Dr. Deepak Chopra, the well-known author and lecturer on East-West spirituality has once again translated fundamental Eastern spiritual laws into easy to read Western language.
The book is addressed to parents who wish to raise children with values that both satisfy spiritual needs and create the experience of abundance. The book explores specific ways to practice the Seven Spiritual Laws as a family, how to convey these laws to children of different ages, and how to embody the laws in age-specific activities each day of the week. It states the profound truth that success depends on who you are, not what you do. Parents are invited to take up the challenge of being their children's spiritual teachers on a daily basis, in an intimate and interactive way.
THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS
The basic premise of the book is that there is an invisible intelligence behind the visible universe that operates through Seven Spiritual Laws. Those laws can be applied to everything, as shown by the phenomenally successful book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, which is addressed to adults who want to succeed in life. When applied to parenting, the Seven Spiritual Laws are phrased in a way that can be understood by a child. The laws are:
- Everything is possible.
- If you want to get something, give it.
- When you make a choice, you change the future.
- Don't say no - go with the flow.
- Every time you wish or want, you plant a seed.
- Enjoy the journey.
- You are here for a reason.
The key to the success of the Seven Spiritual Laws is based on the belief that when you consciously align your life with spiritual law, you are asking the universe to support you with success and abundance.
The biggest challenge for parents is conveying each of the Seven Spiritual Laws not as a rule or rigid principle, but as their own way of looking at life. To be spiritual teachers to their children, parents have to value spirituality as a skill in living to be taught daily. The frailties and strength of our own spiritual lives come out in the way we decide to parent.
The main part of the book is a practical guide on how to integrate the Seven Spiritual Laws into the family routine. Dr. Chopra outlines a daily program that contains three activities that help focus the family's attention on the law for that day. The culmination is dinnertime, when family members talk about what they've done, observed and learned during the day.
APPLICATION OF THE LAWS
A typical Sunday routine would unfold as follows: On Sundays, the family pays attention to the First Spiritual Law that everything is possible. Basically, this law teaches to look within for guidance. In child parlance, it becomes: Listen to your heart, your heart knows, set your heart on being all you can be. Explain that "heart" is not another word for emotion, but it is a spiritual center.
The three activities for Sunday are meditating, appreciating nature's wonder and beauty, and learning to see new possibilities in familiar situations. In the first activity the parents set a natural example by practicing 20 minutes of meditation at least once a day - if possible, twice a day - inviting the child to sit quietly for few minutes at a time. This moment of sitting quietly teaches the child to practice listening to her heart.
In the second activity, the child learns that creativity can be seen in any natural setting. For example, during an outdoor excursion, the beauty of nature can make the child wonder about the perfection of a flower or dream while watching the infinite shapes of passing clouds. In these simple ways, the child may feel that he is a part of nature. The magic of the moment can be translated as a spiritual experience -- everything in the universe is interconnected.
The third activity is to teach children to reach for something new in a well-known situation. By asking them the simple question, "Is there another way of looking at this?" the parent opens a doorway to unbounded possibilities. In this shift of perception, the child learns to be non-judgmental -- not labeling other people and their ways "right" or "wrong." The spiritual law, Everything Is Possible, teaches the child that in personal relationships it is possible for people to change, that nothing is static, especially not human beings.
As each day of the week unfolds, the family applies another Spiritual Law, and becomes familiar with Eastern spiritual principles such as karma and dharma, which are becoming mainstream in our Western language and consciousness. Parents learn along with and as much as their children in this spiritual program.
In conclusion, Dr. Chopra explains that parent and child are both immortal souls, that cannot be created or destroyed. The difference is the roles that each have chosen to play temporarily on the earthly plane. This also introduces the belief in re-incarnation.
In the role of child, the all-knowing, immortal spirit has decided to be a weak, vulnerable infant, totally dependent upon the parent's help. That role is played with total conviction and dedication.
As a parent, we can choose to be our child's spiritual teacher and guide. We then become open to the person within the child. Through the belief that the family is a communion of souls, daily life for parents and children can be a true spiritual journey, leading each member to success and fulfillment.
A GARDEN OF EDEN
This book is a beautiful and inspiring guide to what life can be in an earthly Garden of Eden, where parents breathe the Seven Spiritual Laws and breastfeed them in a most natural way to their babies. The book is for people who consider parenting their biggest challenge and being a parent a privilege.
This book is for parents who know intuitively that they can guide their children but never control them, that love is deeper than surface events, that life is never certain and that it is a journey of soul-making which happens under the watchful eye of Spirit. If you are on this journey, and are blessed with children, then Dr. Chopra's book is a useful, practical guide for spiritual parenting.
For parents not familiar with those spiritual concepts, and who might pick up this book 'by chance,' it may plant the seeds for the beginning of a spiritual journey, where both parents and children learn and grow together.