“Constantly watch over the mind as a parent watches over a child. Protect it from its own foolishness, teaching it what is right. It is correct to think that at certain times you do not have the opportunity to mediate. You must constantly make an effort to know yourself; it is as necessary as your breathing, which continues in all situations. If you do not like certain activities…and give up on them like meditation, you will never learn wakefulness.”
Watching over the mind like a parent needs some extra instructions as far as I am concerned; do so as a kind, compassionate, and nonjudgmental parent, more like an ideal parent. Although I certainly know my parents intended to protect me and guide me and steer me in a direction that was “best” for me, it was from their limited perception at the time, no doubt it was filled with their very own strong emotional experiences that colored their beliefs about the world. As a Father’s Day blog post I thought it fitting to reflect on and honor the wisdom my Dad taught me and challenge the myths passed on that continue to limit me. This is mindfulness inaction and in daily life. The ability to see clearly our thoughts, perceptions, and assumptions that permeate our daily life and show up in our actions and behavior is a practice that is just as important and as fruitful as sitting meditation.
My dad taught us to “work and save” and “never use credit cards” because credit runs faster than a horse. This was wisdom that I witnessed benefited him and our family, unfortunately not all of us followed this wisdom and had to learn the hard way. He also expressed many fears and worries as I wanted to explore the world and viewed the world as a “dangerous place” and viewed places and people that were different more as a threat and something to be conquered, controlled, or avoided. This message I found to be untrue and each time I expand my radius of exploration with places, people, or activities, I always need to challenge these anxieties and fears passed down from him. Sometimes it is difficult to discern what is imparted by him and what is my wise mind. This is my path….to uncover the truth for myself and perhaps you will also find it helpful to take some time to inquire, and use discernment as you notice the messages left over from childhood.
What messages or teachings did my father, or father figures (stepdads, grandpas, teachers, uncles, or big brothers) share that has guided me in a direction of truth?
What messages did I hear from these figures that were limited, perhaps damaging, and what have I learned that allowed me to see the truth and challenge these myths and how does that serve me?
Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and contemplative Fathers Day.
With love and respect,
Patty and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches. Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.