“When superior people hear of the Tao,
they immediately begin to embody it.
When average people hear of the Tao,
They half believe it, half doubt it.
When foolish people hear of the Tao,
They laugh out loud.
If they didn’t laugh,
It wouldn’t be the Tao.”
To be a Zen parent is not easy to define, and for many people in the modern world, that answer is not acceptable. In today’s world, we like well-defined, brief concepts that we can easily grasp while we’re waiting for our new apps to load during commercial breaks. That is why when some people hear about Zen, they laugh; and that’s perfectly okay, because ultimately, whether it sounds like nonsense or not, Zen is Zen. Zen takes effort to understand and effort to practice – until you truly understand and practice it; then it takes no effort at all.
Zen is said to be a marriage of Buddhism and Taoism, but it is not a religion or a set of dogmatic rules, and it does not even require belief. In many ways, Zen is not just “a way” of life, but, like the literal translation of the word Tao, “the way.” Zen is living in a state of pure connection with everything around you and with the universe itself. Zen is living in accord with reality rather than resisting it. Zen is a way of peace. It’s a path that can be found in an instant, but will take a lifetime to travel – much like parenting.
In the most basic terms, to the best of my ability, I would say that to be a Zen parent is to be in a state of flow with parenting itself.
To be in a state of flow with parenting means being simultaneously connected to your children’s needs, as well as your own. Through the balance of Taoism and the wisdom in the guidance of Buddhism, Zen parents can find peace for themselves, which naturally translates to peace for their children.
That is why this aspect of our website is entirely devoted to helping you become a Zen parent. We want to help you live your life in a state of peace on a more regular basis. We want to provide you guidance to help you handle whatever obstacles life throws at you or your children in the most conscious way possible. And we definitely believe you can do that.
Your children will mimic much more of what they see you do than what you tell them to do – but you already know that. You’ve known that since before you were a parent. That is why you inherently understand that the more Zen you become, so too, will your children. Hence the title of my book and this section of our site: Zen Parent/Zen Child.
When you find your inner calm, your children will see it externally. They will learn self-control by watching you handle life’s ups and downs with self-control of your own. They will exude the loving-kindness that you live out in your everyday life – and we are here to help.
We’re hoping that this site will provide what you need to become the patient, calm, loving, disciplined, self-controlled parent who can truly guide your children to finding their own Zen. Although we’re confident your grasp of the material will occur quickly, we are equally aware that behavioral changes can be difficult to make; so we offer you motivation and inspiration to support you in your journey to becoming a Zen parent.
Dr. Christian Conte