Mindfulness Training Week 8 – Simple yet profound lesson on parenting

I am writing this update very late this week – I was unwell for a few days and that made it difficult to spend time blogging. However, I do not want to break the weekly pattern. Hence, here is a short update about 2 mindful experiences that I had: One led me to experience bliss in a very mundane activity like bathing and another one led me to realize one of the most profound lessons on parenting – one that I realized only a few years back, but still keep stumbling in implementing it.

After a period of doubt last week, this week started off a lot better. The first 2-3 days I was doing 100+ PQ reps and I was able to have a mindful day. However, the rest of the week threw a lot of challenges on my mindfulness quest and boy, I did fall! I experienced a number of difficult and trying situations which led me to becoming even more grateful for what I have been blessed with – I want to write more on this. But given that this week is extremely tight for me, I would write about this next week, God willing. Now a quick note about the 2 mindful experiences:

On Monday or Tuesday, I was jolted from deep sleep by the alarm. Normally when I wake up, my body is relaxed and mind is calm. Not this day – body was in a severe discomfort and mind immediately began the chatter, touring me through the events of the past and anxiously reminding me of the tasks I have to get done that day. I entered the bathroom to take bath so that my body could cool down and my mind would also quieten a bit. But midway through the bath, I realized that I am NOT ‘in’ the bath. As soon I noticed this, I brought my attention back to the physical senses in the body during bath – sound of water coming from the shower, coldness of water, the way it is hitting various parts of my body, etc. After a few minutes, I felt so relaxed and the mind was totally quiet – there was no chatter.  I don’t have words to describe this blissful state – One has to experience this to understand the joy. And that is one of the beautiful benefits of mindfulness – even ordinary experiences can give us joy if we are present fully. Glory be to God, the designer of all earthly experiences!

Yesterday I took my two youngest kids for morning walk after the dawn prayer – this has been a routine for me for a while. But I was doing after a long gap. The road was wet with water as there was heavy rain the previous night. I saw a stone in the middle of the road and I was reminded of the saying of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) about removing stones or thorns from the road that could disturb others. I picked up the stone, threw it and continued walking. I wanted to tell my 4-year old son about this good habit, but did not as he was walking ahead of me.

After we went a few meters ahead, I saw him bending down, picking up another stone and throwing it on the side. I was so amazed to see this; I did not even realize that he noticed. Children are so mindful, especially of the actions of their parents. They watch every single action and they pick it up consciously or unconsciously. I was reminded of a beautiful saying from one of my teachers Yawar Baig in his book Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rasoolullah: People do not listen with their ears but with their eyes. I have experienced this insight first-hand once more yesterday morning.

The best way to teach our kids to do some good deeds is to do it ourselves in all sincerity. We don’t even have to mention it to our kids – it is a matter of time and we will see it reflected in them. It may not work 100% of the times, but the run rate is lot better than all the telling-and-yelling that we do as parents. And that also reminds me of the frightening truth that the source for the many, if not most, of the undesirable behaviours that I see in my children are me and my wife – May the Almighty, All-wise guide us both to put this simple yet profound insight into action every day.

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