Gil Fronsdal returns to the Guest Podcast to share illuminating spiritual lessons learned along the journey of parenting.
This talk from Gil Fronsdal was originally published on DharmaSeed.org
Lesson from Parenting
Heralding in from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Family Retreat on 8/4/16, Gil Fronsdal takes the unique opportunity to talk about parenting from a spiritual perspective. Diving into various lessons learned in his young parenting journey, Gil applies Buddhist wisdom and compassionate mindful insight to the meaningful and often difficult process of raising children.
“[Parenting] turned out to be more challenging for me than being a monastic. Family life brought much more to the surface in my mind and heart, of my attachments, my expectations, and ways I lived which needed to be looked at and examined.” – Gil Fronsdal
Ethan Nichtern & Dr. Christopher Willard share on mindful parenting, on Ep. 8 of The Road Home
Shaped from the Past // A Second Look (8:01)
Sharing a story about working with his own thoughts around what his child should grow up to be, Gil contemplates the importance of being careful to allow each person to naturally grow into what they will become. From here, he reflects on how in raising his own child, he began to rekindle old sufferings from his past as a kid. Through this lens, he lays a functional scaffolding for taking a second look at thoughts, emotions, and expectations.
“This ability to see things arise is one of the really fundamental features or goals of mindfulness practice—not just to see things as they are, but to see them when they arise, when they first appear. The corollary to that is to also notice when they pass. There’s something very powerful about seeing a thought, a feeling, an emotion, a response, a suffering, and see it all so fast.” – Gil Fronsdal
Ram Dass reflects on spiritually conscious parenting, on Ep. 90 of Here & Now
Caring for Yourself & Letting Go (18:01)
Next, Gil shares how he came to invert the Buddhist concept of “letting go” at times in parenting, reflecting on how it’s important to be a healthy and balanced role model as a parent by making sure you don’t forget 100% of your own needs in over-caring for the child.
“As the kids got older, my tendency was to let go of my own needs for the sake of the children. But it became clear at some point that caring for the children’s needs 100% and not taking care of my needs became lopsided and unhealthy. It was a bad role model for them if the whole world was focused on them. They had to learn they are part of a family unit, and the greater good for the family involves everyone’s wellbeing.” – Gil Fronsdal