My son is almost 5. He’s a typical little boy; loves army guys, superheros, lego, starwars, ninja turtles and of course his cute and cuddly puppy and best friend Leo. He also loves himself, believes in past lives and reincarnation and regularly comments with wisdom way beyond his years. He is a blessing for whom I give thanks every day. He is also my soul mate and my greatest teacher.
My first spiritual experience with my son happened only hours after he was born. During the one and only night’s stay I had in hospital after the birth, I had a profound experience which lasted albeit a second but has stayed with me ever since and no doubt will remain with me forever. It was in the early morning hours of darkness that, after being handed my tightly swaddled baby from a loving nurse who had taken him for a cuddle, I looked into his eyes and was hit with an overwhelming sense that it wasn’t the first time we’d met. Stranger still was the fleeting but incredibly emotionally moving moment that for a split second I felt completely vulnerable and somehow exposed. It’s hard to put into words, but in that split second I sensed myself as a child. Tears sprang to my weary eyes, and as the moment passed I was left with a deep sense of connection, that although I did not fully understand, as I stood lost in my child’s eyes I nonetheless embraced.
Motherhood swept me away, and it would be some 2 years later that I would be reminded of that precious moment. One morning, whilst happily sitting in his chair at the breakfast bar munching on a piece of vegemite toast, without even a glance my son said “Mummy, you knew me before.” Somewhat surprised, as much by his timing as his words, I asked him “before what?” To which he casually replied “before I was here.”
There was a short pause, he then looked up at me and matter-of-factly added, “but not Dad.” As he resumed eating his toast I stood contemplating the conversation that had just taken occurred, and in an instant was taken back to the moment in the hospital. My feeling of recognition suddenly became clear.
Not long after I was in the company of a lady who read Turkish coffee and tarot. On seeing my young son she instantly said “oh this is not your first life with your son; you have journeyed together before.” Without giving me a chance to respond she followed up with, “but not your husband.”
My son and I have always been exceptionally close. As an only child who has enjoyed having a stay at home mum we have been somewhat glued together. We have no immediate family; there are no relatives to share in his upbringing. For us there is no village, and so our closeness is explainable, and yet there has always been what I feel to be an extra edge to our bond.
The concept of reincarnation is not new to me, and it’s of no real surprise that my son has journeyed through life before. From an early age he has shown great consideration and compassion well beyond his comprehension. He apologizes without prompting, often bringing something up from days before that he remains sorry for, deeply concerned that he may have offended me. He falls into line almost instantly at the mere thought that I might be upset with him, pleading for my forgiveness and love as though somehow he feels he cannot live a second without it. It’s often said by our friends that he is like ‘a little old man’ with so much wisdom, that he must indeed by a wise old soul who has visited the earth many times.
The Honour of Parenting
Whilst it remains for me a wonderful spiritual demonstration that we are the souls that I have always believed us to be, perhaps the biggest impact that it’s had on me is the way in which I continue to parent this little soul. I often wonder what our relationship might have been in the previous lifetime that we shared and as such I cannot look upon him as simply my son. I cannot consider him ‘just a child’, I cannot treat him as though I am all knowing and he knows nothing. I am driven by his words to hold a deep respect for him that I must honour irrelevant of his age and size.
The practicalities of this are wide reaching. I find that connecting to my son in this way allows me to access more patience, more loving kindness and compassion, particularly in situations where such qualities are often tested and lacking. As a result my parenting has led me to a deeper and more critical understanding of not just my son but of myself and of life as a whole.
I realise that he is my soul mate, and that as such he has chosen to incarnate through me not just to learn what I have to teach him but to teach me about myself and remind me of that which I already know but have forgotten. Children are naturally so much closer to their spiritual roots until we teach them otherwise, and if we are willing to drop our egos and allow ourselves to see them not just through the eyes of a parent, but through the eyes of the soul then we stand to reconnect to ourselves to spirit and to life.
Many years ago I was led to the beautiful words of Kahlil Gibran and in particular to the heartfelt wisdom that is his perspective on our children. His words sum up and communicate this concept far more than I could possibly hope to or have the talent to convey. And so I will end my story with these beautiful words in the hope that they resonate with you as they did with me, and that you will allow them to penetrate your own soul and impact the ways in which you lay your eyes upon your own children.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they do not belong to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of to-morrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but not seek to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that his arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet.