We Are Our Parents?
So much thought has been put into nature versus nurture in regards to why we do what we do and how we do it… I believe nothing is simple and uncomplicated as a straightforward answer can imply. Our minds, karmas and hundreds of thousands of lifetimes of imprints are at work within each of us. Each lifetime of accumulated karmas adds to the complications..Yes..so it does not get less complicated, but more..it’s continuous as long as we operate from wrong perceptions.Wherever we are we definitely had the karma to be there. I mean, the simple fact that we are living in this world deluding ourselves thinking we are in control when we are not, sums up so many things already. From our childhood, to teenage years till now, how much more has life become complicated or we have made it more complicated thinking we will achieve what we want?
We are the unwanted and sometimes we don’t accept the products of our parents. We think, do, act, talk, eat, perform so much like our parents consciously and unconsciously that sometimes we are in denial. Some of us had ‘wonderful’ parents and some of us were with parents that should have never been parents. How does karma play into this, in our previous immediate life, we opened the karma at the time of our deaths by our thoughts to take rebirth into this predicament. We have the karma to take rebirth into thousands of scenarios and those karmas are still latent, it is just what is opened at the precise moment. Meaning while we are dying, what our thoughts trigger open our unlimited karmic storehouse of latent karma.
I mean environment impacts us so much, and living with our parents and being at the most impressionable period of our lives, who do we see and interact with daily? Our parents of course. Many of our good habits ‘come’ from our parents as well as the ‘bad’. Their influence is inestimable.
Many of our fears, likes, phobias, prejudices, problems, difficulties and avoidances come as a direct result of our parent’s psychological impact on us. I have talked to hundreds of people, and when I get to know them better and they start talking about their parents. As I listen, all the bells go off and I just say, oh, that’s why they act and think this way…very similar…For example, I have students whose parents were very stingy as they were growing up…stingy to the point of damage to the mind of the child. They weren’t stingy because they didn’t have money, but they valued it over the child. When this person speaks they are totally stingy and give me all types of reasons that their fathers taught them…I was like ‘ok’. But they are ok, if someone else pays for them…I mean how come you don’t protect other people’s money too? That is just part of it, many times these people are emotionally very stingy. They let you take the responsibilities while they quietly sit and hope YOU find the solutions.. I’ve met other students who are giving and not calculative BECAUSE when they were growing up their parents were super stingy and cheapskates and they didn’t like that type of atmosphere where everything including them were viewed through monetary worth. So they resolved when they grow up, they will not be like that. Both being stingy and generous were a direct result of their parents….
Although we have been conditioned by the good and bad of our parents (after all they are human and we should still respect and care for them if we can), we can change. It is not just our parents, it is also culture, schools, peers, tv, prevailing attitudes, our country and so many more factors. But the top of the list, would be parents. I mean if we grew up in some backward and prehistoric country where people believe that if you are dark skinned you are inferior or if you are a woman, you are much lesser than a man. It definitely had strong impact on us for better or worse. We know skin color has nothing to do with who a person is and how they should be treated but unfortunately many hold on to wrong views about that.
I grew up listening to my stepfather’s 100% convictions that women are lesser than men and that they are just to serve men. He really believed that and lived his life that way. I ignored his derogatory comments at first about women when growing up and then as I started to think more, I examined much more. I noticed that I was more impressed with my stepmom than him. She had so much more better qualities than he did (sorry). She was stronger, smarter, much much much more capable, was honest, was honest in her marriage to him, was loyal, was very hardworking and he was none of those qualities…I looked at my relatives, and it was the female relatives like my cousin Susie Gugajew who were more compassionate, giving, loving and nurtured me much more than male relatives. I mean I had nice male relatives, but they didn’t reach out much to me. I am not putting down males, but quite the contrary, I find men and women totally equal. I’ve had wonderful men in my life such as my gurus who were very kind to me and very nurturing..so it isn’t that women are worse and men better or vice versa, it is equal. My point, I didn’t believe my stepdad’s convictions that women are lesser and should serve men. I examined this and I find it false. So in me I have a strong equality fairness about gender BECAUSE of my father’s views..It had a strong impact on me.
Well my dad’s views on women is just an example of the impact our parents have on us again, for better or for worse. My stepmom with all her good points also was not a mentally healthy woman, left undiagnosed for three decades. She didn’t get the medication she needed very badly and as a result the people around her suffered tremendously. People around her forgive her because they know it is not her. But when I was growing up, I was told I would not make it and be a loser and not have any friends almost daily. My mother would say that to me always among many other negative words. And for a while I believed her. I innately trusted her and for years, I would live my life that way. I am not worth it. If anyone was nice to me, it would not last I thought. Don’t trust anyone because I am not good enough for them to be with me and be my friends.
When I was growing up in New Jersey and going to school, I had heavy daily racial slurs thrown at me. I was called all types of derogatory racial names when growing up and it lessened in high school. But in elementary school from 5th-8th grade it was very bad. I disliked that part about America very much. When I left New Jersey and went to LA, I don’t remember any racial slurs anymore much…except a few places people put me down for not getting a tan and I was too light skinned???!!! When confronted with racial slurs as a kid, I said to myself, I will never live in the US when I grow up..that I will move to Hawaii or the Far East. When I lived in India for 8 years, I never received any racial slurs from Indian people. The racial slurs scarred me for years. When I came to the Far East and saw what Asians do, or have done or their old/unique/rich culture, I felt many years of racial scarring melting away…I have grown up now to think no one East or West is better or worse, but how we act in life. I realized through a lot of searching that it is ‘ok’ for me to be Asian or Oriental or Yellow. And there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. But my growing up years made me appreciate more now that it is who I am inside that makes me worth it or not, and that what I am on the outside only affects those people who are not mature, accepting and intolerant. They have issues also. It’s ironic that America has a black president and China is a major power now on equal par (or near it ) with the US. US takes China very seriously. Not everyone in America are prejudice of course, but where I grew up, it was in my experiences. America’s black president and China’s meteoric climb to a major global player would have shocked all those kids in school that spewed the racial slurs to me and of course their parents where they got it from. Now it is totally not politically correct for racial slurs in America unlike when I was growing up. Kinda of like karma coming back and revolving round and round. The racial verbal attacks I suffered as a child, made me tolerant and accepting of other races now totally.
The good news is our parents were just like us. They were influenced by their parents. They acted out what they were taught on us. It was not really their fault. My parents have a lot of qualities I do not admire, but it does not make me hate them, dislike them or wish to disrespect them. I always realize they were influenced. I mean I disappointed, hurt and unwittingly damaged other people in the past because of my habits from my upbringing. The similar traits I acted out because that is all I knew learning from my parents. I would like those people that I hurt to know that is not me….but my upbringing. Similarily for our parents and us. I have dharma to point this all out to me clearly, my parents did not. They never took the time to study or understand the dharma. So why keep acting the way we do and blame our environmental upbringings. I mean I am not with my parents now and I have had more time away from them than with them…so I should have more environmental impact from the outside of my parent’s world now. So why do I need to act from those years with my parents. Some may argue those were the most formative years. But you know, when you look at it from the point of dharma, I have so many more lives in the future to take rebirth in and what I am learning now is formative too. So we shouldn’t look at things from a one life point of view and that is where reincarnation philosophy can really help us to move on. If I was going to live one life and for 80 years, ok the first 20 formative years of my life have a huge right to set my ways for the remaining 60 years of my life. Then maybe I would have some validity to act and stay the way I am for better or worse. But if you look at the perhaps 80 years you will be alive now as a drop in the ocean of the many more lives you will have, then it doesn’t make sense that just the 20 years would be formative or set the stage for the rest of my life and lives. In fact every year of this life should be the formative years of this life and future lives. It helps to realize we will have many more lives so I can let go and move on. It helps to ‘be’ on the moon and look back at earth and us in it so see how we shouldn’t make everything so solid and big and permanent. We are ‘insignificantly’ significant.
As we are now, was the product of our environmental upbringing or the nurture factor. What brought us to this factor was our previously accummulated karma. Realizing that now and every moment are our formative years still and we are still learning helps us to let go of statements like it is too late for me or I am to old to change or too habituated or too damaged. Since we are the products of our nurturing or lack of it, we are still being nurtured now…What we experience everyday and every year should still affect us into positive change. We have the power and ability to make our environments positive. Nothing is permanent. We are not with our parents now. I am not experiencing racial slurs now…so why should those affect me anymore unless I am using those for an excuse for something more hidden and selfish. Not changing for the better is selfish. Not transforming and using lame old excuses is selfish. Examining and retrospecting endlessly without change is buying for time to be selfish. Being selfish is not permanent either. Using future tenses like I need more time, I WILL CHANGE, etc are also excuses to find reasons not to do what we need to do. There are exceptions as always to my views here. But I am just examining myself and maybe it would apply in bits and parts to others. None of this was written to blame, begrudge or lash out, but really self examinations…
Excuses that cover what we are not doing (but suppose to do) serves to further harden wrong habits, views and thinking. We should never use future tense or promises for change in the present. It should be now. It shouldn’t be hard, if we are sincere about it. It is only hard or difficult when we don’t consider others. It is only super problematic when we choose ourselves wrongly over others and our responsibilities.
I have a long way to go, but I have come a long way…the philosophy of reincarnation/karma was the 90% factor for me to look deeper and examine and think why. There are things in me that I like and there are more things in me that I don’t like. But this is who I am in for now in this life, but I am not permanent and who I am is changeable according to time, place and benefit. And I am changing and will continue to change. If I wish to get anywhere in life or in my spirituality I need to look beyond my ‘formative’ years. I need to look at myself now and say I am in control. Karma says so. Buddha says so. Reality says so. I say so. It is so. Change happens when we realize everything we experience adds to our forming consciousness and that formation needn’t stand still just like karma.
Change comes from our formation years which is right now.
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