Begin within. Practice daily mindful meditation. This shifts your internal interchange in your inner tripartite mind. Your thinking process is trifold, first identified by Freud as your tripartite mind. He observed that decisions were made through:
- An inner interaction;
- Between your inner id — primitive wants and desires;
- Your inner rule holder, your superego;
- Your inner mediator — your ego role to balance the id and keep the superego happy.
Too much emphasis on the id ruling your decision-making results in a person who is self-centered, poor at negotiating with peers and, in general, a taker in society.
Too much emphasis on the superego ruling your decision-making results in a person who is bossy, rigid, and poor at navigating in relationship.
Balance is found in emphasizing the mediator role of the ego, balancing inner needs and society’s rules.
Mindful meditation increases your ability to respond in real-time and allow your instinctive sensory cues to guide you, and it increases your internal sense of empowerment, inner sense of strength and your inner security.
This is a powerful lesson in parenting. Modeling balance in real time allows your child to get into the flow of life and be happy. Modeling health and inner strength and security begets these qualities in your child.
Your response to tragedy and difficulty with joy, patience, mindfulness and a sense of inner security offers direction for your child to develop his or her own sense of inner strength and security. Forgiveness, mindfulness and focus on what matters are important keys to this process.
Here is an example of this process of modeling in action. This happened as a result of my authentic modeling of powerful inner security and acting in a way that moves a situation forward.
Several years ago, I was writing an important lecture. I was working quickly, at my kitchen table, while my 5-year-old daughter was drawing next to me. I had created some complicated graphs about the power of mindful meditation and its effects on the brain. When I attached the file to send it to my colleague at the university, I only had 30 slides; 35 slides had been lost. The information was due in two hours. I had lost two days of work.
When I realized my situation, I took a deep breath. I searched for a backup. I was unsuccessful in finding them anywhere. So I emailed my colleague to let her know the situation and sent the slides I still had saved. My daughter observed my behavior and my demeanor. What she heard me say was, “I don’t want to waste my time getting upset, as it wouldn’t help me with my problem.” I restarted writing the slides. I was able to finish the project in 90 minutes. I focused on the process with faith and inner security. I was redoing what I had already done, so it took less time to complete.
Maintaining a sense of mindfulness and letting go of my negative emotional reaction, freed me to choose mindfully a helpful response and I had more energy to get it done. Everything turned out well.
But here’s the important part of this story.
Two days later, my daughter was working on her computer to draw a picture for her friend for her birthday. She worked on it for an hour. She was bringing it to her friend’s house for her birthday that day. Just as we were getting organized to leave, she went to print the picture and there was nothing to print. She had forgotten to save the final product. My daughter looked at the blank page and, rather than crying or throwing a tantrum or making a big deal, she said, “I don’t want to waste my time on getting angry. I’m just going to go back to the computer and redo it, just like Mommy did with her seminar.” She returned to the computer and did another picture, and she was happy with her gift.
Studies show that mindful meditation changes the shape and lighting up of the amygdala and hippocampus, and it increases the attitude of altruism, collaborative, mutually positive mindful response to situations and reduces that automatic firing of reactivity that causes defensive reactions. The amygdala integrates emotional meaning with perception and experience. The hippocampus integrates short-term memory storage and retrieval.
All of these physical activities within your brain are shifted to the positive through mindful meditation. This allows for a shift from reactivity to proactivity.
When you practice mindful action, compassionate understanding and compassionate discipline, loving kindness, forgiveness, courage, inner strength and bravery, you change the world around your behavior. You promote a healthy spirit in your child, which will lead to mindful action and physical health. A healthy spirit is one where children have flexibility, resilience, inner strength, courage, inner drive and a sense of connection to the fabric of life.