Home > World > Susan Smalley, Ph.D.: Motherhood: The Ultimate Training Ground For Enlightenment

Susan Smalley, Ph.D.: Motherhood: The Ultimate Training Ground For Enlightenment

July 2nd, 2009, 07:07 pm admin Leave a comment Go to comments

I am constantly amazed by the depth of training provided by motherhood for seeking “enlightenment.” By that I mean an expansion of consciousness where you transcend your ’self’ as an independent entity and experience yourself as part of an existent whole. By analogy it would be like suddenly realizing you are a cell in the human body that creates the body but only by the dependent relationship to other cells. Only the ‘body’ symbolizes the vast universe or a unified consciousness or what others have called a ‘Oneness’ or ‘universal unity of being’.

I come back to motherhood as a training ground again and again because I think the ‘created’ experiences to practice letting go of attachments whether they are religious training centers (monasteries, seminaries, nunneries) or reunciate practices (renouncing food, sex, etc.), are never quite as powerful as the experiences that motherhood provides. In the process of letting go, transcendence ultimately arises.

And the practice ground of motherhood never ends.

In our children’s infancy and toddlerhood, we learn to let go physically from the symbiotic union that began before birth.

In their childhood, we learn to let go of the role of sole educator to share that teaching experience with a larger group.

In their teenage years, we learn to let go of the role of sole compatriot as peers take our place.

In their young adulthood, we learn to let go of our role as sole advisors as relationships and careers introduce themselves.

Each step of the way, we let go of an attachment of sorts – to our child and our roles – and in that letting go a greater wisdom arises of the repetitive nature of this process through time and the illusion of independence that catches us so often.

As mothers we learn to separate and survive and so too do our children. They walk, grow, and create more seemingly independent of us but increasing dependent upon the world.

The attachment to a child – that clinging type of love – gradually changes to a more universal love, perhaps never completely severed from the former, as the ties of motherhood are strong. But as a child begins to develop their own attachments, they let go of the string to which a mother is bound and form new ties to their own children.

The renunciate seeks this experience by refusing food, sex or other attachments – they inflict it upon themselves to learn to ‘let go’. Mothers by their very nature receive this experience without seeking it (fathers may do so as well but I can only speak from a mother’s perspective). And compared to the attachment of a mother to a child, all other attachments – food, sex and material possessions – pale in comparison.

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