An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Posts Tagged ‘tiger-tiger’

Little tigers: dealing with doubts and fears

In Healing, parenting, Story telling on January 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

“Our doubts are traitors and we lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt” Shakespeare.

The above is my favorite line from Shakespeare. I’ve used it a number of times to put my doubts into perspective. Currently, I’m exploring children’s stories which contain wisdom, teachings for character building and spiritual principles. I realise everything I want to teach my children has to be lived through example for it to be meaningful for them.

Last night we read ‘Tiger-Tiger, Is it true?: Four questions that make you smile again’ by Byron Katie and and Hans Wilhelm. The four essential questions which are the basis of Katie’s work are explored from a child’s perspective on a bad day; ignored by parents at breakfast, no friends to play with at play time & not liked by anybody. The four questions and turn around show Tiger-Tiger that it was his thinking all along that gave him this perspective and in fact the opposite was true in reality– so they investigate: a paradigm shift is created.  The four questions Katie suggests we ask, are

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

Followed by the turn around with examples.

These are not questions addressed to our intellectual minds (intellectual as in our rational minds and not in the higher sense of the word) – there is little point in asking the questions unless you can sit with them in honest inquiry and allow the answers to surface. In a reply to a question on why the person doesn’t feel a shift Katie wrote: “To simply turn thoughts around keeps the process intellectual and is of little value. The invitation is to go beyond the intellect. The questions are like probes that dive into the mind, bringing deeper knowledge to the surface. Ask the questions first, and then wait. Once the answers have risen, then do the turnarounds. The surface mind and the deeper mind (I call it the heart) meet, and the turnarounds feel like true discoveries.” They offer a sort of Socratic reasoning which cuts through our defensiveness and conditioning to penetrate to our essence.

Maybe children with their open minds and hearts find the work easier than adults (who often find it difficult to get out of their heads) ? Katie has done this work with children and teenagers.  Here is an example of the type of dialogue that can cut through layer of mind and allow us too see, with clarity, what IS as it IS.

I see a ‘spiritual’ education providing children the space to explore awareness (through breath for example), presence  and the development of their higher cognitive faculties through introspective work such as Katie’s.  In one school I know of, set up by a spiritual community, student would start the day with a minute of silence through the monitoring of their pulses by touching their wrists – counting 60 beats. How we can use of imagery and symbolism of wisdom stories our tradition is filled with, leading to introspective work, remains to be explored. – And it may mean parent and child working together with each other as mirrors for each other.

If your thoughts are a rose,
You are a Rose Garden;
If your thoughts are a thorn,
You are fuel for the fire.
Rumi