Help for Your Spiritual Journey

Literature for SELF-Discovery

A TRIBUTE TO MOTHER

by Paul Hourihan, edited by Anna Hourihan

The mother is still the center of the family and the central figure of society despite the radical changes in our society in the past fifty years. On her depends the new generation, their character and education. If she doesn’t bring up the children well, where are they going to turn?

The character of the mother is essential, more essential than anything for the advancement of society. So all societies have been careful in the past—although not so careful in the present—to make sure that the character of the mother is preserved. It is for their protection. So we see that there are ominous changes underway.

Mother Day Among worldly people, the mother is the most ideal person in society: More than anyone else, she is selfless and gives us an example of how we should act toward others. Hopefully, we all know mothers like that—the selfless, caring nurturer. This is the continuing ideal of the mother.

How, then, is the woman, who typically is not a spiritual aspirant, ever going to come into the spiritual life? How are any of us going to reduce the mountain of egoism that we know dominates the world? How are we going to have a manageable burden—not the overwhelming burden that is in society as a whole—to get into spiritual life? Motherhood is one way—the most vital way, whereby the soul must sacrifice itself to others.

The mother gets a taste of her real self in the course of this coercion and she likes it. It is coming through because of the acts of unselfishness. Serving others she feels deep peace within, but she can’t sustain this because she doesn’t know the cause and is not aware of it enough. Nevertheless, to the degree that she is a good mother it keeps coming back and gradually it dawns on her what is going on.

In fact, motherhood gives the woman a chance to absorb spiritual principles in the most dramatic school of all—the family: the close and intimate interaction with other lives. Remember in her, as in all of us, the soul is the reality. For the soul, this is the chief purpose of motherhood—the opportunity to grow spiritually. That is why she has become a mother—not primarily to serve Nature, or to serve society, which is an incidental role. The chief role is for her soul’s growth and if in bearing children this helps society and Nature, all to the good.

Raising and teaching children—even one child—is a miracle. It is a wonder how one child can be raised—every day different in relating to him or her, and attempting to learn priceless things from the experience. It’s true enough that few mothers see their roles in that light—of education. As a result, few learn what is to be learned in that unique area of karmic growth.

We see that this means she will make a commitment to the spiritual path while a mother. She may not do it consciously, in an enlightened way, but still as it were, in a dream-like state she is pulled into the spiritual consciousness. The opportunity as a mother coerces the woman day by day to acts of tenderness.

Typically, she is not saintly. There are times when she feels egoism in its various manifestations; she’s not always in the mood for tenderness, sympathy, compassion and love. But to the degree she feels egoism to that degree she cannot succeed in motherhood. She has to be motivated as much as possible to generate these ideas out of the deep, dark well of her past. Of course, she complains a lot, as she should from a creaturely standpoint, but the more she complains, the more she will feel there is no solution. Even though she doesn’t always like it, she must surrender the ego if she is to become a true mother.

With this unique opportunity to grow spiritually, may the mother raise the children for her soul’s sake—for the sake of the Divine. May she see her tasks as divinely ordained. May she accept the mandate given her not as a duty so much as an opportunity—an opportunity unrivaled in human affairs.

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