"Don't hide behind your compassion," says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, a classic book of timeless wisdom. The Gita emphasizes that we each have a very specific purpose. In Sanskrit, the work we were created to do is called our, Svadharma. Deep down, we know what we are meant to do. Krishna warns us: "Where there is personal attachment, sentimentality arises and we may fail to follow through with our purpose."
I had to really sit with this for a while. Of course, we love our children and families. We put our energy in making our family members healthy and happy, to the best of our ability. There is no denying this and the importance of this.
In the Gita, Krishna's friend and student, Arjuna, does not want to follow through with his life work because of attachments he has to certain family members. He does not want to hurt them to pursue his purpose.
To me this is a familiar story. I don't want to hurt my parents, so I make such and such decision. I don't want to hurt my partner and child, so I decide x, y and z. Out of compassion for them, I neglect some aspect of myself.
This echo's one of my earlier blog entries entitled "Connection." I am still working on connecting with all parts of myself, and living with absolute integrity.
Of course, it is all of our missions to take care of each other, be kind and compassionate to one another. I believe this firmly. The question that arises is how are we being compassionate? Are our actions compromising our integrity? I encourage each of us to dig deep into our souls and notice if there is specific work that we are neglecting as we practice compassion towards others. Do we need to make changes in the way that we give so that we are more aligned with our truths? After all, our offerings to others will hold more power if what we give is an expression of our deepest truths and greatest gifts. Perhaps if we take the time to pause and consider the way we are compassionate, we will ultimately care for each other on deeper levels. When we give in a way that honors our deepest selves, then our compassion has great power to deeply touch another.
When my daughter Mila was about nine months old, and I was spending most of my time caring for and nursing her, I saw a TEDx video entitled "If Only" while she was sleeping. In the video, the speaker was encouraging us to begin our life work now and not grow old and look back and say "if only..."
I find it tricky being a mother. The first two years there was nothing else I wanted to do but mother Mila. Now, I feel differently. She is becoming her own person and I am rediscovering myself. I could fall into a habit of caring for and nurturing her completely. And, I also know deep inside, that it is time for me to bring forth other parts of myself beyond the role of mother. Reflecting on the Gita, I am inspired to not hide behind my compassion. I trust the path looks different for every parent.