A family in today’s modern world need to be motivated to cultivate change in order to have mental health stability. For example, the laws around same sex marriage and adoption by same sex parents encourage all parents to have an open heart and acceptance of same gender relationships.
Parenting needs to be adjusted to embrace transgender children. Families need to address the legalization of marijuana for social and medical use. In today’s America, marijuana is easily accessible and the parents who choose to allow it into their family have to be prepared to manage it.
This family unit includes bonds that are openly and lovingly engaging with another race, body shape, weight and language accent. It includes the families that embrace technology — that are open to any healthy religion and spiritual values, talk at a time of crisis. Those have healthy boundaries, lifestyles and are open to diversity in all areas of life.
A healthy skill that supports parenting, transforms challenging situations and help build the foundations for unconditional love and tolerance, is the practice of mindfulness.
Stable families develop safe boundaries and a better quality of life when we can learn from our mistakes. This acknowledgement can accelerate our emotional and intellectual growth. Holding on to tradition during difficult times can increase stress, conflicts and perpetuate mental illness in the family system.
The healthy modern family takes action immediately and does not allow unhealthy behaviors to fester and poison the system. Skillful parenting shows a person how to be in harmony with their inner environment while supporting the global community. Mindfulness practice is a well researched and popular skill to achieve this. Mindfulness has four basic levels.
1. Mindfulness of the body
It takes nto account one’s nervous energies, the energies that produce tension in the muscular system, and the energies that produce unintentional holding of the breath, resulting in various body sensations. Working with the breath can support the relaxation and calming of all these energies. We need to be particularly mindful of these various systems of the body in order to stay calm. What helps to support this level of mindfulness is exercise, which is an excellent activity for families and individuals.
2. Noticing one’s feelings
During my childhood years of serious playfulness, when I heard a snake make that maddening hissing sound, I would feel a shift from dancing with the heat and humidity that had finally begun to feel pleasant, to an extremely unpleasant sensation that made me want to be instantly anywhere but where I was.
To feel neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings in the body is a wonderful skill to cultivate, because it puts one’s perception into a neutral zone. For example, mindfully investigating one’s desire is to explore the options of privileges, to expand, alternate, or delete it. During the process of parenting this can be an area where wise and healthy decision can be made, especially while investigating the desire to make a healthy choice.
With unpleasant sensations, mental qualities like fear, aversion, anger, and restlessness tend to present themselves. With pleasant sensations, mental qualities of liking and wanting more tend to come up. Most of us have conditioned our minds to like or dislike.
With a neutral sensation we have an opportunity to cultivate a middle ground. A practice that offers formality to the awareness of neutral sensations is the practice of focusing on whatever the body is in contact with — the clothing on the body, the air moving across the skin, or the hair on the body.
3. Mindfulness of the mind
Especially the unskillful qualities. A few of the mind's basic unskillful categories are over-indulgence, a strongdislike for certain situations and people, and delusional thinking.
Delusional thinking occurs when we don’t have insight into what we are doing or our interpretation of an event is not confirmed in reality. Insight is developed through practice by paying attention. The best medicine for delusional mind states is to skillfully practice to pay attention moment to moment.
When a family decides to have a meeting for fifteen to thirty minutes once a week, sometimes nothing is said, and that can add to the distress in the family system. Learning how to cultivate silence as a comfort zone is a skill. With effort, mindfulness can best be utilized as your personal trainer. Sitting in silence often reveals that those distressing qualities exist inside of us. When the voice comes out naturally, and engages others, it is a heartfelt expression.
4. Noticing the various mental qualities within our mind
The objects within the mind, including images. In the family system, mental qualities and images have a major impact on moods and behaviors. While parenting, we need to be mindful of several things: We need to ask ourselves, “Will I create more suffering or work toward healing when this action is taken?” Through experience and consistency in working with these levels of mindfulness one becomes aware of the natural flow within the family.
Our family is important. Many families have a tendency to compare and try to emulate other families, and this is a form of delusional thinking.
Your family is unique, and to know and cultivate that uniqueness is a joyful experience that can motivate families into being models for the community.