I explain in this video, which is the first session of my global book club series on my new book: THE AWAKENED FAMILY. Click here to watch: https://www.facebook.com/DrShefaliTsabary/videos/1259662554074513 The following are the key excerpts transcribed from the video:
As a therapist, I begin to notice how family after family, no matter how much love, no matter how great the income, no matter how connected people were to their careers, to their purpose; there was a fundamental obstruction in the ability for the family to connect to each other and mostly, the parents to connect to their children.
What was this fundamental obstruction between parents and children?
It is and only this: the rise of the parental ego.
Now ego doesn’t just mean in laymen’s term, as in a narcissism or the superiority complex. Ego, and I’m going to read to you how I define the ego. And this you can find in Part One, Chapter One on page seven. “I see the ego as more like a picture of ourselves we carry around in our head.”…a picture of ourselves we carry around in our head. So just in that sentence is the understanding that the ego is not just about supremacy.
The ego is about a falsehood…a false idea of who it is we are, who it is all of us are… a picture, a falsehood, an illusion. A picture we hold of ourselves that is far from who we are in our essential being. All of us grew up with a false picture of who it is we are. This self-image, it’s an image you see, it is not the true self. The ego, is not the true self. It is a falsehood, a-an image we begin to form when we are young based largely on our interactions with our parents. You, as a parent whether you like it or not, are perpetuating your own falsehood but more tragically we are perpetuating the falsehood within our children.
It is us parents, who are divorcing our children from their authentic self. They will grow up forever with a false picture of who it is they are. They will spend their entire life striving, searching for their true self. You cannot keep your child away from their true self. You will make their journey back to-to their true self arduous, painful, and dysfunctional. That is what we are doing as parents and that is what I discovered we are doing when I began to observe family after family as a clinical psychologist, as a therapist. But guess what? Then I became a parent and I had done years of meditation and I had three or four degrees in clinical psychology. I thought I was free from surely doing this to my child but guess what?
The ego doesn’t follow the dictates of a sharp or keen intellect. The ego doesn’t follow your intellectual constructs. Your ego only follows your own awakening. If you are awakened to the ego, which means you are deeply in attunement and awareness of the ego, only then can you break free from the ego. So all of you, like me, may have an illusion that “oh, let me just understand this better. Let me just go into my head and intellectually understand what it is Dr. Shefali is saying. And you may look for the acronym? And-and what’s the strategy and what’s the intervention? Let me understand it better.” That’s what I thought going in as a parent. I thought with five degrees and twenty years of meditation, I knew how to handle this. But when I became a parent, the force of the ego that rose up in me and rises up in me every single day, as it rises up in you, is only because we have been doing it wrong.
We have been doing it from the head…from the intellect and every parenting book out there fortifies the wrong thing. It strengthens the wrong muscle. It makes us more deluded. It teaches us that there are interventions, that there are strategies, that there are techniques, and that there are tools. And yes there may be but none of them will work out just like in my clients, I thought that they had checked off every checklist: financial stability, marital stability, intellectual stability, connected to purpose, connected to career…why then the ego? So you can read every parenting book that talks about strategy and intervention and you can have checked off every checklist in your long checklist of eligibility for having a family but it will not take away from the fact that if you haven’t done your personal work to awaken…and my book, The Awakened Family teaches you step-by-step how to let go of the layers of your false self, your ego…you will not be able to preserve not only your authentic essence but the authentic essence of your children.
This is a process of awakening. I’m inviting you to join me on a global awakening. We are going to awaken together. I have started a global book club on Facebook that you can join. It’s called “The Awakened Family Global Book Club”. Look it up on Facebook and you can ask to be invited and the only thing we ask is that you hold up a picture of yourself with the book and show us that you are.
What I have discovered in my 25 years as a therapist, doing this work…I started this work in my- in my late teens. I was starting psychology in my late teens. I went on to get a master’s in psychology and then a PhD and a couple more master’s. And since then, since 18…19, I’ve been working with-with families, with-with kids, with individuals helping them to awaken. And the only thing I have discovered that stands in our way is the falsehood of ourselves… our ego.
It is our ego that stands in the way between ourselves and our own peace between ourselves and each other. The deep connection that we can have with each other and the connections we have with our children.
We all enter our families with a fundamental fantasy, albeit unconscious. This unconscious fantasy is often around how our children will make us feel.
The purpose we believe our families will serve is that they will help us, not only finish the checklist which is an intellectual checklist, but also serve to fulfill us on a deep, emotional level. When we have the family, we realize, “holy cow…this family is depleting me. This family is causing chaos in my life. I don’t know how to be in a marriage. I don’t know how to be a parent.” And then we divorce, we break up, we fight, we have conflict, we yell. And then we begin to ask ourselves, “Is this why I had a family? This is all I seem to be doing is yelling and screaming and being fearful of what’s going to happen tomorrow.” And then if we are wise and very, very brave, we will then take a pause and look within. And if we look within, we begin to have the sneaky unbelievable realization that we have been sold a bill of goods. We were told, “oh you just need to have love.” “Oh, you just need to have will.” “Oh, you just need to have resilience, commitment, loyalty…and you can have a happy family.” But this doesn’t come to fruition because this was a bill of goods. Every parenting book out there or most of the parenting books out there-not every one of them- attempts to perpetuate a delusion.
We are being sold a lie and this lie…the fundamental premise of this lie is that it teaches us to forget who we authentically are. And because we were raised unconsciously to forget who we authentically are, we are teaching our children without realizing it in the deepest, deepest calling of love to forget who it is they are because we want so badly you see, for our children to fulfill a deep need within us. We want our husbands and our wives to fulfill a deep need within us. And because we are coming, but unconsciously coming from a place of scarcity, it is only natural that we then, overcompensate to scarcity through the ego…through the overcompensation of control, of reaction, of making things right for us.
Therefore, when your child doesn’t turn out as your fantasy because we think they should meet our fantasy but all this is happening at an unconscious level you see? So when our child doesn’t meet the expectation…the unfulfilled fantasy, the unmet longing, that they finish our unfinished business from within, that they fill ourselves from within. Because we expect that, when our child doesn’t do that, what do we do? Only one thing can be done when you’re coming from lack you see… the only thing that can be done is an over compensatory mechanism which goes directly into control. Control is the only thing we can do because we are coming from lack. The danger is that we don’t see this. We are not told this. Parenting books are told “You are right, you parent. You are right; your child is wrong.”
So we are perpetuating this delusion. We are perpetuating the ego within the parental self. As long as this stays in place, you will not-and I know this sounds ominous and a little uh, dire and a little pessimistic- you will not create positive, powerful, empowered, mutual, connected relationships, not only with anyone on the outside, but with yourself. The fundamental forgetting that you and I were raised with, and that is being fed by mainstream culture and by mainstream parenting books, is that we are separate from source, we are separate from oneness, we are separate from you, we are separate from each other, we are separate from our children. This is how you were raised by your parents who was separated from their essence by their parents and this is how we are raising our children because of mainstream culture. When our child or our children do something negative right, they don’t listen to us, they don’t pick up after themselves, they don’t clean themselves, they don’t get a good grade…any manifestation that is against our fantasy, it could be anything, where is the first place you go as a parent? The first place you go as a parent is into fear and it is fear that then, which is another way of saying you are in lack or you are in scarcity, that creates control. And because you believe that this is okay to do, it’s okay to control your children you see because you are separate from your children. You are separate from your children. In that moment, you separate from your children. This is the falsehood. This separation will continue unless you awaken.
I am helping change the parenting paradigm so that we no longer look at our children as the ones that need to be fixed unless we have first looked at ourselves as the ones that need to awaken. So the next time your child does something negative and goes against your grain, if you are powerful enough to take that pause and say, “what is it about me? , you will shift the entire dynamic in, not only your own consciousness, but in your child’s consciousness; not only in your child’s consciousness…in your teacher’s consciousness and we will change the world one conscious moment after another. This is not about perfection, this about remembering that we are living in delusion and the delusion is that we are separate, that our children are lesser than us; that the other man who believes in a different God or a different religion is lesser than us; that there is such a thing as “lesser than us”. This is a delusion. So every parenting book out there that feeds you the intervention, that gives you the strategy, that tells you the technique to discipline your child is perpetuating the delusion that we are separate.
As long as you feed into that, without awakening from within, you can do the strategy if you are an awakened being but you cannot do the strategy if you are an unawakened being because if you do a strategy from an unawakened awareness, you are perpetuating the delusion that your child, the other X Y or Z, the Muslim, the Jew, the Catholic, the Democrat, the Republican…I don’t care who the other is, but most preciously, our children are lesser than us. This delusion is what I seek to annihilate, to eradicate, to destroy, to burn, to abolish. In my –in my movement, in my book The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting, this should not be a revolution. Ancient wisdom has already told us that this is nothing new that we have just forgotten what we need to remember every moment of our lives that our children and we, our external and internal, are one. This is nothing new. I should not be calling it a revolution. I certainly shouldn’t pretend like I am the leader of this revolution. I’m just reminding you that we need to undergo a revolution. I am not deluded to think that I am creating something new…hardly, I’m just helping you go back to what is ancient and lies rested,
If you are not willing to learn a new way, then we might not-we might as well not finish this conversation. This is a new mainstream. This is a new way of living and of awakening. So the mandate, as I call it, of an awakened family right, you have to have a commitment just like when you get married, you- you pledge vows, you-you pledge a commitment. There needs to be a commitment that you have towards your own inner psyche, to the evolution of this planet really, and most preciously, to your individual children. You need to create a commitment to them. So my commitment that I’ve created in this book that you can share, globally, I call it, “The Mandate of an Awakened Family”.
The time for a new beginning has arrived where family is no longer the chain that binds us. Isn’t it tragic that I can trace every, every source of every conflict in every human being back to the parent-child relationship? I saw it as a clinical psychologist. I see it as a observer of life. I see it as a commentator of what’s happening in the world around us and you can see it too. Omar Mateen, the guy who just executed the greatest mass murder in the history of-of history in terms of mass shootings in Orlando last month, there are recounts of him being plagued as a child. There are uh, collections of his archives in his school record that show his father punishing him brutally and that he suffered from violent fantasies as a-a third grader so where does this start? Not that parents are to blame, I don’t want you to hear blame. I want you to hear a call to consciousness. I want you to hear that your children come-maybe your child did come wired for greater anxiety, wired for greater aggression, wired for violence… but there is always an interaction with you. And you are always empowered to get help. You are always empowered to say “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I don’t know who my child is. I can’t recognize my child. I’m sorry I don’t feel love for my child.” One of the myths I talk about in my book is that you’re supposed to feel this unconditional love and acceptance for your child. That is a myth and because we have the myth firmly in place in culture, parents feel afraid to ask for help. No you are not supposed to know the being of your child.
No, you are not supposed to feel instant connection. It would be great that you do but no, if you don’t, you’re not a bad parent. Ask for help. Every child is not going to match with you. In fact, most children don’t match with us, they come to shutter us from inside, so that we can break down the structures of our ego and awaken. They take us to our knees, they make us humbled – why? Because they are here to break that ego down. The firmer the ego, the more you will be on your knees. Ask for help. This is not about being in shame or living in blame. Ask for help. But family cannot be the chain that binds us.
Our common plague:
What is the core complaint of every adult I see in therapy? “I do not know who I am. I do not have strong connection with my parents.” I ask them “When is the first time you felt shame?” Who do you think they first felt shame with? Not with the bully in the schoolyard. Not with the teacher in the fifth grade.
They first felt shame with their parents.
I remember when I first planted the seeds of shame in my daughter. She was year high and I said to her: “You are so lazy. I can’t believe how lazy you are.” or something, you know, really righteously ignorant. Righteous ignorance of us parents. And my daughter looked at me and she said: “What?” because she has a big mouth as her mommy does, and she said: “What? I can’t believe you would even think you would said those words to me! How did you even think to say those words?”. And I remember stopping in my tracks and I said to myself: “Good for you, Dr. Shefali. You have just planted the first seeds of shame in her. Nobody did it for her – her mother did it.” And becoming awakened to that, with self-compassion, with a little bit of humor – this is not so dire, you know – if you wake up and then take the charges of your own awakening in your own hands, it is a truly blessed moment. And I took that moment to look in the mirror and say to myself: “I became the noose around her neck right now. I became the chain around her authentic self. I put a limit on her limitlessness. I put the stop on her freedom.” I did that. You do that. Let’s look in the mirror. If you look in the mirror, you are blessed. You are awakening not only yourself, but you are paying homage to the evolution of this planet.
A New North
It is through your awakening that the entire planet will shift its axes and a new North will be created. A North that only points to our togetherness, to our common humanity. But it starts, you see, between how you and your child interact with each other, how you look at your child. If you look at your child as an Other, as a “lesser than”, here to fix you, here to change themselves so that you can be better, then you are still one of those same people out there who believe that they can go into a club and shoot someone and annihilate them, so that they feel better about themselves. Or a political leader who believes that we can create division in order to feel better about the America again. Right? These are the illusions. This does not exist. It is a fabrication, it is a construction that will create greater human suffering. So, together, you’re going to read this book with me, not just to change your family, but to alleviate and elevate the suffering to higher consciousness.
The time for a new beginning has arrived, where family is no longer the chain that binds us, but is the earth from which we blossom and the sky we learn to fly.
No matter how the family unit looks, it begins with a parent and child. A relationship, that holds the energy of the Sun.
No matter how the family unit looks, it begins with one parent and a child – a relationship that holds the energy of the Sun, with power to break patterns and resurrect desperate.
The Awakened Family waits for no one.
Start today. It’s all about you. As I always say: “Consciousness waits for no one.” You don’t need company.
The Awakened Family waits for no one.
- It begins to heal right here, right now.
- It recognizes that these sacred bonds can revolutionize the planet.
- We awaken when we become who we truly are.
When you are in an awakened state, your child will rise to wherever their potential takes them, their inherent destiny takes them. Their inherent blueprint takes them, their potency, their inner might, their inner destiny. Once we have connected with ourselves in spirit, creating the space for our children to get in touch with their own spirit becomes the critical objective of parenthood. We believe in mainstream parenting that the critical objective of parenthood is to create happy and successful children. My book will debunk that. We’ll take you to a new North. The new North is that the critical objective of parenthood is that for you to stay so awakened that you will buck naturally, allow your children to stay in deepest connection with who they authentically are.