Did you know that in your DNA is code for how long your hair will grow? It doesn’t just continue coming out of your head until you cut it or dye it. It’s a predestined length.
From an evolutionary perspective, there are few species where the infants are as vulnerable as the human infant. As we are raised and acquire skills for survival in this wide, wicked world, there will be a relative distance between how far we end up from the example set by the creatures involved in our rearing. This is not a predestined length.
What separates humans from other animals? People say it’s higher cognitive functioning, some say its spirituality, some others say it’s the ability to communicate. From my perspective, and with all I have learned in what to many is only a short space of time, the difference is the respect for instinct. We are slaves to our basic instincts. For survival, for sex, for solitude. The greatest – and most misinterpreted – burden of being a human of course is that we can override our instincts in favour of logic, desire, ambition, revenge, imagination. The trouble with that override is that when we know more about our supplementary sensations than our primary instinctive ones, the suppression creates a bubble, which creates a boil, which creates a burst. Violence, lust, addiction, depression, obsession.
How well do you really know yourself? How often have you sat in the dark, all alone and considered why you feel about things the way you do, and why that why exists? Where did it come from? And once you have begun understanding the how, why, where, when and who of what’s underneath who you are and get into your true nature, start to consider what you’re going to do with them now. How valuable are these components? Can they be shifted, transformed, removed, replaced? My guess is, not that often have you taken this time. It might seem redundant, or selfish, or scary to do so. You’d be right. It may not have occurred to you at all to do anything other than just continue as you are, questioning nothing, authoring nothing, and growing only reactively.
Chances are you can pinpoint five key people over the course of your life whose influence is evident in the way you conduct yourself now. Two of them, if you are lucky to have both alive and around, will be the contributors of the genetic material that has been remixed to exponentially accelerate your cellular growth. One or more might be other partners for those if they don’t remain committed to each other through your childhood. A couple will be best friends, or similarly-aged relatives. If you have the double-edged fortune of siblings, they’ll likely be exchanging impact with you as well.
It is absolutely a blessing for both of your parents to survive your birth – that still happens by the way, 1 in 20,000 Australian women – and as long as you have each other, the more grateful you should be for how much luck there is in the hand you’ve been dealt. You won’t always that gratitude acutely, just as they won’t. The reason for that is, parenthood is another instinct that humans aren’t always as connected to, nor always promote about other sensations. Parents are the blueprint for a child, but rarely are they the architect. More the surveyor, meant to supervise, quality assure and advise but not to design or build directly. There is a respect that needs to exist between human parents and children the same way as it exists between tigers, between whales, between trees and fruit or flower. The delivery of the basic needs, and an education of the most important instincts required to survive the world both safe and successful.
Parents who are willing to be changed, to be surprised by their children are the best a human can hope for. Parents whose primary purpose for producing new embodied souls is to transform the love between them and drive deeper ripples in the world for the good of everything are starting from 100 and working their way up. Parents who aren’t prepared for mistakes in any other way than they love each other and themselves enough to manage those errors when they inevitably happen are the smarter of the genus. Parents who don’t perceive a child as the product of them, but as an independent expression it is their sacred duty to foster, protect and motivate are the best of the bunch.
Parenthood has been described to me by one of my own parents as planting rows of trees taking painstaking efforts to line them up perfectly, only to discover that when the seeds sprout, they couldn’t be further from the line against which they were planted. It will live on as a most treasured moment between us, and an analogy that for the first time in my life made me wonder if I’d picked up some of my gift for expression from him.