Mediation Practice and Modern Parenting

Well, the youngest son is in bed, the eldest son is watching the Wiggles, and I finally have a chance of chat. You know, one of the primary reasons I think we have to go beyond the ancient monastic traditions is that celibate monks never had to base their practice around child rearing. They faced many challenges but parental distractions were not one of them. Just where do we find the time to take time out for prayer and contemplation?

Many meditation masters recommend twenty minutes, twice a day, but for many parents that sort of leisure can be a luxury. If I wait for a free twenty minute block I can go days without practice. As I have been keen to develop a more structured and rhythmical prayer and meditation practice of late I have found it important to relax expectations about how much time I should set aside. Five minutes a few times a day is more beneficial in the long run than twenty minutes once a week. And I still find twenty minutes on the odd occasion.

In all of this I am conscious of not judging the time I set aside, for to do so could risk projecting onto the kids and that will not do. Mediation should not be viewed as an end in itself – it is merely an aid to growing in Christ-likeness. And learning to love the kids in a Christ-like way is just as much a spiritual discipline as the most regular meditation practice. A holistic meditation approach needs to recognize Christian parenting as a complimentary discipline.

4 thoughts on “Mediation Practice and Modern Parenting”

  1. Matt, thanks for your blog and recent comments you’ve left on Prodigalkiwi(s). I appreciate your comments. There’s always a depth to them that I find useful.
    Hope that you and yours have a joyous and peaceful Christmas. All the best for 2006.

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  2. I have heard that the primary spiritual practice of “Householders” the ancient mystic practices of the Hindu varieu was that of “generosity.” Rather than spending much time in prayer as the ascetics would be expected to do, the primary spiritual practice was the generosity of oneself towards one family and neighbors.

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  3. I think this is so important! I’m sure busy parents can easily feel that Meditation is not for them because they cannot devote chunks of time to it. A true spirituality of parenting as you suggest integrates contact with the Divine not as either/or, but both; through loving the children and partner, and through attentiveness in the moment to God is the way. Christmas blessings to everyone… Andrew+

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  4. Until I read Paul’s comment, I was about to write the same thing. It has been very helpful to me to think in terms of practicing the discipline of generosity in all my relationships. Since the Jesus Prayer and the Gayathri mantra are always going on as if on tape in the back of my mind, I bring one of those mantras’ forward in my mind when I become impatient or when I have a sense of helplessness as a parent. My children are now young adults and that discipline of generosity has become even more important as they make the adult choices of life.

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