A Journey Reconsidered

So, a friend commented on the “Journey to the Desert” post that, as a non-parent, she could see that piece as much representing ‘conscious living’ as it does ‘parenthood’ and that got me thinking.

(Don’t worry – I’m not going to leap into another esoteric, poetry-as-prose, extended metaphor, snapping-my-fingers-while-reciting-enigmatic-verse-with-a-dangling-ciggarette-while-whispering-‘dig-it-dig-it-dig-it’ piece again just yet.  I promise I won’t start taking myself seriously for at least another month or two)

I started to think about the perpetual flow of the universe and how I as a person and now how I as a father both fit so neatly into that enormous paradigm.

Snuggly place, that universe.

Before I had children, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my journey here – how to find my way, how to be a good person, what it means to find happiness – you know, the biggies.  Since becoming a father I have found that those same questions run through my mind during quiet moments, they are just recontextualized.  Well, and those quiet moments are almost non-existent, but that’s beside the point.  Those same questions are with me, I just ask them now in regards to another human being – how to help my daughter find her way, how to teach someone to be a good person, how to help another discover happiness for themselves.

The “Journey” post was my perspective on the path into parenthood, but looking at it as a path towards consciousness has allowed me to see the similarities between the two.  The closer I look, though, the more I realize they are essentially the same thing.  Our children come into our lives as these adorable, albeit noisy, lumps of clay.  They are lives presented to us to mold into human beings as we see fit.  They are unguided and unbound spirits that we are to teach and to show the way.

A monumental responsibility, no?

But, in reality, that is no more weighty of a responsibility than the one we all carry as individuals.  In fact, it is exactly the same thing.

Our children are just small versions of ourselves.  Granted, everyone is an individual and unique and beautiful in their own way, etc, blah blah blibbity – I get that, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.  Our children are our creations and we impart upon those creations our beliefs and values and ideas and lessons.  We form these little individuals into people the best we can before they are truly individual and unique and then turn them loose on the world to pursue that individuality and, hopefully, consciousness.

It is after they have been molded in our own form by our thoughtful worldliness, or lack thereof, that our children break free to pursue themselves for themselves.  I did not embark on my journey toward the answers to my existential questions until after my parents molded me with honesty, consideration and love.  Similarly, I am currently molding my daughters to prepare them to undertake their own personal ‘Journey to the Desert’ when that time comes.

Parenthood, then, becomes almost the passing on of consciousness.  I am training another to pursue that which I am still on a path toward.  Very literally, I am perpetuating the cycle of life which, I would argue, is the same as the reincarnation of consciousness in another being.

Now, I’m not going so far as to say that procreation is itself reincarnation in the Hindu sense, but the Bhagavad Gita does say something to the effect that the reincarnating soul is one that discards old, worn out bodies in order to wear a new one.

I may not be that old and I may have only been a father for not quite four years, but I am DEFINITELY worn out.

Something to think about…..


About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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9 Responses to A Journey Reconsidered

  1. Carol Brown says:

    You triggered some thinking about the “journey” we are all on (some of us have traveled much longer than others) and made me realize the path keeps changing and the destination moving. We sort of have to be like those gps that keep “recalculating”. Thanks for giving me things to ponder.

  2. David says:

    Really Like! Thanks Mitchell.

  3. Meka says:

    After gathering with a fine group of friends I was thinking to myself how everyone’s children are such small versions of the parent. The gestures, the speech, the nature of their being. It was wonderful to see , but scary at the same time. What do others see in my children? Are they the crazy, frantic being I feel inside myself or do they portray the traits I am trying to instill. The kind, gentle zen like ones. Before my children I was able to spend a lot of time reflecting on my self and the person I wanted to be. After having kids I mostly reflect on sleep and the lack there of. Your post makes me think that maybe both my self reflection and what I want to teach my kids need to coexist to be able to set the best example for both of us. When asked “how are you” my son always says “great” I don’t think I do that…made me start thinking and now I try to answer the same. Seems they are molding us as much as we are molding them…..and I ramble….;) Thanks for todays food for thought! Your amazing Mitchell!

    • It makes me so happy that you are enjoying these so much, Meka. Thank you. As for what you said, I don’t think that any of it is isolated – they are what we see in ourselves, what we are on the surface, what we hope for them to be. They are our fears and our strengths, our successes and failures. And we are all of that as well. No pressure, though. Kinda like everything in this world, it is all tightly interwoven. Oh, my poor daughters……

  4. mudly says:

    To Mitchell, and to Meka-
    As a child, now grown, and as you both know, living with my mother by choice – I actually quite often reflect on how I got to be here. In both a physical sense of space and time, but also in the mental sense. And I think all the way back to childhood, the little memories that have stuck with me and therefore I think would be more appropriately called “lessons.” Its things like standing in the kitchen on a stool making letter pancakes (and a giant mess of course) for dinner on a Sunday night with my mom and brother. Its the morning my brother and I missed the school bus because we had an argument over breakfast and our cereal ended up thrown across the entire kitchen (and we had to clean it up, and mom was really mad). It was making my own lunch for school, starting in Kindergarten (this was fun, and it meant I always liked my lunch). It was learning that my mom liked a clean house, and that picking up, even just a little, would instantly make her happy- and that was TOTALLY worth it. I don’t know. Those are all pretty random. I’m not sure where exactly I was going with this… Except to say that I have remembered the strangest things. And neither my mom, nor I, really understands exactly how we got to be where we are – no matter how many people ask us.

    • Meka says:

      I love you Mud. You know I think the world of you and mamma Suze. Yo have given me more in life lessons than either of you know.

  5. Adam says:

    Reading this reminds me of the two traits I revere most in this life; humility and conscientious intention… Your thoughts offer me the chance for some healthy introspection.. Thanks for that Mitchell.

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