My mum may be partly responsible for our safety, since she has devoted much of her life to the banning of nuclear weapons. Here’s a story about her, as part an article that my friend Asandra requested for her blog in the Miami Examiner here http://bit.ly/divinemom.
One day in the early 90s I was visiting my darling mother in England, and we were actually having tea in a teashop (which you Americans might expect us to do, but which we had never done before!). All of a sudden, during a lull in the conversation she asked me–she actually asked me!:
“Katie, what is it that you do?”
Now, you might think she would have asked before, since I had been doing “it” already for 20 years. But since I had defected from the family’s academic tradition of being atheist scientists, and become instead some kind of spiritual weirdo, my family operated a sort of “don’t ask, don’t be told” policy. So this was a very exciting moment for me! Perhaps I would get some validation from mummy! I knew I only had one or two sentences, at most, before she would glaze over, so I stammered out something about “it’s kind of like psychology but more focused in the body.”
She froze, and fixed me with one of those looks. After a few beats she spoke in a loud, shocked voice:
“The BODY?… WHATEVER FOR?”
If you are born as a Komodo dragon, and mother gazes into your eyes, you stay very quiet. Because when mom gets “that look” in her eyes, it isn’t maternal lovie-dovieness, but hunger. Komodos––and many other reptiles–are cannibals who eat their young.
But we are human beings, and we cried when we were separated from mommy, and, in a deep sense, we are still crying. We are mammals (from the latin mamma, or breast), and who we are has everything to do with our mothers, and the bond of oneness that we formed–or didn’t–with her in our early years. We evolved past our reptilian phase by developing a “mammalian” or “limbic”brain which makes us very emotional creatures. Our bond with our mother makes us who we are, literally: all our physical and emotional systems are designed to develop in a healthy way by what’s called “limbic regulation.” For example, experiments have shown that by snuggling with mom we get our heartbeat strengthened much more effectively than if we are simply placed next to a heater simulating mother’s warmth.
More to the point, our bond with mommy lays a basis for us to feel safe in life, and connected, one with our source, our Great Mother.
Or not. Mothering is imperfect, especially in our Western world. I don’t need to go on and on about this: we all know it. Since many of us didn’t have a perfect bond with Her (and of course this is a cultural problem–there is no blame), we find ourselves as adults, in a wild and crazy search to restore and repair this bond. Our relationships are all about this, yet often reflect the tears in this primal bonding. In other words, in trying to heal our feeling of separation, we attract partners who resemble the more challenging aspects of how we experienced our mothers–engulfing, avoidant, or the most crazy-making: ambivalent (running hot and cold). So often, instead of healing, we simply reiterate our wounds.
And many of us turn to spirituality. We feel a deep separation in our core and, perhaps after trying and failing to resolve it with “worldly” fixes, seek a transcendent source to heal and love us. This is right and good. In fact, you could almost say that we might have chosen difficult mothering experiences to drive us onto the spiritual path. Ammaji was an abused child.
Where I’ve seen a problem arise, for myself and for hundreds of people I’ve worked with, is that as in relationships, we can often unwittingly reiterate our wounds through the spiritual teachers and paths we are drawn to. In my case, for example, as you might have guessed, my mother was not very affectionate or “hands-on.” This was not her fault; it was what she learned. Yet it caused me to seek solace in a spiritual path with a guru, in my 20s, that took me completely out of my body. I was a full-vows monk for a decade, and lived in a kind of disembodied “higher consciousness” that was really a sort of cosmic dissociation.
Eventually, I crashed, and spent my 30s coming back in and meeting the body and painbody. Eventually in my 40s I had a breakthrough experience in which I found myself swimming for several days in an infinite ocean of energy. I found that I could surf its waves. It told me to call it “motherwave.” I discovered directly that the All That Is, God/Goddess, wanted to include the body and emotions. to mother me palpably and directly, without any intermediary, such as a partner or a drug. When I began teaching this I called it Motherwave, for obvious reasons. Now after 15 years, my realizations have evolved and it’s called The Infinite Wave, or i-Wave. The first i-Wave training is about to happen in June (2010).