Loving and being grateful for our parents is a way to love ourselves.
This weekend is Mother’s Day in the United States (Sunday) and Parents Day in South Korea (Saturday). These holidays remind us of the love our parents gave to us and of what they sacrificed to care for us throughout our lives. They are an opportunity for us to show our gratitude toward them in whatever way we can. We may spend time with them if they’re nearby and/or send gifts, or we may keep them in our thoughts and prayers if they’ve passed on.
My own parents were a big support in my life, especially my father. Throughout my life, he always believed in me, even when I was still struggling to get my bearings. He was someone with whom I could always have deep conversations and who was my spiritual friend. Both of my parents have left this world, but I still feel them by me, giving me support and love.
Of course, not every memory of our parents may be happy ones. We may have learned harsh lessons from them, or they may have not lived up to the ideal we have of parents. Many families have disintegrated, and we may still have traumatic scars from our families being broken apart.
Despite this hurt, I believe it’s still important for us to be grateful to our parents in the same way we are grateful to be alive, that we are grateful for the air that we breathe and the sun that warms us. Our parents did what they could, and in the end, we are here because of them.
Loving our parents is an extension of loving ourselves; it’s a step on the way to a greater love—the unconditional love of all things. Forgiving and being grateful for our parents despite any pain we’ve experienced can heal ourselves and open our hearts to the grander being that we really are, for unconditional love is our true nature.
Whether you have a wonderful relationship with your parents or you have some lingering pain you haven’t been able to let go of, try this meditation for connecting with your parents on a deeper level and expressing your gratitude to them for giving you life.
First, Connect with Yourself
From where can true love and healing come from? The most authentic love and healing comes from our most authentic self, which we can feel in our heart.
First sit with your back straight and tap around your chest with your fingertips, palms, or fists. Tap strongly enough so that you can feel the vibration your tapping makes deep into your chest. As you tap, exhale any stuffiness or tension you have out through your mouth. Tapping this way will help you release any sadness that covers your heart and help you feel your heart more deeply.
After about five minutes of tapping, rest your palms on the center of your chest. Bring your awareness to the center of your chest, where there is an energy center associated with love and emotional well-being, also called your heart chakra. Keep returning your focus to this point, bringing it deeper and deeper, as your breathing and tension gradually calm without effort.
As you quietly look within, listening attentively, you may feel different emotions, think many thoughts, and may even see colors or images in your mind’s eye. You may not even feel anything at all, experiencing numbness instead. These phenomena you experience come from the energy surrounding your heart center. They are covering the pure energy of love that is who you really are. Keep experiencing them as you focus on this area and letting them go right away, digging deeper inside your heart. (You can lower your hands if your arms become tired.)
Continue this until you feel lighter, clearer, or calmer in your chest. You may even feel love bursting out of your chest if your heart opens enough.
Then, Connect to Your Parents
Still focusing on your heart, imagine your parents entering the space of your heart chakra, one at a time. At first, experience any emotions that come up when they come into your heart space. Just watch these emotions as they come and go.
Then tell each parent everything you want to say to them. Don’t hold anything back, whether it’s positive or negative. Don’t judge yourself or feel guilty; completely express yourself in this safe space and time.
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Forgive your parents for any way you feel they’ve wronged you. Also, ask their forgiveness for any way you were not completely loving or courteous to them, whether you felt it was deserved or not.
Finally, Thank Your Parents
At this point, gratitude toward your parents may flow naturally from your heart. But even if it doesn’t, honor the purest part of you by thanking your parents. Thank them for giving you life and for doing the best they could in their circumstances and with their abilities. As much as you thank your parents, treat your own life, and life itself, as precious. From gratitude toward your parents can grow self-respect, and the desire to seek greater meaning and purpose for your life, if you don’t have them already.
Then send the love in your heart to your parents, letting that love heal the bonds between you and letting the love in your heart become bigger and stronger in the process.
Finish the meditation with three deep breaths.
How do you feel? I hope you can share what you experienced through the meditation with me. And I hope you can honor your mother and parents this weekend with real love and gratitude.
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