For a Taoist, the question of how to deal with Social Mind when raising a child eventually emerges. Usually, the question is, “How do I raise my child away from the Social Mind?”
That’s a good question, because after all the basic premise of Enlightenment Taoism is that enlightenment is the natural state of a human. Who wouldn’t want his or her child to have the natural strengths that he or she is entitled to?
The problems surrounding this question are more complex than they seem and parents have been struggling with it for the 1,500 year tradition of the 4 Ascendant Sphere Tradition, and in many other Taoist traditions across the history of Taoism.
Here is my response, which reflects the standard approaches in 4 Ascendant teaching:
- Make sure you actually know what the Social Mind is. You need to study the concept. The Social Mind is vastly more involved than simple cultural or political values.
- Be Taoist if you want your child to have Taoist strengths or you must have them cultivated by a Taoist teacher.
- You can not teach a child to a spiritual level that is beyond your own spiritual level. If you have weak karma or are strongly bound into the Social Mind, you will be ineffective in teaching anything but the Social Mind to your child.
- Even in completely dedicated spiritual environments, for example, a monastery, your child will learn some form of the Social Mind. Spiritual seclusion in youth is not a safeguard against the Mind.
Your child will learn some form of the Social Mind no matter what. To become Enlightened, he or she will still have to acquire karma, and make the choices to outgrow the Social Mind.
What then is a parent to do to help a child achieve enlightenment? Can a parent give any spiritual advantage to his or her child?
Yes, parents can shape the Social Mind into a form that is more conducive to the Enlightenment path. They can’t do their child’s spiritual work, however.
The Best Bet Parents Have In Aiding Their Children
There are three things that are of critical importance to giving a child a leg up on the Taoist Enlightenment pathway:
- Early Childhood Nutrition.
- A Direct empirical Knowledge of Death.
- An Avoidance of Cruelty.
Early Childhood Nutrition
Nutrition impacts brain development.
Unfortunately, children that are starved in early development have much greater difficulty releasing themselves from the imprint of the Social Mind. Starvation can also be a traumatic memory and can result in a person becoming locked into biological issues (as with Maslow’s Hierarchy).
A child should receive all the healthy calories and nutrients necessary for physical development.
Direct Empirical Knowledge of Death
Even a century ago, there was no nation on Earth where a child would not have experienced the death of a loved one or seen death as part of the acquisition of food. There is no other greater factor that leads to the formation of a foolish person than the lack of a direct see and smell it knowledge of death. Without the simple truth of death and mortality, the Social Mind is free to peg itself to any ridiculous illusion.
Mortality is one of the single great motivators to pursue spiritual truth, to manage one’s life, and to know love.
Most children are cruel and must be taught to not engage in the torment of other living things. Cruelty is an instant karmic ding (if you don’t understand this concept, enroll in the free newsletter to be thoroughly educated on the concept). Karma is a necessity to making the choices to become enlightened.
Cruelty is different than killing. All things must kill to live.
With these three elements in place, the Social Mind that is formed will be pinned to reality, and have enough flexibility that your child be able modify it toward the Tao mind with the correct choices, training and karma. Your child will have a very good shot, which is all that you as a parent can provide.
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