A FAMILY of YOUNG SOULS, a reliable replacement for drugs
Addictive thinking....freeing our children begins with freeing ourselves
Elevating Our Sense of the Common Good
Recently I learned that one of the boys who murdered fellow classmates in April at a Littleton, Colorado high school had taken Ritalin, a drug that stimulates the central nervous system of prepubescent children the way amphetamines do in an adult. As society has embraced this drug, word of its power has spread. I hear or read about it every week, and it is provoking profound changes in the way I think and the way I act. Not long ago someone gave me a copy of a report stating that the United States military will not consider for training in the armed services any one who has a history of taking Ritalin. That kind of says it all, even without knowing the specifics.
Less than a year ago I heard a startling comment about Ritalin that continues to pull at my consciousness. It came through rock star Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, the Jim Morrison of his generation, who committed suicide by overdosing on drugs a couple years ago. He reportedly said that heroin was the only drug he could take that would give him the same high as Ritalin did during his childhood.
Accounts like these, evidence dissolving the "benefits" of Ritalin, continue to mount. It is clear that we would all be better off without this drug of choice for those wanting to disconnect disobedient kids by controlling the way their mind functions. There is more than one problem here particularly when you begin to realize we may be drugging our next generation of revolutionaries, geniuses, and mystics. Imagine what might have happened had Ritalin been acceptable when you were a precocious seven year old? Or in the formative days in the life of a Margaret Sanger or a Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi. At some point every great visionary who sees beyond the norm is a society's nonconformist.
What happens if we decide to chemically make them the same as everyone else?
As a teacher of adults, I've heard story after story about youngsters being labeled with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) because they are inattentive or unruly at school, and at home. Increasingly, I am hearing stories of parents who do not meekly accept the currently popular remedy of drugging their eight, six, or even four year olds. These parents do not believe turning their child into someone addicted to drugs is a solution. They are actively seeking the cause of the problem before determining a quick fix of chemical cocktails is morally and even anatomically right.
And they are finding answers.
This is important to our children and to our country because the United States uses 90% of the world's Ritalin supply, giving 75% of that supply to our children. The thinking person has to ask, "Why?" The cause comes back in the helpless cries of parents who say, "I just don't know what to do, doctor" or "I tried everything and nothing worked" or "they won't let him back in school if I don't put him on the drug." In our material affluence, which includes a drug for every physical pain, we have become a weak-willed society. People are right when they say "guns don't kill people, people kill people." That does not absolve from responsibility those who make weapons intended to destroy. Nor does it absolve those who fund and film - in the name of entertainment - violent movies intended to titillate. We must all come out of our self-imposed fog of denial and become personally accountable in order to live in a free society.
These may sound like political views. They are not. They are calls for thinking. One of the greatest insights metaphysical studies has cultivated in me is the difference between "what to think" and "how to think". The former is based on belief, the latter on knowing. The first on cognitive influence, the second on direct experience. The first is essential for the beginner's learning; the second, for apprenticeship. Seen in this light the two are no longer a matter of right or wrong but rather a sequence in the capacity to learn and to teach.
Most of education is centered upon "what to think". So we memorize data - dates, events, places, fiction and nonfiction - well aware that we use so little of the brain's capacity. Some excel, going beyond the norm. They are exercising the faculty of imagination, the realm of "how to think", the vista of the third millennium.
The symbiotic relationship between a parent and child is consciousness-transforming. It is spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical for each. It is as profound for the father as the mother although because her body houses the growing fetus it is easier to measure in the female. For instance, any woman who has been through the experience knows breast feeding sets its own biological clock, demanding punctuality. Go too long without nursing and the baby becomes irritable because she is hungry and the mother becomes painfully engorged.
Yet this pain pales in comparison to the mental and emotional pain brought upon child and parent when mom drops off her two-month-old or two-year-old where she can be cared for from nine to five while mom works. The incredible "will" this act of abandonment requires is not an act of will at all. It is an act of force, as brutal as any violence in creation. This is child abuse, yet as a society we continue to excuse it, accepting it as a necessary part of our modern technologically advanced life.
Denying the genetic urge to nurture your young is a solely human initiative. Animals care for their young, do we believe we are more civilized by doing less? The sad answer is yes, and that yes is far from the truth that nurtures our own physical evolution as a species and our spiritual advancement as souls.
I have yet to talk to any new mother who looks forward to going back to work, to leaving her newborn. Only those who have yet to have children or who have shut down their thoughts and emotions to the cries and pleas of their own child miss the truth. Every newborn needs a mother and a father. Every newborn seeks to fill that need. If it is not met at home it will be met elsewhere. This truth is what creates Olympic teams as well as street gangs.
The question in current Western society becomes will you be that mother or that father to your own children? How many women have told their men, "If you spent more time with your son or daughter you'd know his/her favorite color/story/subject." Too often, someone now has to tell mom the answers to these questions as well. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it weakens it.
Anytime we do less than what we are capable of we weaken our will, individually and collectively. By doing less as individuals, less time with our children, less parenting of our children, less love and affection, less discipline and direction, society's return on the investment is less. If you put $10 in savings every month and I put $1000, who is making the greater investment? If you plant a garden and water it every day, and I plant a garden and water it once a week, who will enjoy the more bountiful harvest? If you volunteer to help others frequently, while I do only what is requested of me, who will cultivate the most friends inclined to go out of their way to offer help in return? If you spend an hour a week playing tennis and I spend an hour a day, who will have the better game? We invest our energy and our will into what we believe is valuable. What is more valuable than a human life well lived?
Years ago I learned a simple truth that I pass on to all the men I teach. It goes like this, "if you expect to find a life partner to share your journey with remember this, every woman wants YOU. The woman who becomes your partner wants you. She does not want your money, or what that money can buy, particularly if it means you are away from her and the family. She married you, not your job. Give you and she will be happy. And you will be happy all the days of your life."
It would be well to extend this universally true description of inner urge to the relationship between parent and child. The soul who is your child chose YOU. That soul wants you, not your status, fame, money, or power. That soul wants what only you out of all the people in the world can give of love and wisdom and strength. Give that soul the best you have to offer and that soul will be happy; and your soul will be magnified.
There aren't too many scientific studies with control groups on it yet, but when there are I will predict that the children in the groups with stay at home parents, in whatever combinations, whose lives are spiritually-based rather than materially-driven will fare better in all regards. The child who knows he or she is loved by parents, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, does not need a drug to control them. Sometimes a well placed word or action of discipline may be called for and the difference for all these children may well be in the willingness on the part of the adults around them to express the authority they are testing.
We cannot expect our children to believe us when we say "why do you think they call it dope?" if in the same breath we are telling them "you have to take this prescribed drug three times a day." It is time we woke up as a society and admitted we are the ones who are producing a generation of dope addicts. Shortly after our child was born, I remember walking past the pharmacy section of a Walmart and being shocked at the variety of "remedies" for children, a drug for every symptom, drugs with side affects that can last a lifetime.
Our society's passive acceptance of drugs for every ache and pain is a sure sign of our weak will. The truth is farther reaching. Chemicals alter the individual's capacity to wield the will. They impair reaction time, mentally, emotionally, and physically. More significantly they retard the action time in all areas. When your brain is pickled with alcohol or disconnected from nerves by narcotics, you lose consciousness first in your ability to reason and eventually in your ability to focus. Both reasoning and focus are acts of will. So is an evolved sense of spirituality. I have met highly evolved people from every major religion and one of the things they have in common is a highly developed will. These people know what temptation is and how to respond to it. They possess a will to match their intelligence and devotion.
The spiritual damage done by weak-willed societies is well established in man's history. It has been the downfall of many individual's and the countries they sought to lead. It is time we learned history's lesson. We must learn to respond to the soul of each individual, beginning with ourselves and our children. The soul is eager to learn therefore the appropriate response is to feed it what it craves. Do you believe a soul craves chemicals that weaken the body, dulling the senses? I don't either.
Every soul craves wisdom, and that wisdom begins day one by feeding the mind through the senses. "Hyperactive" children are souls who are crying for mental attention as well as love, for imagination skills as well as sensory stimulation. They demand that we give big time. A couple hugs, instructions, stories, or nannies will not do it. We must develop our intelligence and will to meet the demands of children rather than push them away because we see them as selfish. The time of infancy is by definition a time of absorbing, everything, a time of self-centeredness. Parents' - indeed all adults' - maturing is in the recognition, acceptance, and response to this truth. Parents must come away from thinking of children as possessions, or trophies, or spittin' images of ourselves. We must be responsible for our children until the time when we have sufficiently guided them to be responsible for themselves. As a society we must be responsible to every child, being willing to give our best at all times. We must come out of our own self-centeredness.
We are all connected, not just as a society of physical bodies occupying the same planet. We are connected as consciousness in the realms of existence beyond the material world, the realms of our dreams and our visions. Every child seeks to imitate the adults he or she sees. If you doubt it, ask them who their heroes are, who they want to be like when they grow up. They'll tell you.
When a child enters into your realm of experience, acknowledge him. Greet her with loving guidance. One moment of kindness, one interaction, can make an impression upon a child's consciousness that will last a lifetime. Just remember the ones who impressed you years ago, ones that continue to live because they live in you.
We must enter into the realm of transcended thinking that honors the mystic child, the soul clothed in the human body. To do so we will transform the level of will power within ourselves and our society. We will no longer go for the quick fix with its insidious problems. Rather we will seek the cause of the present so we can set the future into motion with greater vision and insight.
We, the adults, can elevate our imaginations and our will power. These, together with the capacity to remember, fuel spiritual evolution as well as physical maturing. Together they comprise reason, what makes man, as William Shakespeare noted half a millennia ago, "the paragon of animals." Now as never before in history we can, in numbers, become "in form and moving...express and admirable."
Once we come away from a collective attachment to convenience spawned by a weakened will, we will come into our own, realizing "how infinite in faculty" we truly are. Then the fog of self-indulgent comfort will be lifted and we will become "action like an angel" ever eager to aid our fellow man, woman, and child. Then we will know genius in ourselves and each other.
We will elevate our sense of common good "in apprehension...like a god!" putting into perspective the strife of human man today and moving toward the enlightened consciousness of spiritual man's tomorrow.
A student and teacher of consciousness, Dr. Barbara Condron lives with her husband Daniel and their four-year-old son Hezekiah on the campus of the College of Metaphysics.
Reprinted from Thresholds Quarterly with permission from SOM Board of Governors. Copyright 1999, all rights reserved.
©2002 School of Metaphysics