Kim Eng is a counselor and public speaker, focusing on the transformation of consciousness through the integration of the mind, body and spirit. She travels the world with her partner and associate, Eckhart Tolle, teaching workshops to help cultivate presence through movement, to bring consciousness into our daily lives.
Having raised her daughter as a single mother, Kim's years of experience in cultivating presence as a parent fostered her work helping parents practice "conscious parenting" to raise their children. She focuses on teaching parents to bring presence into their family life in order to help their children blossom into their life's purpose -- awakening of consciousness. I recently spoke with Kim about conscious parenting and how parents can practice the principles to raise their children with awareness. Here's what Kim has to say, in her own words.
Conscious parenting means embodying Presence when dealing with your child or any family situation.
The old, traditional style of parenting that was prevalent in the past, I would describe as "unconscious", with the same behaviour patterns passed down from generation to generation. It was mostly authoritarian, often aggressively so, with physical punishment being the norm. There was total identification with the role of parent, and the child was expected to obey. Then the pendulum swang to the opposite extreme: the anti-authoritarian, passive approach to parenting. No boundaries anymore....eat what you like, go to bed when you like....this other extreme was reactive and equally unconscious. The ship lost its Captain, as Susan Stiffleman puts it.
The Captain, of course, needs to be present, or aware. We could say that Presence works through the Captain to steer the ship. It doesn't exclude setting boundaries, nor does it exclude giving children a ﾼsense of freedom and equality. It's not that they can do whatever they want. We're talking about age appropriateness, and the younger they are, the more boundaries you will have to set for your child.
The primary importance in conscious parenting is to be able to see your child -- not for what they do, or what they say -- but for who they are at the core of their Being. You may call it their spirit or their soul; it's their essence that comes through their form, and you can sense that essence, their Being, as you can sense yours.
In order to become healthy adults, children need to be seen and acknowledged on that deeper level. We are all meant to be seen, to have our Being acknowledged, and that applies to adult relationships as well. We are relating with each other through our own essence, unattached to any identity, expectation, thoughts, concepts. The conscious parent brings this balance between form, the practical, mundane requirements of parenting, and essence, the pure awareness of Presence, into family life. It's nurturing the essence of your child, and it's relating to that essence rather than only relating to forms.
These babies and children are not ours to control or manipulate -- they come through us. What is it that we're going to give them to help them flower in this world? We are meant to nurture their essence -- that is conscious parenting.
The primary task is to nurture their Being first, and all the other stuff is secondary -- yes, it's important -- but it's only relatively important. What gives us confidence as adults and children is knowing, that is being able to feel, that "essence-consciousness", that safe, still space within. It is in everyone and that is who we truly are; it wants to express itself through our forms; my form and your child's form. That's the unique and special gift that comes through each and every person and it comes through each one differently. If we only give our children the sense of doing: "you've got to do this and that, achieve this... and this...and this... and then you'll make it in this world" -- that's so false, because it's unbalanced, and it's going to throw them off course. The shift in consciousness is coming back to balance. Balance between doing and Being. We don't want to be off course anymore, and we don't want to throw our children off course.
For more from Kim Eng and Eckhart Tolle, please click here.