Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Mysticism of Motherhood, from My Experience
This is a project/talk I did for Science of Mind & Spirit Class: Practical Mysticism, please comment, let me know what you think.
“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” (Thackeray) Apparently, there is little history of spiritual leaders and teachers discussing motherhood. Not surprising as most of the female mystics were nuns of one sort or another, certainly not having children. With the overtly paternal nature of most religious traditions is obvious why mothers haven't been "on the mystic scene" much at all.
The first time I became pregnant I violently regained control of my life. The pattern of ruthless control repeated the second time, with somewhat more emotional trauma as I understood more closely what I was doing. I was denying the divine touch in my life. Denying any possibility of growth and change, my decisions firmly rooted in fear.
I met my husband and we decided time was right…but with babies even “ready” still isn’t Ready. Because how does one really prepare for a miracle?
When my first daughter was an infant I was struck one afternoon with a vision of infinity stretching from behind me through to her and beyond, as if two mirrors faced each other. We were connected as we are all connected. I fell to my knees and cried. Whenever I feel the quickening of purest love for my daughters’ personhood here, that is essence of God-love.
The mechanics of conception, development and birth are explicable to a point. Two irreducibly complex cells come together to form a zygote, then an embryo, and a fetus, eventually a baby. But the soul, the spirit that comes with that unique combination is INexplicable. It is miraculous. In my experience, that new life is proof of union of spirit and in that is the union of the great I AM miraculously re-created. What he and I have given them will be within them always, but they are at once the genetic progeny + the environmental progeny + something more. It is that something more that confounds and is mystical by its very existence.
With my pregnancies I felt (although undefined) a certain unmistakable growth spiritually as well as physically. My first was a traumatic level of surrender to something larger than myself, loss of what control I imagined. My second was somewhat easier as I knew essentially what to expect, but the growth still happens, over and over and over again, I learn lesson after lesson. Parenting classes and introspection have been my timely guides, absolutely necessary when faced with a miniature mirror of my self. Ultimately it all boils down to love, and love melting into love. I never guessed I could love with such utter abandon, throw myself totally into self-improvement that I might better embody what I want for my children.
“God knows more about love, care, forgiveness, in one second than the best mother that ever lived knew in a lifetime. And if mothers can love and forgive and care and be tender, try to imagine what the nature of God is.” (TFOM p.134) I couldn’t imagine that nature, not until I became a momma. I’ve experience heart-rending epiphanies about human kind, our love, hate, fear, jealousies, and more—but mostly our love for one another. I remember being astounded to recognize that all mothers love their children the way I love mine, albeit with differing actions. I recall (more recently) the predilection to be drawn into the “Mommy Wars” where personal discernments turn judgments upon others—we mommies sometimes forget our commonalities. I remember realizing all at once that god- love is like a child’s love for a parent, it never runs out, never changes, never dissipates, it is constant to the core of constancy regardless of behaviors. I recognized in the throes of learning to mother, I wasn’t sure I could accept this amount of love, I wasn’t sure I was I worth this Love.
Coming to terms again and again, leads me into newer areas of personal growth to assure that this relational love remains healthy, intact as a sounding board for all future relationships. With my Momma role, I have had to balance my needs versus theirs, with balance came the in depth search for my identity beneath “mommy”. I’ve learned to prioritize my energy use toward particular pursuits, though I’ve yet to reach an ideal, I know I’ve time to learn. Managing my pursuits, those of my children, balancing all this in a basic 24 hour daily cycle has been the most interesting challenge. Spiritually speaking I’ve matured more in the past 6.5 years than I had in the previous 28, I’ve mommydom to thank for that.
A few lovely, thought provoking quotes:
• Judaism finds "motherhood" in both its abstract notion of generativity and its more intimate motif of caretaking to be a compelling vehicle for understanding and relating to God.
• “A woman may also give birth to her own creative work, in which she has had to plumb her own depth as a woman and labor to bring it forth. The work comes out of her and draws from her talents and experience, and yet it has its own life.”
• “Our children bring to our lives an abundance of special moments: their birth, their first smile, their first word, starting school. But caught up in a fast-flowing stream of thoughts we miss so many of the more everyday moments and, indeed, the potential for every moment we spend with our children to be special. Awake to the depth and texture of the present, we open ourselves to appreciate and enjoy them more.”
• “How often I felt my failure to enact boundless compassion and immeasurable patience. Through becoming a mother I irrevocably lost the realm where compassion for all beings is visualized from a retreat cabin….Gradually, however….I began to see mothering as a great practice opportunity….As I cooked in the cauldron of motherhood, the incredible love I felt for my children opened my heart and brought me a much greater understanding of universal love. It made me understand the suffering of the world much more deeply. This has been an important thread for me, both as a practitioner and as a human being.”
• Creating (including procreation) is a yang or outward-moving aspect of the 2nd chakra, while intuition is a yin or inward-moving one. While for intuition we absorb energy or ‘data’ into our energy bodies (which is partly pulled in by the centripetal nature of our 2nd chakra), while creating a life, a painting, or composition, or anything else, we push it out into the world, apart from us.
for quotes and additional inspiration.