‘My mother is not a bad person. I don’t hate her and I don’t want others to hate her. She suffered and that suffering caused her to live her life on her own terms. My only sorrow is that another man is robbing me of my moments with her. I am unable to accept the fact that she prioritizes this relationship over and above me. I am unable to come to terms with the fact that I am not her priority‘, she said.
‘Fundamentally, there is no bad in any human being. There is always a reason to all the bad in us, and when we rationalize bad from that perspective, we realize it is so human. Your mother is a good person. But she has run away from her role as a parent. It is her absence in your life that has left behind an unfulfilled void in you‘, I replied.
She said nothing.
‘What is a bird’s dream?‘, I asked her.
‘To fly?‘, she replied, unsure of what my question implied.
‘To fly. A bird is happiest when it can fly. That is its instinct. It is this instinct that propels it forward until the day it can fly unbridled across the skies, reveling in this flight. Take away its ability to fly, and you have taken away its soul. So what is the role of the mother bird?‘
She looked at me, aware of the point I was trying to make.
‘To feed it, care for it and to guide it towards its dream. The mother bird teaches the baby bird to fly. And when the baby bird can fly independently, the mother bird’s role in the baby bird’s life is complete‘, I said.
She was silent.
‘So what is your dream?‘, I asked.
‘I have no dream‘, she replied.
‘That is what concerns me. Everybody has a dream. That dream is one’s motivation. But one must uncover this dream that lies dormant within. At an age when you should have experienced a mother’s presence, affection and care, you were lonely. Her absence in your life almost caused you to question your worth- a feeling that there is perhaps nothing in you that makes other people like you or want you. Now, at an age when you should have been emotionally secure and building your dreams, you are struggling with worthlessness and a lack of motivation‘, I replied.
She lowered her eyes. There were tears in those melancholic eyes.
‘Do you love your mother?‘, I asked.
‘Yes I do…I don’t hate her‘, she replied.
‘What is love?‘, I asked her.
She was quiet, perhaps wondering how one spells out an emotion.
‘You love your mother, no doubt. You miss your mother, you crave for her presence, and you perhaps do many things to make her happy. It is a child’s love for her mother- a child’s need for her mother. But given the nature of your circumstances, you must try and give this love a more mature dimension. When you really love someone, you must set them free. You can continue to love them, but set them free. Your mother has made up her mind with regard to the relationship. That is what she wants because she believes that the relationship will make her happy. If you love her, set her free. Don’t rebel, don’t protest. Let go. Let go because you love her so much that you wouldn’t want to be the cause of her unhappiness. People are also able to love back more when you set them free. Your mother may really appreciate this step on your part and it may even cause her to be remorseful of her act. That her daughter could make a sacrifice for her when she couldn’t make a sacrifice for her daughter, may change her perspective. Rise above the rebellion, anguish and denial that your circumstances have seeded in you. That will cause you to look at your own self in new light, and even change your feelings of worthlessness. After all, how many people are capable of such an act?‘
By now, she was crying.
‘A long time ago, somebody told me- Don’t make me the sun of your solar system’. I didn’t quite understand what they meant at that time, but I am repeating those words to you now. Relationships and people are a necessary element of our lives, but they are not our goals…our destinations. Our dream is to fly. Relationships must only help us fly. If you wish to fly, to find your dream, you must outgrow this dependence on relationships. You must overcome this fear of losing people.‘
She had wiped her tears, but her eyes were red.
‘You are important to me and I care about you. I would ideally like to check on you every now and again, meet you and make sure you are okay. But that is often not possible, given the nature of my circumstances, and given the pace of the modern world. I worry when I realize that I am your motivation, and that most of your life is centered on something concerning me. As a teacher and otherwise, I am happiest when I can work on my students and make them independent and help them discover their dream. I am worried when they grow dependent on me and start weaving their lives around me.‘
She sat listening to me and a certain numbness had taken over.
‘As long as I am here in this place, I will be in touch. I am not going to abandon you or disappear. We will do many things together. Things that you will enjoy and things that will help you discover who you are and what your dream is. When you discover your dream, it will not be difficult to shift your emotions towards your dream. They call it transference in psychiatry. You transferred your emotions for your mother to me, owing to her absence in your life. Similarly, you will outgrow your dependence on me only when you transfer your emotions for me to your dream. Also, you must probably allow yourself to feel the negative emotions that flood your mind when you fear losing someone. Fear is often our resistance to feelings we wish to avoid. I will absent myself from your life for brief periods and you must allow yourself to feel the negative emotions, unless they are too difficult.‘ I concluded.
The human mind…
There are occasions when the mind refuses to rise above its misery, despite the innumerable helping hands that make attempts at reviving it- a reminder of our powerlessness over our minds. And then there are occasions when the mind displays its potential for the extraordinary, despite the negativity of the circumstances that it must confront, and despite the solitary battle that it must put up. Indeed, it’s all in the mind!