I told a couple of colleagues at work that my parents are staying with me. And there is a hesitant pause as they ask with a questioning look – ‘Is that a good thing?’ And one of my colleagues even gave me a look of sympathy – when I offered that they cook food – she said, ‘Well, there you go’. And it wasn’t all bad one of my coworkers said, ‘There is a cultural element to it too.’ Most of them admitted that they love their parents but need their space.
Now let’s switch the conversation from my American counterparts to Indian friends/peers. The conversation is more like my parents are coming for six months; I am driving to Chicago to get my parents. It would be wonderful if I could get permanent residency for my parents. It’s like 180 degrees turnaround in outlook and attitude.
Per Ram Dass’s quote, living with your parents is a test of maturity in all aspects.
Most people think that the definition of a good relationship means there are no fights or resentments – everything is harmonious like in movie endings or fictional drama. If that was the case, then life would not only be boring but also offer no means to work on ourselves. Just like Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to move despite it, Good relationships are not the absence of negativity but the ability to work through it – make peace with where you are. And this is true not only for parents but with any relationship like friends, peers, or spouse – if there is an issue, you have to work through the issue, not the mirror that reflects the issue.
It’s like that story about Abraham Lincoln’s brother – who wrote to Lincoln asking for money to move to a new town so that he could lead a problem-free life. Lincoln gave him the support he needed. And a few months later he got another letter stating that the same problems also exist in this town. Lincoln replied, stating that the problems would exist because he took the source of problems with him – himself. That is the story of our lives and humanity in general. We look for solutions outside instead of looking inside. We always look outside expecting satisfaction and happiness, whereas it can only come from within.
My take on this is that Universe gives us exactly what we need for evolution. And each one of us has things to work out that are inside of ourselves. Isn’t it easier to work them out with people you already know than starting with new people and coming to the same realization that the problem is you and not other people? There is a reason for your life’s person(s) to be in your life. It’s up to you if you want to learn the lesson or not?
Byron Katie talks about three kinds of businesses in the world – mine, theirs and gods. And every time we are feeling unhappy or stressed, we mind somebody else’s business. If somebody is complaining or repeating the same question, that is their business. Your business is your response to that situation. If all of us mind our own business, the world will be a much better place to live in.
Are you working on the actual image or the reflection in the mirror?