities sometimes referred to as co-housing. At the same time. The mountain guide will refuse to take a climber on routes that are too dangerous. lest its value gets lost in daily repetition. let us explore opportunities for different styles of living. We can most usefully put our emphasis on encouraging ways of being and doing that stem from love rather than fear. They also need guidance about how to learn rather than being taught by simple rote learning. If we really want to make a difference to our lives and those of our children. we can help them to learn that it is love that enhances life. and act from a fear base with others in their turn. maybe it is. let us appeal to their love. we can find ways that still emphasise love rather than fear. and live in the expectation of fear. Like the use of violence that "did me no harm as a child". while fear limits it. We are not the only people likely to be feeling isolated. reach out with love. "If you don't do your homework.01 . and when we can't. for us and other people. it is worth recognise the limitations of living in nuclear families isolated from other families. It seems to be easier and quicker to use threats and promises to impose control. If we open up our barriers.” Such common attempts to control children surround them with fear energy rather than love energy. Most importantly perhaps. "If you don't eat your vegetables. "No" is such a crucially important word that it should be used seldom and then with great wisdom. He or she will provide clear instructions for handling specific situations as they come up which are best not learnt through disastrous mistakes. making it harder for us to achieve our soul purpose. They learn to be fearful of situations and people. There is nothing loving in allowing children to run riot and cause harm to themselves or other people. We can guide them best by finding a way to learn alongside them. As we strive to change the way we guide our children’s growing. find others whom we can relate to and with whom we can spend time. it keeps alive harmful patterns of behaviour. We can love them and help them. We can avoid getting into situations and patterns of behaving where our children have to be discouraged. for themselves. we will inevitably start to see and experience our children differently. Remember that unconditional love is not about a lack of boundaries nor a permissive approach to parenting. there are probably others in our street who are also fearful and depressed about the apparent struggle of life. you’ll never get a decent job. you'll not get on at school. Raising Children or Guiding Them Through Life both for our children and for the world as a whole. and share our As we start to work on our own spiritual and emotional awakening. It is such a common pattern to use threats and warnings of dire consequences as a way of controlling children's behaviour – "If you don't wear your seat belt the policeman will lock you up".
rather than rational understanding. string. We need to help our young children to develop their awareness and understanding of life on the levels of heart. Early childhood development requires a good holistic mix of activities without too much emphasis on external stimulation. We can deal with these by substituting walks in the park or the woods for hours in front of the television. If we operate from an attitude of marvelling at the beauty of life around us and take on some of the sheer inquisitiveness of our children. as well as flexing their muscles and honing their bodies. I can almost hear parents I know saying something like “this is admirably idealistic.01 . collections of wooden blocks. We will also need to protect them from the many less than useful though not obviously dangerous aspects of life they will encounter. Sometimes it requires little more than questioning the content and process of every activity we introduce our children to. following their lead while monitoring their physical and emotional safety. the use of the mind to be encouraged is in the area of imagination and creativity. 21 Personally. if necessary even before we believe that we have what it takes to complete it. Spirit will not only accompany us on the journey. not love. It is easy to feel daunted. we will find it easy to discover other parents also looking for a different way of being and doing in the world. It stems from our fear that our children will be disadvantaged in the educational system if they don't have a © Soulfodder – 06. colour and shapes. machines and sometimes even people without teaching them to be too fearful of the world they live in. which should be left until the child has reached a stage of development suited to it. we can begin to rebuild a sense of community around us. We can ask ourselves: "How far is this an example of love or of fear?" "To what extent does this challenge imagination and creativity. drawing and painting for comics and video games. We need to keep a watchful eye open for the inevitable physical dangers or traffic. For most children this is some time between seven and twelve years of age. playing and testing out their abilities and talents in as free and unstructured a way as possible. Raising Children or Guiding Them Through Life spiritual journey. I don’t want to feel guilty doing so”. or just present ready-made ideas?" “Am I just pushing them too hard to succeed?” “Does it really matter if they don’t do it my way?” The human child takes a lot longer than most people realise to fully join the adult world.10. to open up their hearts. yet many of us live frenetic lives trying to cope with earning a living and rely upon television and video games to baby-sit our children. Let us encourage our children to journey as far and wide as possible on all planes of existence. which supports me to make the little changes in my life and my parenting that can and will make a difference in the world. We can encourage them to stretch their imaginations. spirit. Having small children opens many doors. a dressing up box of old clothes for a Barbie doll. not a prison sentence. understanding patterns and form. The desire to push children into formal education so young most often stems from fear. Every successful journey begins with just a few steps in the right direction. cardboard boxes.4. There is plenty of time for intellectual and technical learning. sticky tape and such like for here-today-gonetomorrow plastic toys. We can share in their adventure. I have struggled to accept the unlimited unconditional love that Spirit has to offer. mind and body. Life is a journey. My boys when small led me into many new places and new friendships that I would otherwise have been to shy to approach. pressed flowers for Pokeman cards. but will also willingly carry us at times when the going gets really tough. the most important step is to make the commitment to start out. I am not suggesting that we strive to do these things out of some moral need to get it right. to develop their spiritual awareness and connections they were born with. storytelling for learning to read too early. Using the intellect is very much a part of the adult world. Until that time.
It stems from society's fear that inadequate socialisation is the root cause of the social unrest we are increasingly experiencing. and to celebrate the Divine in all things. There are many resource books available that can introduce you to creative play and education with young children. to see fear as an aberration rather than the norm. and allow the education of the intellect to follow on naturally through a holistic process of maturing into adulthood. Take a moment to review the activities your child and you as a family engage in over a day or a week. Children with a narrow intellectual focus will usually fare least well in journeying towards the fulfilment of their soul purpose. Let us educate the senses. offering guidance on indoor and outdoor activities. Look for them in libraries and bookshops. more visits to © Soulfodder – 06. between tone and timbre.22 4. more painting and drawing. their appreciation of nature and the planet on which they grow. more expeditions to discover insects under the bark of trees. We would do our children and our global society a far better service if we encouraged them to develop their understanding of themselves.01 . What is the interplay between their experience of colour and pattern. We can use our best efforts to help them to develop their ability to love themselves and others. taste is important. more playing with modelling clay or play dough. List the different ways in which all the human senses are being stimulated and educated through these activities: an equal balance on sight. Raising Children or Guiding Them Through Life the next-door neighbour to play with the new kittens. shape and form with their hands? How open are you to intuition and spiritual stimuli? When you have reviewed the current state of play. the heart and the body. sound. While the root cause of our immense social problems is our intense isolation from each other and Spirit. so maintaining and enhancing their innate connection to Spirit and all things spiritual. shape and form. you may know all sorts of people who can fill in the gaps in your own skills. And remember to ask for help. music or creative play. touch. smell. you may be thinking that your children are not getting such a rounded education in school. and wondering how you can make up for it at home. As we finish this chapter. plan ways to make up for any imbalance: introduce more simple music making and singing. good start. You do not have to be knowledgeable about art. volume and pitch? How do they experience texture. with the resulting prevalence of fear in every aspect of our lives.10. Follow your child’s interest. so long as you are open to the adventure of learning and enjoying life to the full alongside your children. understanding and experience. Neither of these fears is justified.
Even now. I was frequently told I was not artistic. Believing what I was told I focused on my intellectual abilities to the detriment of my creative ones. On some level. couldn’t hold a tune and had no ear for music. and our experience in it and of it. We can also create our experience of life and the world around us through contributing to and colluding with the unconscious collective thoughts of the society or community in which we live. Even when this is the case. we have freedom to choose our parents and the sort of environment into which we are born. In this sense. In this way.5. heart and soul with my mind. I grew up to create an adult world around me where the left-brain analytical way of thinking and operating were valued to the exclusion of much else. becoming seriously unbalanced. Nature versus Nurture Seen from a spiritual perspective. when such elements are connected to the "type" of character we choose to be born as. The issue is not so much whether a child is born a certain way or created that way by those who nurture him or her. is through the conscious application of aware thought. and we may well choose to set up specific aspects of them prior to incarnating. contributing for much of my adult life in creating a world where only lip-service was ever paid to equality between the sexes. What more usefully can be discussed here are the workings of choice and its connection to what some people refer to as karma. © Soulfodder – 06. It is for this reason that nurture has such a profound impact on the life of the child as it grows into adulthood. For all our belief that we have conscious control over how we think.01 . and our experience of it. as being about regaining the awareness of our Divinity and healing our sense of separation from God. through the unconscious thoughts we take on board during the most impressionable years of our early childhood. The majority of children do not develop their full power in this respect before the other two has hugely influenced them. Let us take a moment to explore the three ways in which we create our own reality through the power of thought. This is why many people do not manage to establish enough spiritual consciousness to live out the path their soul laid down for them in this life. The incarnating soul can and often does choose to bring into its new life on earth elements carried over from previous physical lives. We create the world around us. We also each have freedom of choice over how we live the lives we choose. We get to choose the parts we play. Again to give you a personal example. my greatest struggle is still to balance my body. the style and degree of our nurturing as a child has a profound impact on our development as a human being. As a child. This is in order to provide the opportunity for continued learning in the greater fulfilment of soul purpose. The vast majority of us find it very hard to realise and act on that freedom. we might say that aspects of our "nature" are fixed before conception. individuals end up having very little conscious control over their own reality. it is not some form of punishment for wrongs committed in a past life nor a reward for good service. this subject raises almost no debate. Nature versus Nurture 23 5. I was schooled to believe in the natural dominance of men over women. Each new physical life we choose to take on provides us with opportunities for growing and learning in this great adventure in Universal Existence. Contrary to popular belief. The natural law of the Universe lays down life in its widest sense. This can also to some extent be seen as an element of the effect of nurture rather than nature. The third. way to generate the world around us. that is physical and spiritual. and unfortunately least common.10. community and social pressure on the individual's way of thinking is huge. Child rearing practices in most parts of the world work to ensure that the combination of parental. we have firmly held sponsoring thoughts the world and us.
5. Nature versus Nurture intellectual, we will recognise that rates of development differ hugely from one child to the next. Beware any theories of child development that do not include a spiritual framework, since they are thus disregarding a critical ingredient of the first ten years of life. Above all, we can ask ourselves at every turn whose need is being met by any new decision to encourage or dissuade our children on a particular path. “Am I doing this out of love because it really represents an accurate balance between the child’s needs and our family/society’s needs?” “Am I allowing the spiritual nature of my child to shine through, even as I help them to learn the importance of social living?” If the answer to either question is no, be willing to let go of the fear that often drives parents to start socialising their young too soon, too heavy-handedly or simply inappropriately.
Seen from this perspective, nurture plays a far larger part than nature. It is odd that in the English language we choose these two words to discuss this issue. What we do for our children is not particularly nurturing, and what they bring with them into the world has far more to do with spirit than with nature. If we were truly nurturing of children on an holistic level, then the act of guiding them through their growing up, and encouraging them to develop their spirits and hearts as well as minds and bodies, would allow them more opportunity to make conscious choices about their lives and live out their true "nature" more fully. So let us explore some specific ways in which we can decrease the effect of “nurture” and increase that of “nature” or spirit. It is too easy for us to adopt expectations for our offspring, to project into their lives all the things we might have wanted to have or to be when we were little. So we can start by realising that we will always be at risk of trying to re-live our own childhood through our children. This is a fact of human life in its normal rather unaware state, and not something to beat ourselves up about. It will help if we recognise the risk, and know that by avoiding it we actually stand a greater chance of healing our own childhood hurts while guiding our children. It is important for us to be open to seeing our children for who they really are at a soul level, rather than who we want them to become. We need to allow them the freedom to explore their identity within the bounds of safety. In so doing, it will be most useful to impose only the very widest possible limits to socially acceptable behaviour rather than confine them too rigidly. They will benefit if we let them grow at their own rate; not pushing them to grow faster because that is what everyone else is doing, nor holding them back for fear that they will outgrow their peers. If we develop for ourselves an understanding of child development that includes a full awareness of the emotional and the spiritual as well as the physical and
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6. Boys and Girls
6. Boys and Girls
A common question is what, if any, are the differences between men and women, boys and girls? The two genders seem to experience emotions differently, think differently, react differently and more. Is it that they are fundamentally different or just that they have been brought up differently? And how should any differences affect the way we help our children grow up in the world? Of course there are and always will be differences between male and female. Just as they need to be different for the reproduction of the species, so they need to be different on very many levels for the task of providing souls with opportunities to discover who they really are. In the same way that we cannot truly know love unless we also know fear, so we cannot know human life without knowing both the male and female. No soul would choose to be incarnated as only one gender, as it would deprive itself of immense opportunities for learning from two distinctly different viewpoints. As human beings, our understanding about life and our ability to move forward in our soul evolution will be greatly enhanced by a greater appreciation and understanding of what it means to be male and female and the differences between them. Some argue that, as a species, we should be moving towards minimizing those differences, accepting that men and women are equal. Others say that the real issue is finding the balance in each of us between the male and female aspects of ourselves. Finding a balance between the male and female aspects of ourselves is really no more than coming to a full understanding of our maleness or femaleness. Society has stereotyped the masculine and the feminine, and so left each of them less than their full potential. The feminine, as accepted by most people, is missing aspects of its natural gender attributes, and so is the masculine. This is especially true of the masculine, and to some degree those bits it is missing in society are quite easily seen as the more feminine bits. And vice versa. If we look back to that period in history when our societies were matriarchal rather than patriarchal, we would find a better balance of the male and female energies. Women took their rightful place as leaders in society because they were better able to take appropriate decisions for the good of all, based on their greater integration of the emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of life. At the same time, men were freed from the burden of so much responsibility to be more caring and loving in their roles as physical providers and protectors. The shift that came about through the slow, yet considerable increase in the levels of fear within the male, drove out much of the loving and caring side of the masculine. It was replaced with a hardness and an inevitable lack of emotional and spiritual awareness which have become the recognized, and unfortunately accepted, characteristics of the male in today’s world. At the same time, the shift of power from women to men left women deprived of the opportunity to use their naturally greater ability for integrative thinking and feeling and seeing the whole picture in life. This left women with an undue emphasis on the emotional that is seldom fully appreciated and recognized by the male. Aspects of the differences between the genders are largely induced by socialization rather than being inherent. Such conditioning extends much wider than individual families. As a result, even where one set of parents aims to provide a balance of the male and female influences for their offspring, larger forces at work in society may sabotage their efforts. A baby is born into a social field that starts to shape him or her from the moment his or her gender becomes clear in the womb. Remember what we said before about the
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6. Boys and Girls I am encouraged by the way that 30 years or more of the women’s movement has improved the lot of girls and women in society. There is a still more work to be done, yet, girls are more emancipated, more aware and more in touch with their personal power in most developed countries today than many of their mothers were in the past. I fear that the lot of boys in today’s developed world is not so encouraging and wonder whether the time hasn’t come for a men’s movement to help put things right. By so many indicators, boys are failing in western society much more than girls. They frequently achieve less well in school, get into trouble more both in school and out in the world, suffer from higher rates of addiction, suicide and much more. It seems that a major factor, if not the major one, in the problems faced by boys growing up in the present world is the absence of active and engaged fathers. Even where children have two parents at home, men spend more time out of the home without their sons than they have ever done in previous generations. Boys are suffering from the lack of effective role models for how to be male in the modern world. Boys develop through three stages in their childhood: for the first 5-6 years they are focused primarily on their mothers and need their mother’s attention more than their father’s. Then from the age of around 6 to post puberty, maybe 14, the father is the most required role model for boys. As they grow through adolescence, other men become role models that are more significant. It is natural for boys to move their attention out into the world as part of emotionally separating from the family. Mothers can effectively raise sons if they have no man in the family by finding useful role models outside the home. Uncles, grandfathers, friends, teachers, sports coaches can all help boys grow effectively into men in the absence of a father with time at home to be with his sons.
three choices — to act from our own unaware thoughts, to act from the unconscious collective thoughts of community around us, or to act from conscious awareness of our own chosen thoughts. Well, the unconscious collective social thought exists all around us and will influence the new boy or girl child as soon as it starts to grow in the world. At the same time, parents, regardless of their good intentions, can seldom manage to avoid passing on the conditioning they have themselves been brought up with. I am not saying that it is important to treat boys and girls the same, quite the contrary, yet it is exceedingly hard to do so even if we wanted to. In working with the gender issues in the family, the single most significant thing we can do is encourage the development of spiritual awareness in all our children from an early age. We can help our children develop reverence for the spiritual and the physical worlds and for their own connection to God. Through a greater degree of spiritual awareness, they will have a chance to recover some of the natural elements of being human that have been overshadowed by generations of socialization based on fear rather than love. We can help our boy children to learn about love, and be fully able to love. We can love them. We can shower them with love. We might even go as far as to treat them in all the ways that so many parents have regarded anxiously as being “too soppy” for boys, just in order that they can appreciate the power and peace of love rather than the burden of fear that they pick up so early in life. We can help our girl children to appreciate that love is a powerful social grace not just a domestic tool. We can help them to understand and appreciate that they have a place in the world where their ability to feel and think together can be valued, where “feminine intuition” is more valuable even than male “gut feeling”. We can help our girl children grow up knowing what it means to take their power in a loving way and contribute effectively to the world around them.
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respectful and spiritually open men that the world needs. Most importantly of all. We can read them books. allowing them safe expression for the natural male desire to play hard. we can play rough and tumble games with them. Such games help bring a balance to the equation and provide a way to show that we can be loving and strong. For boys in this modern world it is particularly important that they learn respect for women and all those whom they can perceive as weaker than themselves. feeding their natural interest to take things apart. They will need help to learn how to let go of whatever feelings they may have inside and choose love rather than fear and hatred even in the most difficult situations. They need to learn that accidents do happen and that retaliation makes things worse. keep alive their innate interest in magic. Even more important than playing with them. We can play with them for good chunks of the day rather than the odd 2 minutes here and there. angels. fairies. our sons will need to learn that there is a limit to how rough they can be. we can treat them with unconditional love and acceptance. It is an easier lesson for them to learn at the tender age of 6 or 7 than it is at the inevitably rebellious age of 13 or 14. try things out and explore the real world around them. Boys and Girls There are many things we can do to help boys grow up into the sort of emotionally aware. helping us around the home and garden. As we do things with them or just spend time with them. such games offer opportunities for boys to learn how to play fair and when to stop. nature spirits and such wonders outside the “normal” realms. tell them stories. We can let them know that big boys do cry so counteracting the many social messages they will be getting that they have to be tough. vandalise more objects. Fourthly. taunt more animals and disregard useful authority more than girls do. We can cook meals with them. As fathers. choosing all the time levels of engagement suitable for their age and based on love not fear. play their fantasy games with them. we can respect their feelings. We can have pillow fights on the living room floor. We can continue to cuddle them and express our love for them long beyond the ages when probably our fathers stopped doing it with us. preferably working alongside us as men. We can gently help them to understand the oneness of all life and the choice we make at every turn between love or fear. gentle and firm. we can help them learn respect for others. The respect required is not just for other people.01 . involve them in making things with us. As they grow up.6. we are required to show them through our own behaviour how to respect their mothers and sisters and all other women around us. Fifthly. They can learn that it is not acceptable to hurt others deliberately and that when someone says “that’s enough” they stop. do the washing up with them.10. delicate spider’s webs and the other beauties of the natural world. sweet smelling flowers. testing their strength and coordination. Thirdly. we can do real things with them. drop more litter. we can spend time with our sons. Finally we can ensure that our boys are involved in the full range of domestic activities. we have not been doing so well with our sons. we can bring our spirituality into our engagement with them. Mothers do a good job of bringing most girls up to respect the world around them. They can be done by either parent. wrestle with them on the lawn 27 and generally encourage them to be physical and powerful. As fathers. it is also for the sum total of the world around us. It is also our task as men to correct them and teach them when we witness them not being respectful to others. We can talk with them about the mysteries of the world. clean the house with © Soulfodder – 06. Secondly. but it is particularly important for fathers to engage with them. Six simple things combine to offer the most potential. Firstly. Boys. It is our job as fathers to help them learn how come it is not useful and what they can do instead. We can show them that it is healthy and strong to have tender feelings for small furry creatures. firmly yet lovingly.
we will keep ourselves open and available to our sons and so help ensure that the role of father is ultimately replaced by that of friend.28 6. © Soulfodder – 06. In this way. companions and guides who are also moving slowly but inevitably away from their fathers. Boys and Girls them. what better way to model their value than by learning how with our sons. to encourage them to find other men whom we respect to seek out as mentors and guides along the way. we cannot do this things ourselves.10. make the beds. we can be willing to let them go. If right now. mend our clothes. We can generally teach them that even the traditional areas of feminine activities are appropriate ones for us to be involved in.01 . We can then make ourselves available to other teenage boys in need of mentors. When our sons are ready to turn their attention outwards and away from us.
Life is a God sent opportunity to come to know ourselves and so come to know and re-member ourselves with God. we can speed up the process of human spiritual evolution and so move more firmly towards healing our separation from God. With it inevitably comes its opposite – fear. We live on an abundant planet in an abundant universe. The potential for joy and glory in our lives is limitless. If we work together. We can fulfil our destiny as guardians of the physical realms we enjoy. We also have the power to create the world around us. We bask in the light of Universal Love. God created the Universe in order to have the experience of knowing God as He/She/It really is. So let us consider the possibilities offered by cooperation before we look at the ways in which competition serves us poorly. If we work together. Working in co-operation. Competition keeps us firmly stuck in our spiritual evolution. so that. God chose to create life and set it – us – the task to come to know who we really are. Love is the energy that powers life in the universe. There will be no limit to what humanity can achieve. These are the fundamental spiritual principles that govern our lives and the universe. the life force that flows through and connects every element of the universe. we can align the three aspects of creative thought and so increase exponentially our ability to generate the world we wish to live in. we will not be limited to planet Earth. Naturally. We could usefully start by questioning whether a competitive social order satisfies the fundamental purpose of human life: to explore. On a spiritual level we are all one. so is the potential for us to turn away from love and live in the shadow of fear that exists side by side with it. We have been given enormous power in the form of total unconditional love. we have freedom of choice and need to accept responsibility for how we use it. we will start making the same choices in life. we speak and we act that which we desire to create. To do that. Co-operation versus Competition 29 7. If we work together. We can create the heaven on earth that we have aspired to for generations. As spiritual beings. Working together. through the unconscious thoughts of the groups we are a part of and through our own conscious thought processes. I know that it is God’s desire that we decide in favour of co-operation and against competition.10. otherwise we would not be able to have the experience of knowing the other and so knowing the self. It makes no sense for us to compete with parts of ourselves. © Soulfodder – 06. In time. we can ensure that the abundance of our planet is maintained for the benefit of all life that inhabits it. Put them together and I trust that you can begin to see why co-operation makes sense. In co-operation we can enhance our individual power to levels we can now only dream of. If we work together. We do this in three steps: we think. This requires life as we know it to experience itself as separate from God. We are surrounded by the beauty and riches of nature. we will start to take full responsibility not only for ourselves but also for all life on the planet. all is possible. Co-operation versus Competition One of the universal elements outlined in the Introduction is that all living things in the universe are part of one whole that is ultimately part of All That Is. there will be no reason for the rest of the universe to be concerned about our attempts to reach the stars. there are three ways we think our reality into existence: through our unconscious thoughts. define and express who we really are on a spiritual level. When we live by co-operation. ultimately we can return to being One with God. We will be welcomed with open arms by our brothers and sisters in our galaxy. we will be able to extend our experience outwards to the stars.01 . As I have said elsewhere. I and every person I might wish to compete with are part of the same spiritual entity.7. If we work together.
Competition is far more of a male characteristic than female and in modern times seems particularly to flourish wherever high levels of schooling take place. Children are taught to compete with each other all the time.30 7. if we avoid making growth and technology more important that humanity and spirituality. ablest. that to do well inevitably means that someone else does badly. status. possessions or anything else. This should suggest to us that competition is partly a learnt response to fear-based teaching rather than an innate human characteristic. Once we operate from a mentality that says "I can own something and so keep it from someone else". Most of the expensive things in life we do not need. We do not need to compete for what belongs to everyone. This stems from our adopted fear that there will never be enough to go round – not enough power. By the time children go to formal school they have been firmly indoctrinated with the idea of competing. funniest. and so competition is born. All of this and more is open to us when we all choose co-operation instead of competition. It is encouraged in almost every aspect of life. Everything we all need exists in abundance. “If competition is such a negative element of our humanness. In reality. Working alongside each other with love rather than fear we could heal the rifts between peoples and countries. water and land to go round. we could immediately begin to heal our environment and set the planet back on course to a secure future. prettiest and more. The relatively rare things for which we end up competing are those that we want but do not really need. Let us look at competition in the light of how we actually live. Competition is no longer limited to issues of wealth or possession. Among the traditional peoples of the planet. food. There is nothing achieved through the expression of fear in competition that could not be more easily and more fruitfully achieved through the expression of love in cooperation. Under normal earthly conditions. turn swords into ploughshares and make communities whole again. work. Along with the fear of loss that is established through ownership. Working together. We can operate in the world without anything precious. All the basic raw materials we have needed in the past have always existed in copious quantities. It is hardly Even now. cleverest. Even planet Earth can continue to sustain life for millions of years with no risk to itself or any element of life. The tribal peoples who developed into war-like societies chose the road of fear rather than love and © Soulfodder – 06. there have been tribes who did not compete for the important things in life.10. everything belongs to everyone and so competition is unnecessary. it isn’t part of being human so much as part of being social humans. as to who is fastest. there is enough air. It is only in the last century that we have started “needing” metals such as uranium that are hard to come by. either within their own tribes or between tribes. right now competition is part of the very makeup of our social and economic structures. For a start. friendship. This is of course factually incorrect. Together we will always be able to do more. cash. whether as nations or local businesses. there comes the need to acquire more than others. how come it has been around for such a long time?” I am not sure it is valid to say that it is a “negative element of our humanness”. Competition started to arise on the planet when we shifted from a mentality of stewardship into one of ownership. They soon come to understand that in order to succeed someone else has to fail. it was not innate in their makeup.01 . we start to establish unreal values for the scarce commodities. The universe is an abundant place. Yet. I can hear people asking. generate more and produce more than we can when we are split up into factions and warring tribes. Co-operation versus Competition interdependence at some early point in their social development. acting in co-operation we have the ability to eradicate poverty and ill health from the world. influence.
We are fearful. just as in education. rather than beating ourselves up or feeling bad about operating in old ways we wish now to change. when we address our fundamental practice of opting for fear rather than love. Let us recognise the total degree to which we create the reality in which we live and our experience of the world. “Love thy neighbour as thyself” requires us to love ourselves first in order to be able to love others. disease and social unrest are all part of the equation. but because we choose to be full of fear. no healthy without the sick. Strengthened by love we can choose with awareness the message we want our children to receive as we react to them. no safety without the fearful. If we choose love rather than fear in every moment of relating to our children. Then in that briefest of pauses we can ask ourselves if our reactions come from love or from fear. In the same situation. If we find that we are competing with our children.7. aggression. their questions or statements. © Soulfodder – 06. no well-fed without the hungry. If we find that many times we are responding to our children out of love already we can pat ourselves on the back. help them see the need to make different choices. Even when we correct them. we need to summon up all the love and courage we have to choose to react differently. and start to talk with our children about the choices they make. If we find that many times we are operating out of fear.01 . Many people make valiant efforts to argue that co-operation is more effective than competition. we will help them learn to do the same in their turn. We cannot do away with competition and continue to live in fear. We can learn to pause before we react to their behaviour. They have been set on the scramble to compete for everything in their lives and so have well internalised the fear that they were exposed to in our basic child-rearing practices. they will learn love. we can remember to accept the fear. violence. yet we don’t seem to make progress. we have the potential to affect a change in the state of the world through the way we guide our offspring through their childhood. child rearing and most other areas. It starts with each of us! 31 As parents. we can do so with great love and trust. one person can choose to look at the world through the filter of love and experience love reflected back to them. love ourselves even as we experience it and make the conscious choice not to be driven by it any more. If we respond to them with fear. they will learn fear. We will only make progress in lessening competition. It helps if we make the conscious effort to love ourselves at the same time. If fear is the emotion we wish to live with then competition. Co-operation versus Competition surprising that by the time they leave school they are completely at home with the belief that there can be no rich without the poor. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that you cannot solve a problem from within the way of thinking that gave rise to it. Then we can set ourselves the task of increasing the number of times we choose love rather than fear. The answer lies in their thinking and feeling. we can usefully explore the underlying fear or anxiety that is leading us this way. It would serve us well to shift our thinking from the outside to the inside. boosting their self-esteem rather than lessening it. another can choose the filter of fear and experience only fear reflected back. How do we begin to do away with the fear and so address all these issues when we are so fear-full? We can usefully start by remembering that we have full freedom of choice. People ask how come two people living in similar circumstances often have such different experiences of life.10. say no to them. not because we have anything to be afraid of. When we find out what is behind such behaviour. If we respond to them with love.
© Soulfodder – 06. social and economic infrastructure that has served us well for centuries and putting monuments to technology in its place. For people who have chosen unconsciously to exist in the middle or towards the bottom.32 7. it can be constantly demotivating and reinforce feelings of failure. is born of fear and akin to a cancer in the body of the human race. We may believe that the motorcar is the salvation of all our personal problems. So what of the competition that seems to motivate people to do their best. We have much to love and admire about being human. beauty. We can aim to strip away the fear that pervades our thinking and feeling and replace it with the joy of collaborative achievement. Co-operation versus Competition We may have become convinced that we need one enormous. Do we really need mega-supermarkets on out of town sites selling enormous ranges of food and consumer goods more than we need local corner shops and a sense of thriving community? We are choosing to box ourselves further and further into an unsustainable corner from which it will become increasingly hard to escape. Let us start with how competition motivates people to do their best. given the social context in which we have grown up. We will achieve it through cocreation with all that surrounds us. so creating selffulfilling prophecies. competition does little to encourage or motivate them. We have all been doing the best we can. Competition does have the effect of pushing ahead those people who feel they have a chance of getting to or near the top.10. with nature. That our needs are few and simple. Let it be enough for now to say that economic competition. Others will make many more attempts in the future so that we can find ways of living that will provide us and all other living things on planet Earth with a better quality of life. creativity and wisdom. computerised store where ten local shops used to suffice. The resulting delight in mutual success and the companionship of doing things well together will have a motivating power far greater than the fear of failure generated by competition. We will consider economic competition more fully in later texts. We will not achieve the vision of heaven on earth through competition with each other. Many prophets and wise souls have made many efforts in the past to help us open our eyes. push ahead in their lives? We are told that economic competition is healthy. we may wake up and realise that we don’t need any of these things at all. As to economic competition. We are set on breaking down much of the human.01 . or what the big companies controlling our economies decide we want. On the other hand. compassion. weeding out the inefficient firms and leaving only those best able to supply our needs. and it is the satisfaction of our wants that is taking us towards the brink of disaster. just like individual competition. the challenge is for us to look at what we need rather than what we want. efficient. The more important question to be considered is how much more useful would be a genuine loving atmosphere of co-operation? We have plenty of examples around us of how much more effective good teamwork is than individuals competing with each other. our life experiences and the understanding we have managed to acquire of our world and ourselves. We have such potential for care. and with great love for each other and ourselves. On the contrary. our hearts and our minds to the wider glory of Universal Life. We may believe that we need competition to cut down the costs of food air freighted around the world to provide us with a diet that no longer changes with the seasons nor fits the natural rhythm of life. strive for success. with other life forms or the planet as a whole.
Violence stems from fear and so is counter-productive to the power of love. It is easy because most of us have accepted the social reality that says such things are appropriate. Toys and Violence 33 8. Children. they effectively encourage it. lest they attract the very thing into their lives that we wish them to avoid. growth. games. It has so dulled our sensitivities that we are now very willing to accept more. How many attempts to resolve conflicts peacefully and civilly do we find. So it is not useful to develop a fear of violence in young people. It is also necessary for them to grow up with a healthy respect for violence so that they can avoid it throughout their lives. What is needed throughout their formative years is a huge amount of love and a minimisation of fear and all the violence that stems from it. © Soulfodder – 06.8. that there really is no need for fear-based entertainment or activities. When our children are exposed to games of violence in whatever form and are curious about them. Toys and Violence One way we can start to make the shift away from competition towards a co-operative way of being is to address the issue of children. The cynic in me realizes that violence. care for the environment and all living things. aggression and fear make more money than does love. distribute or otherwise manage programmes and films denying any proof of a connection between what children watch and violence in their behaviour. And maintaining these levels is a necessary part of maintaining the world as we know it. There are many opportunities for us to develop creativity. We can provide them with toys. Remember that the power of the creative process is such that we attract into our lives that which we fear. activities and exercises that depict and enhance the way love operates now. This feeding us violence is an effective way of maintaining the total levels of fear in the world. compared with the number of newspaper articles and news broadcasts that depict violence? Violence has become an acceptable part of our world and is doing great harm in making us all immune to the lack of love around us. which are tales of love and romance. toys and violence. we can help them to see the ways in which they are fear-based and steer them towards others that are built around love. It is necessary for our young to grow up with an understanding of fear and its role in the world. indeed the more we are fed. Unconditional love has become a concept that few understand and even fewer practise daily. Too many people are making too much money exploiting others and the environment to be able to accept the common sense that is right in front of them. this argument does not stand up against the bestselling movies of all time. It is too easy to expose our children to violence and aggression or provide them with toys of war and destruction. The problem is that violence portrayed in entertainment media is too effective at influencing the attitudes of people throughout society. the more we seem to want.10. However. Those who maintain that the depiction of violence on television or through games is harmless have become over-tolerant of the level of fear and pain in society. The model we can most usefully provide for them includes of all those aspects of the world in which we live that are love-based rather than fear-based. Take a look around. By colluding with it.01 . Children. a world of economic and social order that pits human against human and against all the life and natural resources on the planet. co-operation. artistic expression. I have often been amazed to read about the issue of violence on television and in films raised in the press. It is hard for people to grasp its importance or understand how to break out of the mould of fear and aggression that we have largely given in to. There is always a strong protest from those who make. and could operate even more powerfully. This is often used to "prove" that the public wants violence more than any of the alternatives. courage and honesty.
Toys and Violence who inevitably copy their parents’ behaviour more readily than listen to their words. the power of love in listening to and understanding each other and getting your needs met. If we are unsure how to do this. and the toy manufacturers from giving us the props to act out those models. Such people need to heed this wake-up call. so making them desired above of all else. I have been asked before now whether I am suggesting parents shut their children away from the reality of a world of personal ownership of guns. parents act as the most powerful examples for their children. I am not. wars and all the other examples of violence that surround us. Home made bows and arrows can be placed in the hands of young children as excellent tools for developing hand-eye co-ordination as they play games of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. How do we help them give it up? We can introduce them to alternative ways of resolving their differences and getting their needs met. minds and bodies as they are taught the rudiments of traditional chivalry acting out fantasies of King Arthur and his knights. This can be balanced by an experience and understanding of how possible it is to live lovingly instead.34 8. Simple wooden swords and shields can engage hearts. Channelling the interests and urges of the young into potentially productive areas is far better than falling into the trap of banning toy guns. © Soulfodder – 06. there are plenty of books. Chapter twelve offers a simple model.10. We will not always know the most appropriate ways to behave. hunting of animals. films and programmes and violence on the streets. will be to take personal responsibility in our millions for boycotting them. Each of us can take personal responsibility for generating love rather than fear in our children’s lives. legends and stories that we can introduce to our children to satisfy such interests. Many people find the connection obvious between violent toys. and avoid models of fear-based ways of living. The only way we will ultimately stop film and television companies providing violent and fearful models for our children (and us) to emulate. It is completely appropriate that children grow up to have some understanding and appreciation of how violent the world is now. Together we can explore how to be different in the world. and above all modelling. We can help them to discover for themselves how much more they get out of play with their friends and life generally when they are loving. at the same time as doing all we can to provide models of a love-based way of life. Many of these can be judiciously adapted to place an emphasis on love. We can help our children to understand the world of violence and fear. accepting and co-operative than when they are fearful and aggressive. and choose to do something different. In all things. honour and honesty. compassion. negotiation skills. courses and even counsellors who can introduce us to win-win conflict resolution. while encouraging its growth through our children’s education and play at home and at school.01 . This might take time. Such an approach does not necessarily mean that we struggle to break the will of our children so keen to play games with toy weapons. Children. There is little real point in speaking out against injustice and violence in the world out there. When in doubt. in the home and around the world. start to lovingly educate their families and friends about the damage being caused. it is useful to ask ourselves the question “what is the most loving thing to do now?” Sometimes it will be no more than to tell our children that we want to find a more loving way to behave and need their help. We can help our children to understand that love is a more effective way of resolving conflicts than fear. There are plenty of examples available from myths. Many of us already have to face violence and aggression present in our children’s behaviour.
just as how we work with and feed off our own and each other’s emotional states contributes. Emotions and Children 35 9. The emotions in all their richness need to be appreciated. The emotions represent the purest form of energy that we can experience. love and fear are the dominant emotions. and as parents we in turn teach our children. grips us up. It does mean that we can benefit from learning to understand them all and knowing how to live with them. They need understanding most of all and yet are the least well understood or appreciated of them all. while anger. We each need to take full responsibility for our anger. For this reason alone. The energy of our emotions is what drives everything else in life. It is more useful to focus on the practical value of the white-hot furnace that can melt the hardest metal into beautiful and useful forms. The societies in which we live are the collective social and political expression of the emotional energy of the people living in them. That doesn’t mean we have to like them. anger. At other times. Of these. We are the results of our emotions. No one can make us angry any more than they can fill us with love or fear. This is as true in health and sickness. Like all our emotions. we generate it within us in response to the stimuli around us. and when expressed with love cleans out the pain and negativity that it is too easy for us to take in and bottle up.10. Love and fear are the most powerful of the human emotions and the ones that have the most profound effect in our world. it is more appropriate to react with love than with anger.01 . At times. There are many stories of people so angry that they could lift things beyond their normal means or achieve things they could not otherwise have done. What is acceptable and non-acceptable on the emotional level has a profound influence on this collective process of emotional creativity. The free expression of appropriate emotional energy is the key to personal and social health. They are the universal emotions that we share with all life in the universe. which. acknowledged and accepted. it is fully appropriate to choose to feel angry and use that energy to tap into aspects of power that we would otherwise probably not have available to us. as it is in relationships.9. we are likely to pass on to our offspring the same attitudes. Our emotional responses are ours for the choosing and our responsibility once chosen. grief and envy derive from fear. It is wise to avoid the raging bush fire out of control that cannot be contained. let us consider the others that stem from them. our emotions are the most important aspect of our physical existence. Anger in its free form is our way of tapping into the powerful uplifting energy of life. grief and envy. First. We learnt what we know and don’t know. Anger is a fire energy that cleans and burns and it requires to be used with as much awareness as fire. © Soulfodder – 06. I will focus on these two in our relationships with our children. Unless we have done the considerable work of shifting our level of awareness and the emotional patterns built up in our first few years of life. In truth. The biggest problem with anger is the way it is misused. There are five fundamental emotions. The many intense feelings that we experience stem from these five: love. fear. is incredibly valuable. love and marriage. work and business and the creation of what we want from life. entirely from our own parents. though. values and emotional behaviour that were passed on to us. when not expressed. Emotions and Children The family is the seedbed of emotional life. Coming to understand the emotions and the role they play is critically important precisely because they have this profound role to play in creating the social reality around us. what we do and don’t do. This is a primeval energy of the Hara or centre of our being. education in “emotional intelligence” as the American Daniel Goleman calls it in his book of that title.
a growing child is as near to the purely spiritual state as it is ever likely to be. Contrary to popular understanding. Such a way of reacting to death stems from our acceptance that the departed was not solely a human being. the prime energy of creation. but truly a spiritual being having a human existence. the emotion that goes with it is fear. In the context of grieving over death. not hatred. the other three emotions will cease to be problematic. body and spirit. The three human emotions of anger. grief and envy are overlaid on top of this base during the first few years of life. the turmoil of emotions is largely the result of our belief that death is the end and something to be feared. Love and fear are the energy building blocks of the universe. I am talking about unconditional love. the energetic positive regard. restricting their levels of self-esteem as well as their creativity. The refusal to accept the reality of loss is frequently followed by great anger expressed variously at the person who has left or died or those believed to have caused the parting. The fundamental emotion of the universe is love. Through shaming someone. This is why the emotional state of a newborn baby appears so much simpler than that of a toddler. In the womb. Envy is an emotion we often find even harder to deal with than anger or grief.36 9. Love is the life force of the universe. It is possible to feel a great sense of relief and love for the individual who has let go of the physical and found the intense peace of the spiritual in its place. Shame is a behaviour pattern rather than a true emotion. the opposite of love is fear. love and fear. The overwhelming sadness that we feel in the face of loss can commonly trigger great anger. When we fully understand love and fear and how they affect all life in the universe. it can experience only the two universal emotions.01 . before it leaves the safety and security of its mother’s body. Treating all children with unconditional love and acceptance will avoid the trauma of shame. The fundamental choice we each get to make every moment of the day is whether to feel love or fear. Anything and everything else stems from this. Naturally. we look at another and see what the ego would like to have or be now. Both are far from the truth. I have before now been asked about shame. Fear is present whenever love is absent. would pale into insignificance if we were to choose to live life from the spiritual rather than the materialistic perspective. Emotions and Children and even death – that they are willing to adapt their behaviour to better fit our demands.10. A baby’s emotions will swing around the balance point on the scale that has abject fear at one end and total unconditional love at the other. not just in families. Envy. In this state. For this reason we turn to them next. How parents and other carers respond to the baby’s emotional expression is crucial to its healthy development on all the levels of mind. the mother has the A common time for anger to be misused is when grief is a more appropriate response. Shame is a powerful socialising tool that we use widely. Many of us are currently only capable of coming to experience the fullness of our sadness or grief when we have been through these other stages of denial and anger. Unable to see how our life is already a reflection of how we are in the world. Because of its widespread use in raising children. the fear associated with shame affects many adults today. abandonment © Soulfodder – 06. care and compassion that goes much deeper and wider than the romantic notions of love we tend to restrict the meaning of the word to. we instil such an intense level of fear – fear of rejection. like anger and grief. It is an emotional response to our inability to accept ourselves as we really are. The effective way to deal with this powerful emotion is to focus on two questions: a) what is it in the other that might better reflect who we really are and b) how might we achieve that for ourselves. child or adult.
In this way. Accepting the fear © Soulfodder – 06. pain or hurt is to do it cradled in the arms of someone who really loves us. We can help them to understand the source of it. We can help them to understand the positive effect that their loving feelings can have on themselves.10.9. We can very appropriately stop a child behaving in a way that will lead to pain or rejection while still allowing them to feel the emotion driving the behaviour. Our responses can also stop children from expressing their feelings at all. We need to give our children the total unconditional love that will allow them to reach the point of choosing between fear and love. Trying to deny fear or suppress it will not weaken its control over us. When children are bubbling over with love. we can see the effect of their powerful and unconditional love on all life around them. we will have a profound effect on what the child takes in as being acceptable and unacceptable. If we respond to their love with rejection. Emotions and Children most profound effect in the first few months. It is likely to do this through physical. even if not so easy to put into practice. spiritual and mental paths. Be very clear that this does not mean that anything goes at the level of behaviour in acting out the emotions. affecting all other aspects of growth and development. When our children feel fear. If we respond consistently with love and acceptance. their creativity. to their fear with disapproval. which adversely affects the growth of the body. We can help them to know that they can be safe even as they experience the fear. where they feel it inside them. we will help the child grow into an emotionally intelligent human being. They can only do this if they are free to experience both emotions. Unaccepted emotions can be suppressed and kept inside. The intense love and acceptance of someone they love completely is the best way of easing the process. Crying is very good for them. and how she reacts to the expression of love and fear in its varying degrees will set the scene for the way the child learns to handle its emotions in the years to come. If we block their expression. we stand to gain some of what we may not have received when we were little. how they can show it through their 37 play. We can help them to relish the experience. we can accept and acknowledge that love. crying is immensely releasing and would be good for us all! And the most useful way to cry and let out the fear. the most useful thing we can do is accept and acknowledge their feelings. They can usefully learn that they have the choice. We can avoid leaving them alone in it. and the connection to the spiritual realms that is so important for the wholeness of the human self. help them to savour it and to express it in ways that enhance the experience. to come to understand what triggers it. Emotions are flows of energy. excluded from love. and helped to feel safe enough to make the choice for themselves. We can best respond to every aspect of a child’s emotional expression with love and acceptance. not all alone shut away in a room. Every adult response to the child’s feelings contributes to that child’s emotional education. We can also help them to experience the source of that love as both inside themselves and coming from Spirit.01 . their behaviour to others. so that the experiencing of it does not make life difficult for them. and how to make that choice. It is certainly not about trying to do away with fear and only ever experience love. the energy has to find other ways to dissipate. If we help our children to come to an understanding of love. the development of attitudes and beliefs. It pays to ignore everything we have ever read or been told about leaving our children to cry. The process of aiding the healthy emotional development of babies and children is very simple. to find the words and acceptable actions to express it. what words they can learn to express it. The effect can be far greater than we might imagine. be ready to agree that anything goes. on others and on the energy around them. At the level of emotions. and enjoy for ourselves the experience of being so totally loved. to their anger with fear.
I emphasise this notion of detachment. rather than just their parents guide the young through their early lives. we can usefully seek help from those more in touch with. I would whole-heartedly recommend every parent to study this simple technique. This is another reason why in highly evolved societies the elders of the community. The effect is to help the speaker feel seen. It can take a lifetime to come to a full understanding of the emotional elements of life. Then we can be fully present for the child with some sense of what they may be feeling. is a sign of great strength. or if not available. In practise.10. This is sometimes made more difficult as our children’s feelings trigger our own emotions. any good book on basic counselling skills would also be likely to include it. More appropriate is to aim for personal involvement without emotional involvement. Children will experience all the range of emotions. Most good books on parent education would detail it. When my young son flies into a fury and wants to kick and scream I will very gently prevent him hurting me and feed back to him something like: and learning to acknowledge it with love helps our children and us to choose love in stead in every moment. yet detached enough to be effective in helping them through the experience. As a society. we have the opportunity to educate them in such matters at an early age. the full range of human emotions. we can remember that our children can be our teachers in this area as in so many others.38 9. To empathise with our children means to combine a detachment from them with sharing some level of the emotional experience they are going through. and many unuseful old patterns to undo. both primary and secondary.01 . souls. and understanding of. It is hard to make the shift as parents. Many of us who are already parents struggle with the whirlwind of emotions that our children experience. even if we have had an emotionally healthy upbringing. Banning emotions. This can work even to the point of helping to vent off excess levels of feeling that may be getting in the way. If we develop our ability and willingness to empathise with our children’s emotional states. We could valuably provide young adults with the help and support necessary to develop their emotional intelligence to the point when they are ready to bear children of their own. It is almost like trying to place a small element of ourselves in their shoes. At such times. we will have plenty of opportunity to heal our own emotional upbringing. without getting so sucked into our own feelings that we cannot remain objective. denying their existence. heard and understood. bodies and minds. to experience what they are experiencing. for it is truly unuseful for us to become so associated with our child’s feelings that we take them on as our own. These may be professional counsellors or emotionally literate friends and family members. encouraging the child to act them out incongruently – all these things do considerable damage to their hearts. Whilst we operate a compulsory education system that holds young adults in schools. Reflective listening involves listening for the feeling being expressed beneath the words of someone’s statement and then acknowledging it by reflecting the meaning back to the speaker. making it far easier for them to handle the feelings they are struggling to deal with and express. we could put much more effort into correcting the ineffectiveness of previous generations of parenting by helping those about to become parents to heal their own emotional wounds. © Soulfodder – 06. one of the most powerful skills we can learn as a parent is a form of listening often referred to as reflective or active listening. Recognising that we have much to learn about emotions. Such a practical emotional education would stand them in much better stead than many of the academic subjects we currently expose them to. Emotions and Children Above all.
yet through this process he has learnt not to hold on to his hurt and crossness. and may need to have a guess. Whether we are right or wrong is not really relevant.01 .10.” Acknowledging and accepting our children’s feelings in all our interactions with them will help them to function far more usefully in their world.9. It also ensures that he knows he is being heard and taken seriously by me.” Parent: “You find maths hard. understanding and ability to work with their own feelings rather than be ruled by them. Child: “I won’t go to school today!” Parent: “You don’t want to go to school. Emotions and Children “You are really cross with me because I won’t ….” Child: “Not usually. We can offer our children no better grounding for the great adventure that is life. It will also help them to develop their awareness. 39 © Soulfodder – 06.” Child: “I hate school!” Parent: “There’s something you are afraid of at school today.” This reflecting of the feelings allows him a safe and acceptable way to vent his anger.” Child: “No! I just hate maths. We will not always know what our children are feeling. for our reflective listening will help the child express what is really going on underneath. It may take a few repetitions before he feels heard enough to calm down. but today we have a test and I’m afraid I’ll fail it.
deny them full opportunities to explore and experiment. Teenagers 10. It is hard for us to provide them with effective models. On the other we expose them to erotic and violent fantasies that contravene much of what we tell them. separating from their primary carers and experimenting with their emotions and sexuality with the support of emotionally and sexually mature adults. souls and bodies. In traditional societies at this stage the child has now become an adult. The years that follow a person’s sexual maturing are those in which he or she seeks to discover what it is like to live as an adult. They can develop the attitudes. we are less than open and honest with them about our own feelings. Young adults need to learn to care and love in an adult way. There are any number of individuals and a few communities that have opted to pursue a spiritual path without being restricted by either religion or society. what do we do? We put these young people together in institutions. Our “teenagers” need to live and work alongside living and working models of how to be and what to do in the adult world. Give young adults a place in the world alongside other adults and they will be more than adequately exposed to the lessons of life and effective socialisation within their community. There is another way to be that will help us regain our spirits and start moving again towards the evolution of human consciousness. we give them unclear guidance about what is acceptable social and sexual behaviour. preparation for adult life is complete and life alongside other adults now begins. If our societies are not yet ready to abandon the belief in schooling for teenagers. It is hard for them to develop self-responsibility in their personal lives with so little valuable guidance and consistency from older generations. focus them on their minds to the detriment of their hearts. keep them apart from the adult models they need. © Soulfodder – 06. We can choose love over fear. abilities and skills they need for themselves and are needed of them by their communities. because most of us never had them when we were young! Yet.40 10. Instead of which. and treat them as though they are still children. Instead we replace real models with the images and fantasies portrayed through film and television. At the same time.10. The only extraordinary thing about this is that they do not all rebel a lot more than they do at present. heart and spirit over technology. and help our teenagers find new ways to be in the world. emotional and sexual feelings and what is deemed “right” and “proper” by the world they are as yet denied access to. In this lies the root of many of the problems we face with young adults. there are many examples of effective living and good works around us. sexuality and morality. and involves the sexual maturation of the body. We can seek out such people and communities for the beneficial models they can provide. This has changed in those human societies where the emphasis is placed on intellectual schooling rather than on learning through living fully in the world. we could at least shift the emphasis away from full-time schooling and academic instruction towards a part-time education relevant to life. We could combine this with working alongside fullygrown adults in the many areas of life in which teenagers could both add value and increase their learning. This is the time of experimenting and exploring. Whilst we continue to deny these young people the full range of opportunities they need for their social and emotional maturing.01 . we will always have significant problems with disaffection. On the one hand. Instead we throw them together to share all the confusion of physical. testing and seeking. Teenagers The moment of transition from child to adult is quite clearly defined in biological terms. For many this physical maturation happens before they enter the “teen” years.
Yet we currently spend thousands of millions of pounds in keeping young people in institutions that meet neither their own nor society’s needs. are those of love. where the classroom is the community. Such activities would most suitably make a genuine contribution to the community. human and otherwise. Governments argue that such things are too expensive. educational success. emotional and spiritual guidance and the love and companionship of other adults including the elders of our communities. I can hear a distant cry for academic achievement. infirm and needy. participation and exploration. © Soulfodder – 06. It would not be beyond the bounds of our collective creativity to develop “life-schools” with a curriculum of love and care. rather than be set up as some form of “job creation programme” to keep young people off the streets. It would make great sense to involve them in working on the land. They would bring a realistic financial return to all those involved. supermarket chains and airlines that create their own money? Why could not local communities take on the role of creating currencies and wealth to benefit themselves and their future generations? We can achieve it all if we approach it with love rather than with fear. It would not be wise to take hordes of young people out of schools and stick them in lifeless factories where none of these lessons could be learnt. souls and bodies more than their minds. prior to young people reaching positions of responsibility in society. in providing service to the aged. care and compassion. A system of local life education could be partly funded through local exchange trading systems or other locally based alternative currency models on the increase all around the world. preparing for higher-level education.10.01 . All we have done is to increase the competition and shift the goalposts. The activities of all these potentially productive people can generate huge flows of energy and value in and around their local communities. We can do something practical for and with the large group of disaffected young people currently lost in the teen years. whilst at the other we have all but lost the vocational development for those who genuinely want to work with their hearts. Soon not even one doctorate will be enough to secure employment. Explore some of the more radical attempts at secondary education around the world. let alone an undergraduate degree.10. In chasing academic qualifications. growing and education as much as possible within the communities where these take place. Why should it be only the banks. and in serving their local communities through tending communal spaces and enhancing the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of their environment. we are not serving society or ourselves. of nature and of the elders. and a sense of reverence for the wisdom of the land. a sense of oneness with all life. etc. and engage young people in working alongside committed and enthusiastic adults lovingly engaged both in service to their communities and the guiding of their younger colleagues. At one end of the scale the academic route isn’t working. This would keep the energy generated through living. with those few who want to go to university achieving the required academic qualifications in months rather than years. and where those people living and working in that community have some degree of involvement in guiding and nurturing the young. We can help them go through the initiation into adult life by providing them with meaningful work. We can find schools that have been based on practical activities and education for all. Teenagers Bear in mind that the most crucial lessons to reinforce. relevant training. 41 We have examples all around us of people who manage to combine real-life education with academic achievement for those who want it.
we can work with our teenagers to help counteract the negativity and despondency so many of them feel. perhaps what they discover might suit us better too! © Soulfodder – 06. teenagers will find it hard to break out of the ruts we have dug for them. To be able to make a start. nature. we will find effective ways to better provide opportunities for teenagers and for the rest of the population as well. With our loving help and support. Who knows. If we take a holistic approach to the concept of initiation into adult life. And it is relatively easy to solve. We can help them to see how they can change their thinking patterns and beliefs about the world that we have unwittingly instilled in them and start to create something radically different in their lives. much could be achieved. Teenagers The “problem” of the teenage generation is one of our own making. Replace the fear with the love of life. To be able to make a start as parents.01 . as a society we need to be willing to abandon the fear that currently drives us to keep young people in schools rather than in the community where they belong. We can acknowledge their experience and their feelings. We can stop trying to convince them that the old ways are the right ways and work along side them to come up with news ways for them to view the world and their futures. On their own. We can help them to learn about freedom of choice and personal responsibility on a spiritual level. What they need from us is the wisdom to accept that our ways have not so far worked and the willingness to help them think through and discover new ways for themselves. Hopefully they still have the creativity that we tend to lack.10.42 10. ourselves and each other.
To do this effectively. rules and controls will continue to be important. In an ideal world.11. The children in question may want to watch all the programmes that their friends watch. This might well affect the number and types of rules we come up with. If we had the level of emotional and spiritual awareness now to fully live a life of love rather than fear. The parents may want them to be home at 10pm. Rules and controls are necessary because we have not yet learnt to operate with total unconditional love. Rules and Controls Living the lives that we do in our modern industrialised societies. we could bring up our children to be sufficiently tuned into their own needs and those of others that they could not act against the interests of all. What they need perhaps is to be credible in the eyes of their mates. While fear continues to guide us through our human existence lacking in spiritual awareness and self-acceptance.10. Where we feel that we need a set of rules in order to protect our children and the quality of our family life. I said in an earlier chapter that the word “no” is sufficiently important to be used only when absolutely necessary. Choose to set the absolute minimum number of rules and make them sufficiently important to be easy to accept and follow. To give you some examples of what this means consider the following: A teenager may want to stay out late at a party rather than come home at the appointed hour. rules and controls are necessary in the family. just as too many rules in the community deplete individuals’ abilities to take responsibility for themselves and others. and then the rules and controls will quite naturally fall away. just as they are in the community at large. Before we do so.01 . it would be wise to start by taking a good deal of time to decide how far the rules we choose stem from a loving or a fearful place. rules would not be required at all: controls would exist within the individuals and so would not have to be imposed externally. Rules and Control 43 11. we will need to differentiate between needs and wants. so needing fewer rules and controls imposed by us. as well as how we establish and maintain them and deal with any transgressions. Then. What they need may be to feel they belong in their peer group. so do too many rules within the family. Parents may want their children to watch less television. And. rules and controls would not have to be imposed. Part of beginning to help the young to learn to live with love instead of fear would be to encourage them to become self-controlling. The attitudes and ways of being need to shift so that they are governed by love rather than fear. not to mention the way we will police them. The same can be said of rules. Are our rules designed to encourage a loving atmosphere of self-responsibility wherein young people are likely to agree their own sets of controls? Or are they designed to break the will of the children in our care and socialise them into fearful humans with little or no spiritual awareness? Controls that stem from the heart and soul will always be infinitely more effective at maintaining social order than those that stem from the mind alone. then we can impose them. To remove them in the hope that this would lead to a change in attitudes and ways of being would be foolish in the extreme. © Soulfodder – 06. and ask again how far that too comes from a loving rather than a fearful attitude to life. What they need is perhaps to feel that they are protecting them from violent and fearful influences. Next we can examine how we intend to impose them or have already done so. what they need may be to know that their child will be safe.
if we are too fearful as yet to let them go and accept that they have their own lives to lead. resisting the temptation to abuse our power over others. if they do so from a position of love rather than fear. I introduce one way of working with these matters in the next chapter. If our motivation is truly loving and we act in a loving way. it is possible for us and our children of all ages to start to develop solutions for living together that meet all the needs in the family without necessarily satisfying all the wants. “Isn’t there a place for the firm imposition of nonnegotiable rules? What about tough love”? Until love becomes the norm rather than fear. we will minimise the negative effects of their imposition. shocking the “victim” into an altered state of being. If we can choose and implement these rules with as much love and awareness as possible. If the answer is no. As to “tough love” – let us beware the risk of acting with great power from a fear base and convincing ourselves that we are doing it only out of love for our children. Yet I hear people asking. and its effect on our children will also be fearful not loving.10. the chances are that our way of doing it will be fearful not loving. and so brings about the transformation of the societies in which we live.01 . clean actions can be infinitely loving. There is an important place for firmness in the loving relationship. Sometimes to be loving we have to act with the compassion of the owl that strikes cleanly and silently in the darkness. soul. But if what lies behind our use of power is fear. mind and body. then we have more work to do on our ability to love ourselves and heal our separation from the spiritual and from God. There are ways for children to remain safe and stay out late. There are ways for children to be credible in the eyes of their peers and not expose themselves to violent and fearful influences. By looking beneath the presenting want and working with the underlying need. We may be. What we are talking about is self-regulation through mutual caring rather than autocratic imposition. there will be a legitimate place for the imposition of some rules and controls for the protection of life and limb. Rules and Control Ultimately a significant question will be: do we love our children and teenagers enough to help them develop the self-responsibility rooted in self-love and compassion for all life that will lead them to a place where our rules become unnecessary? If we can truly answer yes to this question at the levels of heart.44 11. then we will be able to work with them to find the most effective ways to help them grow. There are ways for parents and children to all get their needs met and care for each other. then firm. © Soulfodder – 06.
As we said in the Chapter 9. As a parent I would like it to be possible for all the family to get what they want.10. So. The secret is in the piece mentioned in the last chapter about needs and wants. Step One We often come to a place where negotiation is required when emotions are running high. Expressing our feelings and having them heard and acknowledged by another person is the single most powerful way of reducing their effect on us. the first step is to help everyone involved calm down: upset people don’t think straight and so can’t work anything out easily! When we are upset our emotions get in the way – they flood us out. If we want to establish a win-win style of self-responsible control in our families. It is seldom possible for everyone to get everything they want. we could do with learning the art of effective negotiation. do what they choose and not feel as though they are missing out. Yet it is frequently possible for everyone to get what they need. we need to identify the needs underlying the wants we all have. If this happens. Let us follow the example mentioned above:Teenager Parent Teenager Parent Teenager I need to stay out until 11.30pm What will staying out until 11. All sides in any dispute have to understand the difference between needs and wants and then use their creativity to find mutually acceptable ways to get as many needs met as possible. You can find books on the art of negotiation through local libraries. It involves 7 steps:- Step Two Now that we are all calm enough to work things through. Negotiating Win-Win Agreements Arguments in families do not only happen over rules and controls. Negotiating Win-Win Agreements 45 12. A useful question here is “what will …….01 . There are many times when there seem to be many conflicting demands among family members. Parent Teenager Parent Step Two is clarifying the underlying needs of all sides to the disagreement. © Soulfodder – 06. The way to unflood someone is to help him or her vent his or her feelings. I don’t want to be seen as the sissy who has to go home early It feels important that you aren’t the odd one out? I want to be part of the gang Sounds like your real need is to feel part of the peer group. do for you/give you?” Again we can use reflective listening to help clarify the less obvious meanings and issues that may be wrapped up in our children’s desires to do or have things we don’t feel good about. I offer here a simple model that I have taught for many years to parents and children with much success.12. and there are ways we can help make sure it happens as much of the time as possible. the way to do this is through acknowledging and reflecting the feelings. It won’t always work out of course. Step One is listening to the feelings and help people unflood.30pm do for you? I won’t have to leave before everyone else You’re concerned about having to leave before the others? Yeah.
Reviewing the outcome of the negotiation is critical. Step Seven is reviewing. Step Six is implementing. Step Three is brainstorming. Write down all the ideas anyone can come up with. old or young needs to understand what they will be doing or getting. but that everyone would be prepared to accept it as the one most likely to meet everyone’s needs. Step Four is evaluating. however large or small.10. Instead. Reviewing is not just for when things don’t work. If there aren’t any that everyone can agree on. however wacky. Everyone. There will be some that everyone agrees won’t work so we can cross them off straight away. It might be that a little more brainstorming could find a variation on them that would work for all. It is also good to do it when they do work. Being acceptable does not necessarily mean that the chosen idea is everyone’s favourite. we need to continue the discussion to make sure we are clear how we will put this idea into practice and what it will mean. Step Five is choosing © Soulfodder – 06. that might provide a solution. go back to the beginning and work on the underlying needs so that you can brainstorm afresh and come up with a more effective answer. At this point it doesn’t matter if you think it won’t work. The aim of the game is to encourage creativity and innovation and there is nothing that kills creativity quicker than people judging the first flow of ideas. There will be one or two at least that everyone could agree on so we highlight these ones. we go back to doing more brainstorming. There will be ones that some like but others don’t. Resist any temptation to say the process doesn’t work and go back to old ways of laying down the law. we need to evaluate the list of possible solutions. If members of the family do not stick to the agreement it is because either they didn’t fully understand what was meant by it or because it didn’t meet their needs. the rule is that anything goes.01 . Negotiating Win-Win Agreements Step Three Having figured out what the disagreement is really about and who needs what. Step Seven At some point down the line we need to review. In brainstorming. Then we can celebrate our new found ability to work things out together and share the increased amount of love and good feelings that finding win-win ways to live together can bring us all. Step Four Once brainstorming is complete. not making any decisions until we have been through the entire list. we can start to think of new ways to get our needs met. Step Five Now we should be ready to choose one from among those that are acceptable to everyone. These we can put a question mark beside and come back to again later if necessary. A fun way to do this is to use brainstorming.46 12. We also need to build into this step an agreement as to when and how we will check up on whether our agreed solution is working. Step Six Having agreed on one idea.
unless encouraged. sights. if at all. We are unable to pursue the soul purpose that brought us here in the first place. To counteract this influence. and help the child develop on the soul level. this is a common experience of many children whose connection to the realms of spirit is denied by the adults who care for them. In this Chapter we will cover the specific element of spiritual education. Spiritual Education Education is most useful if it is a holistic process. the natural world. even from before birth – learning about how to be in the world and about what is considered right and wrong. We can do this in a variety of ways. so risking a degree of stagnation in the evolution of our overall spiritual consciousness. Other aspects of the OverSoul of which I am a part may be incarnated in a variety of life forms at the same time. smell and © Soulfodder – 06. For too many of us. If we are to encourage such connections. I remember my second son as a small child twenty years ago talking about seeing people and things that weren't there as far as we were concerned. we miss out and our soul misses out. as he stopped talking about them from about that time on. As a result. the soul features little. In reality it is whether we want it to be or not. and picked up immediately on positive and negative energy in places. believing and feeling and of physical shape.13.10. many of them will give signs of having some degree of energetic and spiritual experience and awareness. Long before the body was conceived and long after it has returned to the ground. God exists in nature all around us. we would best be both positive about their experiences and proactive in the child’s spiritual education. The soul is in actuality far greater than that aspect of it that is incarnated in this body here and now. we can help our children enhance the natural connection they bring with them. Even if we have currently lost our ability to commune with the spiritual elements of life. Patterns of thinking. in our human lives. No doubt when he first went to school he was told not to imagine things.01 . we are concerned with the education of the human in all things spiritual so that the soul is as involved as possible in the physical life we are leading now. Whatever we do. slowly weakening with time. we can help our children retain theirs. as well as living aspects of life in the spiritual realms. form and doing are set up as a direct result of the unconscious education of the child by those caring for him or her. As children grow and become more communicative. it is increasingly important that we approach the holistic education of children and young people with much greater conscious awareness. the beauty of the sounds. in the heart. a child learns constantly as he or she grows. We exist in this life right now as the aspect of our soul that chose to be incarnated in this body. As a starting place. This process would be very much more effective if it were not so strongly affected by the fear-thoughts and fearful culture that exist around the majority of children. Any open-hearted and open-spirited parent is likely to be aware of the spiritual nature of their child in the first few months after birth. and understanding of. Right now. our spiritual lives have existed and will continue to exist. This learning takes place in the mind. In the next we will consider education more generally. The glory of the seasons. Even if we have lost our connection to God through our own lack of spiritual education. rather than human beings some of whom may at some point have a spiritual experience. strongest at the start and. That which is incarnated in me now is part of a larger OverSoul. Spiritual Education 47 13. remember that we are all spiritual beings having a human existence. in the body and in the soul. The connection to soul is still strong during the early years of a child's life. Unfortunately. He could tell how someone was feeling by his or her colour. Crucial in the process is helping our children grow up with a connection to. the birth of new life every spring.
as some people often refer to the elemental spiritual beings who exist so widely on planet Earth yet are denied by all “sound. Help them to be open to the beings that choose to be their spiritual helpers. what they think or believe. Remember that in God’s eyes there is no right or wrong. It means providing them with a model of how we believe they could most usefully behave. We can also reinforce rather than deny their experience in this area of life. Too many of us judge and condemn ourselves and each other all the time. what they do. so that they can determine for themselves what they think is right and wrong. all the birds and insects and animals. In this whole process. Instead of rationalising what they are experiencing. Truly loving behaviour works. We could usefully avoid the mistakes that our religions make in portraying God as judgmental. The love that children naturally feel for small furry animals. this does not mean allowing them to get away with all kinds of behaviour that is not useful in the loving order of life. When they talk to us about what most adults would consider imaginary experiences. and for the beauty of the natural cycle of life.01 . The only “Day of Judgment” is in the minds of humanity. A conscious process on our part of helping them develop an awareness of the spirit realms is another important element of spiritual education. helps to keep their hearts open so that they experience love flowing through them from God as well as from us. Let us treat our children with love at all times and resist the temptation to control them with fear. Encourage them to be aware that the love they feel in their hearts for all that touches them is part of the Love of God that is the life-spring of the universe. we can encourage them to feel safe in God’s presence in all things.48 13. This is best done not at the level of mind. we can leave their young minds to play with making what sense of it they need to – which is usually very little – and watch as they draw spiritual and emotional sustenance from realms we may not remember experiencing when we were a child. they just are. will help keep open not just their souls but also their hearts. Spiritual Education understanding that all life is connected. We can help them to understand and appreciate that God is always beside them and that they can draw on God for help and sustenance whenever they feel fearful or concerned. As we said in the chapter on Rules and Controls.10. Helping our children to develop a reverence and love for all that grows. and so create hell on earth even though it does not exist as such in the spiritual realms. we can engage with them fully. Above all. There are actions that work and ones that don't in our individual and collective journeying towards fulfilling the purpose of Life in the universe. We can take a lead from some of the "native" cultures of the world that traditionally educated their children to understand that the animals and birds. trees and plants were all their brothers and sisters. textures of the living world are all aspects of God’s presence in our lives. not in the reality of God. rational people”. but at the level of heart and soul. and accepting them unconditionally as they are. Help them to build connections to the angels that come amongst us and the "little people". We can teach our children to discriminate between effective and ineffective actions. For God loves all living beings regardless of who they are. They can do this simply by coming to an understanding of the full difference between love and fear. These wondrous little beings are still more closely connected to God at birth than most adults will ever experience. fearful behaviour does not. Remember that a large part of the holistic education process is about building an understanding that love is all there is. we can help them to understand that we are all one with each other and with all life on the planet. The actions that work are not "right" any more than those that don't work are "wrong". We can help them to be open to communicating with these siblings of the natural world so that they develop the © Soulfodder – 06.
we need the teaching. We can get all this without the help of organised religion by opening our hearts and souls to God and to the many helpers of the spiritual realms crowding around the planet at this critical time. Instead. yet in so being they have largely lost their spiritual connections. 49 Spiritual education is fundamentally more about being than doing. There are many deeply spiritual people who are members of the various churches around the globe. As we have said elsewhere. They can introduce us to a felt experience of other spiritual life forms that do not incarnate on our planet but are nevertheless here with us. playing or digging in the garden if we are fortunate enough to have one. wiser. we can remember that education is a holistic process that we all go through all the time. One of the most effective tools we can use is the practice of reverence and ritual. At this stage in the evolution of our planet and its life forms. We can revive the reverence for life through rediscovering these older. whether it is preparing a meal. the movements of the sun and the moon. the harvest. and the joy in our hearts and the beauty than surrounds us. They have been effective instruments of social control through the ages. it is useful to avoid over-stimulating the intellect in the first seven years or so of a child's life. not the institutionalised messenger. Ritual allows us to cultivate a sense of reverence for the natural world. substituting for this a belief in the rightness of their particular churches and their doctrines. In it we can combine the spiritual with the emotional. Most. for the living planet on which we walk every day. though not all. we can invent and make use of ritual. walking in the park. for the people we meet. too unloving. having children and helping them to develop their own spiritual understanding is a wonderful opportunity to re-educate ourselves. it will be of far greater practical value for people to develop their own sense of the spiritual in all life and directly heal their sense of separation from God. If we open our hearts and our minds we will find people and books that we have either never noticed before or have dismissed as wacky or irreligious. For those of us who have had no spiritual basis to our lives to date. feeling and doing that are loving rather than fearful. Whatever we are doing. We can use storytelling to introduce the spiritual dimensions of life through the power of myth and the imagination. Right now we need the message. We can allow them to be our teachers as well as taking the teaching role when appropriate. They can help us open our hearts and souls to the spiritual reality of life on earth. wind and rain. Finally. They developed at points in the calendar to fit in with the far older celebrations and rituals of the land. the physical and the intellectual. What role does religion play in all of this? The majority of the institutional religions in the world are not serving the spiritual evolution of humanity. we can find ways to introduce the © Soulfodder – 06. for the essence of life in all things and for God’s love which connects us all together. appreciations of the planetary cycle of love and life. for the elements that make life possible. of our religions are too enslaved by fear. and yet we can usefully educate the being side through effective doing.13. for the connections we have to other people and other life forms. And there are many people who have lost altogether their personal awareness of what it means to be deeply spiritual. the sun. Let us remember to focus on unconditional love and to avoid the many myths that exist in our various cultures that have evolved using fear to control and dominate the spirit.01 . There is much spiritual wisdom around us. Spiritual Education even as we work with them to develop ways of thinking. Almost all our religious festivals have their roots in ancient wisdom. We can regularly give thanks in a ceremonial way for life and all its bounty. not the school with its hierarchies and power games.10. to be of great value in the urgent task of re-awakening the spirit in humanity.
Spiritual Education spiritual without turning it into a mental activity. © Soulfodder – 06. Above all. who is after all closer to spirit that we are.50 13. This may involve following the natural lead of the child.01 .10. let us open ourselves to God and trust the greater process of the Universe that is unfolding in our lives right now.
Children need help to become comfortable with the physical reality they experience in a way that recognises their continued connection to the Divine and the realms of spirit. can add enormously to the value of the educational experience. © Soulfodder – 06. Education and Schooling From the universal perspective. yet readily ignore it in our heads. There is a place for both as children. It is not enough to consider only some aspects of development of the child. which is often discounted by parents as pure imagination. he or she is still very close to the spiritual realms. Such subject matter requires a proactive process of discovery and learning. the role of guide is given to the elders in the community rather than to "professional teachers". They can maintain their acceptance and understanding of the spiritual through connection with the natural world. through ritual and through an acceptance of their own spiritual experience. education is a reactive response to life. new awareness. It is happening all around us all the time. To promote the education of the young in our care and control. There are also many things that it will be useful to know about that we will not discover solely by living life to the full and reacting to what happens around us: history.01 . There is little about being locked up in a so-called educational establishment that is conducive to education. Teachers often struggle to provide the guidance needed by large groups of children forced to be in their care for long periods. We can allow them to experiment with their physicality and their emotions long before we start introducing them to the world of the intellect. we would be wise to start taking a much more holistic approach. Education is a life-long process that starts in the womb and ends as we breathe our last breath and pass back to the realm of spirit. Most of us know this in our hearts.10. Education and Schooling 51 14. Let us talk first about education. During the first years of a child's life. we need models of development that fully recognise and deal with the emotional. operating with love and compassion. every experience a child has. Education is something we experience continually in every area of life. In this sense of the word. In highly evolved societies. physical. education and schooling are an extension of the subject of raising versus guiding children that we covered in Chapter Four. they will develop a solid connection with life on earth. Schooling falls into the raising camp whilst education falls into that of guiding. Education isn't something we do to some people and not others. to name a few. philosophy and the inner workings of the human psyche. Every move a baby makes. a way of learning by reaction to what goes on around us and indeed largely by re-activating what we already know. young people and indeed adults go about their task of growing and maturing. we will usually find it easier and more beneficial if we are helped and guided by someone a step or two further along the road. Learning to be in the body. Whether we are learning by daily experience or actively seeking out new knowledge. We can encourage our children in any natural contact they have with the spirits of nature. a reaching out for new understanding. every thought that goes through a teenager's head has an educative effect. and to experience the full range of human emotions. If we can help them to do this at the same time as grounding their spirituality on this planet. is the task of the child in the first seven to twelve years of life. something some people receive and others miss out on. Effective guides. A fundamental mistake we have come to make in our schooling process is to ignore these developmental stages and force children to tackle educational tasks they are not ready for. The human being goes through certain developmental stages in growing from a newborn physical incarnation of a spiritual life form to a fully-grown specimen of manhood or womanhood. knowledge and skill.14. intellectual and spiritual development as an integrated whole.
which we consider education. cloth and all the normal household contents are far superior in encouraging creative play than most of what can be bought in a toyshop. Education and Schooling front of television for hours on end or supply them with video games and toys that only deprive them of their creativity and instil in them adult values. It is not a mistake that the places where we the Devas and fairies as well as angels and spiritual helpers who are here to help us in these trying times. while the playing of games that tap into the imagination and allow children to work things through in their own minds can be very beneficial. exploring and experimenting. Children are powerfully nurtured by spending time out of doors. and activities better suited to the next stage in their development. Such activities require an element of technical knowledge. We have time-honoured ways of helping children to appreciate the world around them and develop a simple understanding of life that requires little intellectual analysis. paper.52 14. we school a young person in the fundamentals of using all sorts of tools. puzzles. of our current generation of children. schooling is akin to instruction or training and separate from the process of education. Small children need very little to keep them focused on learning. run and jump in a particular style. The confusion occurs because we have developed a system of schooling. healthy child. Such readiness does not come until they have developed their full physicality and learnt to live fully in the complete range of human emotions. We school a horse to walk. not to mention the minds. On some level. we would choose to stop doing it now. which has to be learnt before the individual can go on to fully educate himself or herself in the use of the car or tools for woodworking. I mean passing on to someone a particular set of behaviours or skills that will be of value to him or her in the life they are to lead. animals and plants. when little of it really is. glue. For most children. From this perspective. They do not need to be surrounded by complicated action toys. We school an adult in how to drive a car. containers. playing with colours and shapes. If we could fully appreciate the damage this approach does to the hearts and souls. to use computers or other machines or understand the technical world of the adult until they are ready to join that world. angels and fairies. And it is best if this is all done under the watchful eye of mature and wise people who will shower them with unconditional love and slowly and gently guide them in their activities and behaviour without trying to force them into moulds. digging in the soil. Children have no need to learn to read or write. cooking or anything else. Storytelling is perhaps the most universal way. It is potentially harmful to the rounded development of our children to sit them in © Soulfodder – 06. Activities and toys that detract from the child's ability to use his or her own imagination are particularly damaging to the natural development of a whole. There are some practical aspects of a child's life that we also can usefully school them in. Let us now turn to the subject of schooling. tape. this transition from incarnating child to small adult is not complete until somewhere between the ages of nine and twelve. Each child will take his or her own time and trying to force them can cause untold problems.10. such readiness never comes if these two tasks are not also completed with full conscious awareness of their spirituality. string.01 . games. By this term. Have you noticed the way many children given a shiny new toy will often soon revert to playing with the box it came in? Cardboard. stretching their imagination and creativity. The adult values behind mass media entertainment and consumer electronics are themselves highly suspect in their lack of potential to help them fulfil their soul purpose in life. We might even advocate the use of the term schooling for children in much the same way as we use it with animals. listening with wonder to stories and learning to invent their own. Be wary of over-filling the early years with stimulation and distraction.
All is not lost. If we made schools voluntary rather than compulsory. It would be possible to do away with schools completely. schools would be unnecessary because children would learn alongside the significant adults in their © Soulfodder – 06. Added to this now is the fear that an unschooled mass in the world poses a potential threat to the social and economic order we have created. That in turn could help us all to progress in achieving our soul purposes. Our determination to school children throughout the world has in the past been driven by the fear that an unschooled workforce will not be able to satisfy the demands of growth. emotional and social nature of life on the planet. When I took my five year old out of school in 1979 in England it was estimated that there were perhaps ten thousand children being educated at home. then they would have to offer a form of education that would excite children and entice them in. Without socialisation in the ways of consuming and developing. An academic study reported in the UK’s Guardian newspaper in August 2000 showed that home-educated children performed better on every possible test than children of the same ages in even the best schools.000. There are intermediate stages in that process. most connected to the world in which they live and by far happier. each individual parent willingly sending their child to school believes that they are doing so for the good of the child's future. intellectual understanding and how to communicate on paper.or herself not as an organ of socialisation and control so much as a saviour from illiteracy and ignorance. Schools have become so important in the world partly because we find it too easy to see only parts of a system at a time. but it is not practical for everyone. Another intermediate step away from current schooling patterns is one suggested provocatively for years by a few radical educationalists in the UK. Schooling is not working well in increasing numbers of societies. 20 years later. Yet some of the most illiterate and "ignorant" people in the 53 world are those closest to Spirit. learning. Most highly evolved societies do not segregate their children away in schools. that number has increased to nearer 100. We believe we see a need to teach children the rudiments of social behaviour.14. It seems that across most of the planet. Its dysfunction is precisely what provides us now with the opportunity to work towards education in a holistic form. It will take a lot to convince everyone to do away with schools as we know them. There is almost nothing that has to be taught that cannot be taught as part of a wider process of growing. Home education is an increasingly viable option for many parents. abandoning the fear that our children will miss out by not going to school. and we see these things in virtual isolation from the spiritual.10. more loving and less fearful than most of us in the "civilised" world today. and then respond to what we see with fear and distrust rather than love and trust. Education and Schooling send our children to be educated are called schools. We then react to the need we believe we see in a controlling and deterministic way that is both driven by fear and engenders fear in those involved. Just as each individual teacher in those schools sees him. rather than providing them with schooling that is largely irrelevant to life and fails to hold their attention.01 . If we all start to operate with love rather than fear. Of course. Let us not underestimate the power of the popular vote. Home education is on the increase all around the developed world. the unschooled masses could shift from ineffectively contributing to the global race for growth to becoming a positive force for resistance and so a threat to that global race. and living life to the full. attendance at school is for the purpose of instruction and socialisation. whereas education is left largely to chance. and if we decide to keep them at home in their millions. the school system would change quite rapidly! Under ideal conditions.
families. There may well be alternative establishments. © Soulfodder – 06. In practice. While it is not yet possible for parents and grandparents to guide children through their early years of education at home and in the community. so that small children can learn who and what they are as well as how to behave in the world. Choosing love rather than fear in any moment is not about suppressing or denying the natural fear that will always exist. it is important to allow the free expression even of feelings that may appear to be fearful in the moment. that the time has come to be the masters and mistresses of our own spiritual destiny.01 . it would be possible to develop ways of gathering children together in institutions that would greatly reduce the damage done in current nurseries and schools. then revolution is what is needed now before it is too late. we could more valuably respect their natural inclination for individuality and possessiveness. we could usefully avoid teaching any intellectually demanding subjects. What are needed are changes to current approaches: We could do with a far greater number of adults available to guide children through their daily learning activities. If we wish to ensure that we can continue to live on planet Earth for the foreseeable future. It would place personal and collective spiritual development ahead of schooling children to become productive. small schools and other forms near you that might be much more open to a holistic education than the current mainstream. tribes and communities. In the first seven or eight years. As already stated. What is needed is a decision by thousands of millions of people that enough is enough. We can concentrate on helping them to learn ways of being together with other children and adults that are co-operative and loving rather than fearful and antagonistic. teachers would better be chosen for their maturity and wisdom than their technical or intellectual competence. Children forced to share before they are ready can experience all sorts of emotional problems. They would learn by apprenticeship and through the gentle loving guidance of all the people and all the non-human life forms in their local environment. caring for animals and plants. At the same time. Instead of schools with a class ratio of one to thirty or more.54 14. Exploring what is available could turn up many surprises. singing. and replaced by painting. even though it could do with evolving in the light of present needs rather than holding on too rigidly to traditional practices. We can also seek to do as much as possible to make a connection between home and school. We are talking here about a real revolution in our educational system. storytelling. educational institutions should at least ensure that there is as small a gap as possible between the home experience and that at school. It is about learning to accept and love the fear that we feel and consciously choose love as the controlling factor and motivation in our lives. and learning reverence for all things natural and each other. creative play. There are attempts to do this going on around us all the time. music. We need to encourage free expression of the human heart and spirit. Reading and writing could usefully be removed from the curriculum altogether. the worldwide movement of Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens and Schools comes about the closest to avoiding some of the damaging aspects of conventional schooling. consuming members of a soulless society intent on unsustainable growth that is taking us nowhere frighteningly fast. A revolution that would bring the spiritual reality of human existence onto centre stage. Education and Schooling Instead of forcing them into competitive ways of behaving. we would be wise to have children being educated in the community with ratios of adults to children more like one to three or four.10.
We can tell young people about the potential joy and wonder of real lovemaking. Too many young people have to fumble around to find loving ways to pleasure each other. There are still many groups who advocate no sex outside marriage. We can help them to fully grasp the concept of physical pleasure and how to make it as intense and enjoyable as possible. Once. so commonly practised is subject to so many taboos. or restricting it to attempts to train young people in birth control. the total amount of love in their relationship and so in the world is increased. and so were free to use their sexuality to tap into the Goddess. if sex in the human was just about making babies I am convinced that God would not have given woman the ability to refocus her sexual energy once a month through the menstrual cycle. soul and body.10.15. However. © Soulfodder – 06.01 . This makes education about sex in its full beauty a priority. The negative images of current sexual practice far outweigh the positive and loving images and insights that we could be portraying. This will be a problem for some people in some parts of the world. I know that in some countries teachers have been heavily criticised for being “too open” with young people in their sex education. to connect directly with God. emotional and spiritual aspects of lovemaking sometimes evades people their whole lives. and find out who is able and willing to tell of their joyful and loving experiences. twice or three times a year would have been more appropriate. Learning the finer points of the erotic. Sex and Sex Education 55 15. This started to decline with the switch from a matriarchal. evocative literature and the use of film and video to help open up young people’s understanding of what sex is all about and how much more it can be than just copulating. We could redress the balance through open discussion. omnipotent God. sexual inhibitions need to be undone. this alone might make people other than parents reluctant to involve themselves in the educational process lest they be condemned by those who cannot appreciate either the beauty or the importance of love making. We cannot be reminded too often about the power of spiritual love coursing between two people in the act of sexual intercourse. It does seem incredible that such a powerful and joyful act. Yet. When a man and a woman freely and lovingly engage in the energetic process of sexual excitement and its culmination in the union of heart. sex education need not be carried out only by the parents. the process of learning about sex is pretty much left to chance. After all. even though in many parts of the world it is hard to hold on to our virginity long enough to get married! And this all raises again the issue of birth control and abortion. It may be that if we cannot talk to our children about sex we can at least discuss it with some of our close friends. Unfortunately. We can make them aware that it can be a deeply emotional and spiritual experience. we could valuably find it in ourselves to overcome our inhibitions and engage our offspring in dialogue about sex. For thousands of years women knew the secrets of becoming pregnant and avoiding pregnancy. Sex and Sex Education I write at greater length on spiritual sex and lovemaking in my text on Marriage. if young people are to learn from the experience of their elders. love-based society to a patriarchal fear-based one in which men sought to take over the connection with the Divine by inventing a vengeful. Of course opening up the spiritual side of sex raises the issue of sexual practice among young people. largely because of past sexual repression. We are dangerously free with models of sexual acts that stem from fear and violence. Rather than avoiding the issue of sex education.
The freedom to use the sexual act as an act of loving and spiritual connection between two people. I © Soulfodder – 06. we can help the young to celebrate their humanness as much through their sexuality as through other activities. Instead. I am not advocating a sudden switch to the kind of free love scenario that results in physical promiscuity. can be a valuable tool in the spiritual transformation of the planet. Provided we take a spiritual approach. Above all. and being only a human being occasionally having a spiritual experience. It can open them up to a deeper understanding of care and compassion. any more than it is for young women to boast about how many men they have successfully seduced. that allows for lovemaking without the burden of too many babies. The process of implementing such radical changes in our attitudes to and practice of sex will require great wisdom and maturity.56 15. As a disease it feeds on the fear that is prevalent in society at this time. spreading the lovemaking around will create deeper bonds between people in wider groups than nuclear families and can only help to increase the cohesion in communities.01 . organise. Don’t let us be held back by the social mores that arose in the so-called Dark Ages of western history. and above all with great love. as well as in the home. were it possible. Through the conscious act of sexual loving they will come most easily to appreciate the difference between a spiritual being having a human existence. Parents would not be wise to encourage their children to “sleep around” as some people put it. These aspects of sex as a purely physical act do little for the parties concerned or the community in which they live. The art of lovemaking is a disciplined and mature activity that deserves to be taken seriously as well as being played with. It is not particularly useful in community building for macho young men to be able to boast about the young women they have bedded. We have made it again to the stage in evolution that we so enjoyed as a species in older. I can hear someone asking “What about the possible negative physical consequences of all this loving. We can find ways around the short-term risks to the individual in order to generate the social love energy that is required to counteract and eventually eradicate such ailments of the collective human spirit. It is unfortunate that some of the more technological methods of birth control have much worse physical side effects than the older natural – and just as effective – ways now lost to the majority. How different it would be if people could remember the great bonds they have built with other people in their communities through the deep care. It is through the act of spiritual.10. and to generate more love in the world. the more we open ourselves as a species to diseases of this kind. in the form of Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases?” In the short term these do present us with continued risks. each other and God. Quite the contrary. wiser times. legislate and create out of fear. and joy of spiritual intimacy experienced with others whom they can now count as their friends and loved ones. Sex and Sex Education would advocate the subject as one of the most important for educational curriculum in schools. The more fearful we become and the more we act. Teaching them about sex as a spiritual act can help them to develop great reverence and respect for themselves. I am also not suggesting that sex should only be practised in long-term relationships. Let us use it wisely. to communities and society as a whole. emotional and physical union with another in lovemaking that they can most easily come to understand what it means to be one with another and with God. shared passion. We can encourage its wise and loving use by young people as well as adults of all ages. It can only ultimately be conquered by the application of love to individual relationships. Aids is a classic fear disease. we must not let such diseases stand in the way of acting with love. So much so that.
we can most valuably focus on what the individuals involved need to learn from such a choice. If abortion is necessary. We cannot end a human life without that person’s soul agreement. 57 © Soulfodder – 06. And it is never appropriate to rule out any path. Sex and Sex Education And abortion? Abortion should seldom be necessary if sex education is effective and we rediscover some of the older wisdom about birth control. Some souls choose to incarnate knowing that their purpose in this life is to heal the emotional state of the mother and/or father through giving their human life to right a mistake or provide a lesson. rather than condemning them for the way they have unconsciously chosen to experience the lesson.01 .10.15. Every death is chosen.
Strong. fear of other people’s opinions and judgments. Separation and Divorce Much emotional pain and suffering accompanies the break-up of families in the modern world. In the meantime. there is much that we can do individually and communally to ease the burden of so many people right now. The problem often lies in the fact that the love that binds two married or cohabiting people is not truly unconditional. In highly evolved societies. nurturing and educating future generations is taken on by the community as a whole. It is inappropriate to see separation and divorce as intrinsically bad. constantly fighting to remain the same against all the forces of nature. instead of celebrating the signs of growth. How much better it would be if the two people could celebrate each other’s growth and help each other to move forward. They are products of an unuseful way to look at life partnerships in the first place and the impractical way of caring for children that has developed in cultures based on the nuclear family. This leads to holding on more tightly and trying to restrict the growth that appears to be causing the problem. We can celebrate it together. The strain generated by separation and divorce owes most of its causes to fear: fear of financial hardship. even if in different directions. learn and support where we can’t immediately help. As one starts to grow faster than the other. © Soulfodder – 06.01 . We deny this too much of the time. It is not useful for us to assume that marriage is a state blessed by Spirit and meant automatically to be life-long. they will inevitably cease to serve either of us and will ultimately come to an end. If we are unlucky enough to be in a marriage where open and honest communication has been lacking for some time. Separation and Divorce 16. or in a different direction. fear of being blamed. To really change the negative effects of separation and divorce we will need to work towards changing the basis of marriage. if not years. It would both reduce the likelihood of painful separation and make staying together for the sake of the children somewhat irrelevant. This is hard to achieve in the heat of a flaming row that comes months. we could be enjoying the change that slowly but surely happens to every one of us as we grow. Instead. hothouse effect of marriage as we now know it. let alone those of spirit. the other starts to feel threatened and fearful. the role of growing. help and guide where we can. we could undoubtedly do with some external help and support. We will be different tomorrow from what we are today or were yesterday. Living in spiritually-based tribes or community groupings would free us from the intense. The whole thing is seen as such a process of failure that there is little opportunity for love to shine through even when it perhaps still exists in the marriage. One of the most useful things we can do is to help to bring out the underlying love that brought us together in the first place. Without that.10. Change is the only thing of which we can be one hundred percent certain. We can work over many generations towards this ideal. fear of being alone and not being able to cope. fear of failure. with the special involvement of the elders. and can easily turn to fear.58 16. The paradoxical reality is that two people who both desire to grow and evolve emotionally and spiritually are far more likely to find ways to constantly rebuild and renew their relationship than to lose each other. nurture it in each other. It has also become a significant social issue in most western industrialised countries. There is nothing “wrong” in this. family life and the nurturing of children. after things first started to cease working between the two of us. longterm. intimate relationships take a considerable amount of regular effort to nurture as we each grow. where we have long since lost the family and community support systems that might otherwise pick up the emotional and financial load.
It is always hugely more expensive to clear up a mess than to prevent one. the living wage or tax credit. the very future of our society. Many “rich” nations have successfully built a culture in which it is almost impossible to maintain the “acceptable” standard of living without two parents going out to work. The research into the break-up of marriages highlights the relative poverty experienced by the person left caring for the children. Value parenting enough and it would be possible for the bulk of couples who decide to get together and have a family to stay together. but this would all cost a fortune. It exists because we do not invest enough in the development of effective parenting and the provision of adequate social and financial structures to support carers in society. that would be paid to families with children so that only one parent would have to work. I have spent a little time investigating ideas for basic income. It is just because we have made the process of raising children so cheap that we are facing enormous problems in every other aspect of life. In a more highly evolved society. very dear. These might be the parents or the grandparents. We would provide enormous resources to ensure that local communities were family-friendly places. There is convincing evidence showing how much cheaper it would be if everyone were paid a basic living wage and those that chose to earn in excess of that were then taxed. © Soulfodder – 06. ah. The fortune that is being lost is the spirit of our children. Children can provide a perfect excuse for refusing to see the truth and acting lovingly and responsibly in its light. if that. where they exist. The cost of divorce and separation would plummet and our communities would be far happier places. are strapped for cash and incapable of meeting the demand placed upon them. We would ensure that at least one adult family member – preferably much of the time two – had adequate financial resources to devote to being with the children without having to go out to work. and that parents could themselves continue to grow and evolve alongside their children. This will then have a significant effect on the emotional aspects of the divorce or separation process.10.01 . even though to do so would make sound economic sense. And yet the cost of not doing anything positive for families in our communities is far greater than would be the cost of providing an adequate income and effective social structures for families with children in the first place. Staying together for the sake of the children usually means staying together for the sake of one or other spouse who is too terrified to deal with the consequences of being alone. Separation and Divorce It strikes me as strange that society claims to be so concerned about this issue and yet marriage guidance counselling services. The great poverty that many single parents experience in many western industrial countries today exists because society does not value the role of parenting enough.16. At the same time. children in families where no-one works suffer because their parents are unable to provide anything like the “acceptable” standard of living. I can hear you saying. Some use this to form a powerful reason for people to stay together. If we can find a loving way to work through the differences between us. It is not caused by divorce. we have a far better chance of coming to an amicable ending of our relationship than if fear is the driver. That 59 means that the children in such families suffer the lack of a parent around to help them grow naturally in the world. We would ensure that young people and prospective or new parents had adequate help and training to prepare for the emotional and spiritual aspects of their role. we would recognise that the job of guiding children through their first seven to ten years is too important to be left to people who may not love them totally. The huge inequities in society cost us all very.
We seem to be busy defining it as an intellectual education built on a consumerist lifestyle. We are busy filling the emptiness within in the hope that we will thereby find some kind of salvation. siblings and so on. The more acceptance of each other and ourselves we can muster the better. providing funding for matrimonial legal services and chasing absent parents for maintenance payments. The more love we bring into the proceedings.60 16. at the expense of each other. In reality.10.01 . it would take only a very few years for the entire global economy to collapse completely. Society’s attempts to help the process of divorce would be most effectively focused on these “soft” areas rather than on rewriting legislation. the environment and the other living creatures on the planet. A big part of the problem lies in the misconception about what a good start would mean. we will only come to salvation by recognising that going through the emptiness within is the way to find each other and Spirit again. © Soulfodder – 06. the less trauma will result. The more respect we show each other and all the children. parents-inlaw. the more we will be able to reduce the emotional damage that might otherwise be inflicted. It makes no sense to devote so little of the enormous resources of our world to giving the young a good start in life. We would do better to define it as a solid sense of the young person’s spiritual being and a love for all living things in the universe. The more openness and compassion we manage. The current struggle many of us experience around the issue of separation and divorce stems as much from the lack of spirit and love in our relationships and our communities as it does from any economic or social causes. How we go about separation and divorce is perhaps more important than the events themselves. From these would stem all that they need to flourish in life. Separation and Divorce Remember that young people are our greatest asset. the less hurt we will cause. If we were to stop reproducing tomorrow. Many of us are too busy filling our world and our lives with things we really don’t need.
Bereavement and Death Attitudes to death are reflected in the ways families act in the face of death. uncles. As such. and for the millions of people in those areas. We would enrich the life experience of everyone if we made death more a part of our lives. We could do with helping children and young people to learn about the spiritual. guilty or angry. provided they are permitted the free expression of their full range of emotional reactions. It would be helpful to make bereavement more of a spiritual process in the family by bringing in simple rituals and activities both to celebrate the life of those departed and to acknowledge the sense of loss. and are reinforced and passed on to new generations most powerfully through the family. We can do this through creating simple shrines. If we accepted that death is only the end of the human condition and a release back into the spiritual realms. but in those who are strong enough in themselves to easily let go of those departing. The feelings will be strongest when someone has been emotionally dependent on the person who has died. At the same time it can counteract the message of fear they may otherwise pick up about death. In many parts of the less technologically developed world it is still the case. As much as death is a release for the dying. through recounting stories of the person who has died.10. A child’s acceptance of death is quite natural until he or she is taught to fear it. just as if we made birth more a part. Parents and children can share their grieving process. Children and young people will often take less time to grieve than adults. they are likely to bottle up their feelings and end up either becoming dis-eased or acting out their unresolved feelings in behaviour that is not useful and probably not acceptable. We can allow ourselves to experience the grief as part of the letting go process. Bereavement and Death 61 17. Departed people often live on as joyous memories far more for children than for adults. There was a time when the family was where we learnt all about birth and death. aunts and close friends provides us with a glorious opportunity to further their spiritual education. and sharing © Soulfodder – 06. If they live in a family where the expression of sadness. Help in understanding the spiritual aspect of death will aid most people to focus on their grief rather than feeling blameful. not in those who feel less. That has changed enormously over the last fifty years. These reactions are most usually the result of denying that death brings a positive experience for the souls of those who leave. but not to mourn. attitudes to death are very different and not as fearful as in western societies. anger or grief is not allowed. The loss felt for a departed love one is real and is best fully acknowledged as such. Equally unuseful are blame and anger. then death would be an occasion to mark. Sometimes we can blame ourselves for the death of a loved one. Least useful in the process of bereavement is the tendency many of us have to ignore or deny our feelings and get on with life regardless of the inevitable emotional changes that death brings.01 . Sometimes blame is pointed at the living we hold responsible for a death. ritualising the memory of those departed. This is because most young children have not learnt to be emotionally dependent on others in quite the same way as many adults have. emotional and physical elements of leaving the body. who find it harder to come to terms with the death of people they love.17. it is only natural that it leaves an emotional hole for those remaining alive. Let us be clear that the problems so many people have with loss and bereavement stem from our current fear of dying. and weakest. Sometimes anger is directed at the person who has died. The death of grandparents. bereavement would be a process of coming to terms with living without our departed friends and relations in the light of knowing that they are moving on in their spiritual evolution.
There is the beginning of a move away from this trend in some countries where it has become prevalent. Ritualised grieving combined with celebration can help the bereaved. compassion and the celebration of a life well lived. This would then spare us the physical fight that results in pain. memories. Then there would be no home in the world where death could not take place surrounded by love. diseased death. © Soulfodder – 06. Bereavement and Death It is possible for us to grow to the point where a soul-level decision to leave the physical body could be accompanied by a conscious decision to die. We can move even further towards this more natural way of dying as we become better able to discern the spiritual readiness of the soul to leave the body. It is not useful to immortalise someone in death as other than they were in life. All concerned will know when the time has come for the departed one to be counted amongst the ancestors or spiritual friends rather than still to be grieved over. Our families present excellent opportunities for healing this whole situation.62 17. incapacity and the many other aspects of modern. not just the “good” bits. natural objects of beauty and common symbols such as icons. Some medical doctors are now accepting that there is a point at which care should be aimed at making people comfortable in their dying process rather than treating them so as to avoid the end as long as possible. favourite artefacts belonging to the deceased. incontinence. Shifting our attitude towards the spiritual will help us to accept the natural and inevitable fact of death in our lives and allow us to rejoice when loved ones leave to continue their spiritual adventure in seeking eventual reunion with God. Part of the issue is that we focus on trying to keep people alive as long as possible. It is not dying that is a problem. In this way we have handed death over to the “professionals” as something to battle against right until the end. so all aspects of a life are worth remembering. We can devise simple family rituals around such shrines during the months of the inevitable grieving process. We can help children make a simple shrine out of photographs. trauma.10. crystals and candles. but living. We have done ourselves a disservice by placing birth and death in the hands of “professionals” and removing both from the family environment. decreasing their significance as the sense of loss diminishes. both pleasant – and if necessary – unpleasant. The disservice is not only to those dying and being born but to all the family members who could be learning just how natural the processes of birth. so this is the aspect of the dying process most appropriate to focus on. and so take them out of their homes into medical institutions rather than providing them with a loving family environment in which to die. death and life really are.01 .
Another is the recognition that we have much to learn about how to care for planet Earth from traditional tribal peoples. © Soulfodder – 06. And we can apply the same test to them – love or fear? There are only ever two choices. have survived to be as relevant in the modern era as they were in years gone by. Family traditions that perhaps only date back a few generations may well have developed out of the power and dogmatism of a family patriarch or matriarch without being exposed to the critical testing of unrelated thinkers. In our rush for technological development these past fifty years or so. we now have a very simple test to apply in such matters. What about family traditions? Family traditions are perhaps a little less useful than more general cultural traditions. Spirit tells us that time does not exist in a serial form. which grew up with little or no direct religious structures attached to them. We have done so to the point where we are now at grave risk. as well as others yet to be rediscovered. There are some quite inappropriate customs still practised around the world that have grown up as traditions and held to steadfastly. There is much to be gained through such approaches. Have the traditional practices we are considering developed out of love or out of fear? Those that cause individuals or sections of communities to suffer. It is not surprising that many of the old spiritual teachings of the east have become popular in the north. However. it is worth considering briefly the whole issue of timelessness and spirituality. The re-emergence of interest in shamanism and ancient tribal wisdom is one good example. as they have probably not done in the past. Ancestors and Tradition As in many areas of life. These will not serve us well today. they may be completely inappropriate now. In thinking about ancestors and traditions. Increasing numbers of people are turning to new versions of the older ways of relating to spirit and the environment with which our ancestors were much more familiar than us. As a result. create competition and power games. and we can interact with them for guidance in this life. if not millennia. and see how they apply in modern circumstances.10. Coming as we are to the end of this text. that it is only our limited ability to perceive the Oneness of life and the Universe that makes us see one moment of time following another rather than it all happening together. that damage the environment. this topic requires a careful degree of balance. We could do well to actively discard these and replace them with more humane and spiritual practices. This would in effect mean that our ancestors are with us now.01 . we have lost much of the valid spiritual and environmental wisdom that our ancestors amassed. An interesting point to consider is how to discern a valid tradition from an invalid or not useful one. They do not of themselves always fit with the rapidly changing aspects of human life at the beginning of the twenty-first century. and hold some people above others. many societies around the planet have erred on the side of discounting the past. Ancestors and Tradition 63 18. It is possible to be too hung up on traditions and past practices that prevent the steady evolution of ways of being and doing in the world. The ancient traditions of the Orient. so they need adaptation. After all.18. even if they were appropriate in the past. will certainly have developed as a result of the fears of one element of society or another. The traditional wisdom that has grown up over centuries. We can seek out the more spiritual traditions that have escaped being institutionalised or turned into rigid dogma. not all traditions are useful. Traditions are valid seeds for modern ideas. And it is possible to completely discount the wisdom of previous generations to the detriment of the present. we will lose much if we disregard them completely. As such. south and west. has already stood the test of time and weathered the criticism of philosophers and the public.
to communicate effectively. The sum total of human understanding exists in the history of the planet. There is much to be learnt about how to live effectively in the present through studying aspects of the © Soulfodder – 06. The use of prayer and meditation in seeking counsel from the spirit realms is well understood and regularly written about. Much has been lost or destroyed. As I have said above. they will be forced to make public the existence of great works of ancient wisdom that will stun historians and people the world over. On one level. We have been through all of today’s life-threatening situations before. We can set aside some area of our home in celebration of the ancestors in general. As we move forward. We also have access to the most established earthly ancestor of them all. The trees and rocks are our ancestors. There is much to be gained in maintaining strong connections with the wise who have lived before us.10. adorning it perhaps with symbols and representations of our personal ancestors and other spiritual artefacts. There is no better way to introduce our children and young people to spiritual practice than to expose them to the celebration of the lives of their ancestors and the process of seeking wise counsel from the spiritual realms. This wisdom has been secreted away. Even for those of us not yet ready In many traditional tribal societies this is precisely what happens. many of which contravene the accepted social and religious order of the last many centuries. and help our children to come to love and appreciate the support that they can find through them. not just the humans that have come before. Ancient treasures of wisdom do exist in the world. Providing a focus in this way for the spirits of the ancestors can help us. education is only about remembering what we already know. there will be considerable pressure applied to bring such sources to light again. Other life forms have much to teach those who will listen. and those who wish to be close to us. This is not to give up control or responsibility for our own lives. We can make use of them ourselves. We are all surrounded all the time by spiritual beings willing to help us in the struggles we have invented for the human condition. Reverence for the ancestors helps to keep a channel open between the spirits of the ancients and the hearts and souls of those alive right now. As churches and governments come slowly to realise that the old order needs to change and that they don’t have a monopoly on designing the future. in seeking counsel from our ancestors we can also tap into the spiritual wisdom of the ages that belongs to us all. Ancestors and Tradition past. and that is the planet itself. Yet more has been saved and kept obscure if not actively hidden. not in our eyes and ears. Tapping into ancient wisdom is not just an intellectual exercise. If we could just tap into the great knowledge that is to be had on planet Earth we would be helped to find the answers to every issue facing us now. Opening our hearts and souls through ritual and prayer to contact with those who have walked this planet before will also help us unlock the secrets of inner knowledge that every one of us brings into our earthly lives from our other existences.01 . The great mammals of the sea in particular have unbounded wisdom ready to share with those who can heal the rift our forbears created between us. We can learn from past mistakes as well as how to adapt old traditional practices for current needs. Great wisdom exists in the spirits of the natural world. We can find plenty of guidance as to how to do this. The channels for this lie in our hearts and souls. Concern for our ancestors and for a sense of tradition can also show itself in an appreciation of human history. Every child would benefit from an appreciation of the spiritual guides that are available to those who choose to make contact with them. we will be able to draw on the collective spiritual wisdom of Life itself. In finding our Oneness with Spirit and all life in the universe. but so that we can seek their counsel in thinking through the most effective ways to live today.64 18. Humanity needs all the help it can get right now.
there is much simple and profound wisdom to be had from observation of the natural world. Gaia and her creatures have talked to humans since the beginnings of time. our ancestors and the Oneness that is Spirit and Life in the universe. and become one again with the greater aspect of our past. For thousands of years we were adept at listening.10. 65 © Soulfodder – 06.01 .18. Ancestors and Tradition in evolutionary terms to communicate directly with the many life forms on the planet. It is time to re-member ourselves. This is a great art that we would do well to recover. It is time to remember our human and earthly ancestors.
01 . How we are and what we do is very much more powerful than what we say (or write). some through service. © Soulfodder – 06. I trust that I have succeeded in opening your mind. and to be gentle on myself when I don’t manage it. I hope to do so increasingly as life progresses. some through nature. You might like to use the many opportunities that life gives you to experiment with how you can make your life different. I hope that you will be able to take guidance from this text that can be applied to many other areas of your life. some through prayer. The how is irrelevant. My greatest support and help in this exciting journey comes to me through my close connection to God. We can each find that support for ourselves in whatever way is easiest for us. There is no right way to be in relationship to the highest source of spiritual wisdom: some do it through art. My challenge is to find ways to integrate the spiritual into every aspect of my life. That we do it is all that is relevant. some through meditation. You might also like to experiment with how you can make a difference in the lives of others and the state of the world around you. The most effective way to do this is through making a difference inside you. some through exercise. I trust you will be encouraged to make your own efforts and to be suitably gentle on yourself when you don’t manage it too.10.66 Epilogue Epilogue If you have got this far. your heart and your soul to the possibilities of a spiritual approach to how to live in families and help your children grow up.