The Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has a beautiful meditation for one’s parents
“Breathing in , I see my father as a five-year-old child
Breathing out, I smile to my father, a five-year-old
Breathing in, I see my father, five years old, fragile, wounded, vulnerable
Breathing out, I look at this wounded child with all my understanding and love”
Mumbai-June 2010- Sagar Sahil with Dadi-My mother-Mrs.Nirja Bhatt nee Uniyal
This meditation made me remember the walks in different mountain areas around Shimla and Rishikesh and what my parents told me about our spiritual traditions, our family legacy and the way things were in British India before independence.
Some other stories of our family I came to know from my aunts and older cousins, as I have no living memory of my paternal grandfather. Recently, when I went to Agra-UP to visit my uncle (Rakesh Chacha ji) he was generous to share and let me take pictures of many family photographs from his album. This added to the many stories about our family which I came to know- some of the most memorable talks being with Dear Guddu bhai-sitting in and around Lodhi gardens -Delhi over the years/decades.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that you and your father or mother are not entirely different people, even though, you are not exactly one and the same person either. This wonderful insight may be called “Not one, not two” – neither exactly the same , nor different.
Notes on Not One, Not Two
This meditation reminded me of the many lessons I have been taught by my Uncle-Mausaji- (Dr.Ram Prasad Nawani-RPN)- (the person who taught me to make notes https://prashantbhatt.com/2008/12/23/with-the-person-who-taught-me-to-make-notes/).
Nizamuddin-2002-PB with Mausaji-Dr.RPN
I remember the times in Pune 1970s when he would read books with me, make small notes (Purchi). As I went into the Benares of 1940s -just after India got Independence, and what life would have been for my mother in that time-around 1950, many conversations with my aunts came to mind, which helped me get a sense of the day in the life of our family then.
Mausaji (Dr.RPN) also helped me develop empathy and see different facets of life. Having grown up in cantonments, then lived in and around medical campuses I have had a relatively privileged blessed life and do not have the ground level knowledge of the hills, life in the villages and how the daily rhythm of life is in remote areas.
It has been a long journey for me” he said, recalling his childhood days on the banks of one of the tributaries feeding the Ganga, in the hills beyond Rishikesh, where the waters are at times just a small stream flowing amidst the mighty mountains. Trickling down, slowly but steadily over kilometers and decades, one finds an edifice inspiring and educative.
The 3 G Filter- Generations, Gender, Geographies
Not One-Not Two is a meditation which helps develop Empathy. I also use the 3 G format to try to create a better understanding of situations- 3 G- Generations, Gender, Geography. When looking at things using the 3 G filter an added layer of empathy is added.
Looking back at some walks- in the past year
I remember my mother-in-law- (Mrs.Meena Karia) taking me to a small temple, next to the larger Jalaram Temple in a crowded Bhiwandi area -in Thane District, north east of Mumbai.
“Yahan pe humari shaadi hui thi” (We had got married here) She told the significance of this temple. We later went around some streets of Bhiwandi and she showed me the temple where they would come after school. She talked about some of her school teachers. Both my parents-in-law were born in Karachi-British India and have memories of living in what became Pakistan. Her cousin brother enthusiastically showed me a letter to his father from Karachi Academy- dated 1949, which told of his removal from the school register in 1947.
The meditation of Not One, Not Two, took me down some conversations and generous sharings.
Thinking through letters-May 2019
Graydon Rock-Mississauga, 2022- Sahil studied in Gordon Graydon Memorial school-(2014-2018)
My parents instilled the love of nature in me. My mother was a trained Botanist