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Making Peace With Our Parents

How long will you continue blaming your parents and judging yourself? Change and healing come through recognizing the conditioned mind.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

1. Products of Our Conditioning

"The reason we tend to have conflict with our parents is because of what they did or didn’t do to us. And the important thing to realize about our parents is that, the reason they did or didn’t do certain things to us is because their parents didn’t do or did certain things to them. And the reason that their parents did or didn’t do certain things to them is because their parents did or didn’t do certain things to them.

In other words, there’s no personal responsibility. At the level of the body-mind, we are all conditioned. Understanding that takes the personal judgment out of the situation. Our parents are the products of their conditioning, at one level, just as we are.

Removing the personal judgment and blame is a large part of the issue. That’s the first thing, I’d say. Really see - don’t just pay lip service to the idea - but really see your parents are not responsible."

~Rupert Spira, from the video: Difficulties in Loving One's Parents


The first thing to see here, is that your parents are not responsible when they are speaking and acting unconsciously. They are simply caught up in their thoughts, believing them to be true.

Even if you don't yet see this, are you willing to open where you have been closed? Are you ready to put aside the judgment and blame, just for a moment?

2. Seeing and Responding to the Conditioning

"See that whatever your mother says is totally conditioned by her mind. She’s playing the same old record. Realize that whatever comes out of her mouth is her mind regurgitating the conditioning throughout her lifetime.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking all these years that there was some meaning or significance to what your mother said, but basically, it was just the noise of her mind. And she believed in it. She believed that whatever her mind repeated and repeated was the truth.

Approach her in a state of compassion because she’s completely at the mercy of her conditioned mind. You don’t have to buy into what she says."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Eckhart on Parental Criticism


How easy it is to buy into unconscious speaking, especially when it's criticism from our parents.

Our ego immediately reacts to their ego. They speak, believing their thoughts to be true, and we react, based on the need to protect the false sense of self that we feel is being attacked. Is it any wonder we find it difficult to connect in a real way?

However, when we recognize the conditioning in someone's speaking, our response can change. We realize that we no longer have to buy into what they say. When we don't have the need to defend ourselves, the door to freedom is open.

3. Carrying an Enormous Burden

"Many people think, “I really need my parents to understand me, I want my mother to understand me,” and they feel very unhappy if they’re not being understood.

It may be beyond the capability of your mother to understand you, so she’s limited. You have to recognize her limitations - she is very limited in her state of consciousness.

And that is not to look down upon her but to see it with compassion; that what she does is extremely repetitive. Not to believe your own mind when it tells you that she needs to understand you.

[Imagine:] You visit your mother, you have a cup of tea with her, she understands you. You go off and you look at the sky and you take a breath and it’s the present moment and you remember, “Oh, my mother understands me.” Or you go and have a cup of tea with her and she continues with her old patterns and you say goodbye and go off and you look at the sky and take a breath and you say, “Oh, she’s still in her old patterns. Well, that’s how it is.”

It makes no difference unless you believe your mind when it tells you that it’s dreadfully important that your mother should understand you. And that happens when you believe every thought that comes into your head, and then the thought can make you unhappy.

“My mother doesn’t understand me,” and you feel something huge is missing in your life because your mother doesn’t understand you, but that’s because you believed in the thought that says this should be, when it isn’t.

And so, you feel this enormous burden which is not really created by your mother. It’s created by your own mind. Your mother is not to blame. You have to see that your own mind is creating this enormous burden. When you see that, you can actually let go and allow your mother to be who she is (in that particular conditioned form right now) and allow her her limitations."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Eckhart on Parental Criticism


How long have you been believing the thought that your parent(s) should understand you? Can you recognize the resistance in your being, that you are fighting with what is?

How much longer do you want to believe that thought? Are you willing to drop it and allow your parent(s) to be who they are?

4. Taking a Break From Judging Yourself

“The second thing I would say is not to judge yourself, not to give yourself a hard time for not being able to totally accept your parents as they are. That itself is part of your conditioning.

If you try to force it you’re accentuating the separate self in yourself. You’re judging yourself, you’re setting yourself up for failure. “I should be able to love my parents but I can’t, therefore I’m failing,” etc. You’re just reinforcing the separate self in yourself, which means reinforcing that part of you that cannot truly love your parents.

So, don’t really work on your love for your parents. Work on that part of yourself that feels a failure, that feels you can’t love them, that you should love them, even that you want to love them.

And see what happens when you give that part of yourself a break. See what happens to your love of your parents when you stop judging yourself for not loving them, when you stop feeling a failure, when you stop even desiring for things to be different.

See how love for your parents evolves. That, in combination with the understanding that they’re not responsible. They’re not personally responsible for whatever they did or didn’t do.”

~Rupert Spira, from the video: Difficulties in Loving One's Parents


This quote is an invitation to rest from believing the thoughts that we should love our parents more and that we need to try harder to get on with them or to accept them.

It's also an invitation to let go of feeling a failure and to see that this also comes from our conditioning.

"See what happens when you give that part of yourself a break. See how love for your parents evolves."

5. Peace With Mother and Father

"My mother did not continuously criticize me but she made it very clear that she was unhappy with the choices I made in life. Sometimes she implied it. She said, “With your intelligence, you could have done so much…” (I was already 45) and she said, “but you threw it away. Oh well, let’s not talk about it."

That’s her mind, her mental conditioning. She thinks in terms of a man needs a career, he needs to make money, he needs to get married and have children and he needs to show that he’s successful and all those things. That didn’t happen with her son and she wasn’t happy about that.

So she couldn’t go beyond the conditioning of her mind because that was conditioned by that particular culture she grew up in and I could see that, and it was fine."

~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Eckhart on Parental Criticism

"I didn’t feel that I really loved my father until I no longer wanted anything from him. As long as I needed something from him I was setting him up for failure and me up for disappointment, for resentment, for judgment, for blame.

It wasn’t until I really, genuinely felt, "I need absolutely nothing from you. You’ve given me everything you had to give. I have no more demands of you. I feel I want nothing from you. I need nothing from you."

It wasn’t until I realized that, that I felt I really loved him for who he is. I couldn’t have loved him for who he is before I came to that realization.

And now, when I’m with him, we have a very nice relationship. It’s very warm-hearted. He can be maddening, but it’s just like noise in the background. I couldn’t care less. I couldn’t care less what we talk about. I don’t need to be understood by him. I just like to be with him from time to time."

~Rupert Spira, from the video: Difficulties in Loving One's Parents


In these precious quotes, Eckhart and Rupert give us a window into their own relationships with their parents. We can see the wise attitude of not being drawn into any unconscious speaking, and a transcendence that opens the door to healthy interaction.

Notice how these two examples speak to you personally.

6. The Death of Everything That Comes Between Us

"I remember when I saw my dad for the first time. I saw him not as my father, not as 'mine' in any way, but simply as a character in a movie, a part being played by Being itself.

I saw him in clarity, I saw what was actually there. I saw through the story, the story of father and son, the story that he wasn't who I wanted him to be, the story of shoulds and shouldn'ts and might haves.

When all that heaviness dropped away, when the past became as irrelevant as the future, what was left was shockingly innocent: an old man, greying hair, wrinkles all over his face, liver spots on his hands.

At once all attempts to change him ceased, and there was only gratitude for what was there.

It was all so innocent. He had been so innocent. I had been so innocent. He wasn't my father at all, and I wasn't his son. Those were just roles that we had mistaken for reality. The actor in the play had forgotten that he was an actor. He had forgotten that he had just been playing the role of father or son. He had become identified with the role, and reality had become totally constricted.

But now, the fog had cleared, the doors of perception had been cleansed, and all there was, was the simplicity of what was happening. Old man, greying hair, sitting on a chair, eating breakfast.

No sense that he was mine. No sense of possession. No sense of control or lack of it. Just an innocent character, being himself perfectly. Jesus said that he and the father were one, and now I knew what he'd meant.

In a sense, it was a death. Death of the father story, and along with it, death of the son story. Death of father and son. Death of everything that had come between us. Death of the roles. Death of the pretense. Death of the façade, the masks, the games. And in that death, there was only the throb of life. Nothing real can ever die.

And not just father, but mother, sister, brother, friend, lover: all are just temporary roles. And those roles can be very useful when it comes to functioning in this world, but they can so easily come between us. They can so easily mask the intimacy that is always there."

~Jeff Foster, An Extraordinary Absence


Notice how the roles we play, as children and parents, can come between us. When we identify so strongly with our role, we mistake it for reality and forget what's actually happening. "Old man, greying hair, sitting on a chair, eating breakfast." This is what's happening. This is reality. Everything else is part of a mind-made story.

When you find yourself getting lost in your role as a son or daughter and getting caught up in your sressful thoughts, remember to come back to reality. Always come back to the truth of life, to what's actually happening in this moment.

7. Summary and Song

In this nine-minute video I give a brief summary of these quotes and how to apply them, followed by a short song, sung to the tune of Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits, to help us remember the main point.


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