I could have learned to be just like my mother. Though as a child I did not want to be like her, we unconsciously pick up the qualities of our first caregivers and live them out even in our repulsions—and our repulsions can bind us even more than our attractions. If not for Baba I may have ended up as she did. He saved me from that fate. Though my mother met Baba and got shaktipat from him she never did anything to indicate that event had ever occurred.
For the last several years of her life, my mother lived in an assisted living facility. The aides and nurses where she lived were astonishing because they did not fight her. They allowed her to be “Anastasia”, a princess. And so my mother was as rude and mean to each of them as she had always been to me. As for me, I had reached an acceptance of “not counting” in her world. I was her dutiful daughter that was not to be acknowledged. And yet I continued to care for her every day to the end.
Why? Because Baba taught me service.
I continued to care for my mother because she is me and I have lessons to learn. If I were to fight her, I would be her. So I used the principles of Tai Chi Chuan with her. I wanted to know that if our interactions were taped I would be revealed as clean and clear. She did not understand or know how I live and for Whom I live. She scorned my life. If anything, I would rather have faced benign neglect than her derision for living a rather stupid life from her point of view. To her I was boring and trivial, while she was alive and charismatic. I did not compete or even disagree. When I called her every day for the last ten years of her life, I let her have it her way, and that left me at peace and able to be in relation with her without her attacking me and erasing my line. She didn’t know my line.
There was no love, care or respect from her because she just never knew or wanted those things. I knew that, and so did not look to her for them. Sun Tzu says know yourself, know your terrain and know whom you are playing with. I knew and was okay.
Many years ago in regard to another person I was accused of enabling when I knew I was serving the situation. My strategy changed when serving the situation came to be more about speaking up. I wanted to serve the situation and still call things what they were.
I only hope some of the people who took care of my mother were doing just that. Unfortunately, some aspired to be like my mother, or at the very least looked up to her.
I am sorry for those people. Baba taught me to see the Truth and not be deceived. To speak the truth and act appropriately. To speak the truth and not get angry. So I loved her not for how she was but for who she was in Truth. I loved, in her, God’s willingness to play such a part in order to teach us all. We just need not to forget who we truly are and walk down the street like Mohini looking for a man.
In this way I loved, cared for, and respected my mother. She was a great teacher for me. Where is she now? Hopefully laughing at the part she just played. More likely all ready to return, and to learn the kindness that she unwittingly taught others. When I saw her body, it was clear that she was refusing to leave it even though it was dead. I kissed her on the forehead and told her, “Go now and learn kindness”. She will learn. She has no choice. In the end, we all must learn to Love.
The greatest lesson I learned from my mother came in the form of the challenge she posed. Could I be kind and true around someone who was unkind, who didn’t love, who had hurt me and would continue to be hurtful? Thanks to Baba, I was able to meet that challenge. Thanks to my mother, I learned that kindness comes from within.
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