A Father's Love: The Foundation of Life
by Nirmala Raniga
“It is a wise father that knows his own child” – William Shakespeare
As we celebrate Father’s Day to honor the fathers in our lives, it is also a good time to recognize those individuals who hold a fatherly role in our lives as well as our own inner father.
The responsibilities of fatherhood vary by culture, but from a human evolutionary standpoint, fathers take on the role of supporting life as protectors and providers of many of the foundational needs of life. Furthermore, fathers often also take on a role of teaching their children many of the skills needed for survival. Other characteristics of fathers include leadership and authority— as seen in cultures where fathers are considered to be heads of households. In relationship to this role, a father can be relied on to establish and maintain structure and boundaries, particularly during difficult times. In relationship with the root chakra and our instinctual need for survival, how we are supported or not supported by our fathers in childhood can impact us greatly, later in life. In our own personal challenges, as well as in the strife-filled climate of today’s world, learning how to develop the qualities of the father figure for ourselves and in order to help others is more important than ever.
According to author and speaker, Caroline Myss, the Father archetype “combines a talent for creating or initiating with the ability to oversee others, whether a biological family or a group of creative people. Although the Father has taken on negative connotations associated historically with paternalism and male dominance, we shouldn’t lose sight of its primary characteristics of courage…A true Father guides and shields those under his care, sacrificing his own desires when that’s appropriate.”
For those who struggle with addiction, it can be difficult to set healthy boundaries, create structure, and exhibit self-control while not controlling others. Yet, it’s the same trait of courage seen in the Father archetype that can help us begin establishing those boundaries, disciplining ourselves, and relinquishing attachment to outcomes and the behaviour of others.
This shift in awareness and behaviour is often easier said than done, and we would do well to have a road map to help us begin this very important journey to father ourselves.
Establishing a steady practice of meditation is one important step we can take to establish a good foundation for health and wellbeing. It enables us to reconnect with the ocean of consciousness, the stillness that resides within each of us and connects us all. As we become more in tune with ourselves, our dreams and desires, we are better able to hear—and listen to—our intuition, the trusty guide that is always there, pointing the way.
When out of balance, we may not be taking responsibility to provide the safety and security that we need to care for ourselves. Perhaps we are still looking for an external father figure to take on that role for us, especially if it was not provided for us as a child and we have an unmet need for fatherly care.
However, in balance, the will to change, to set better boundaries, and live a more disciplined life comes from embracing these positive traits of the father for ourselves, from within. When we commit to core practices such as meditation, we become better able to release old patterns and let go of those things that no longer serve us. By connecting to our own inner fatherly instincts to provide and protect ourselves, we will begin to find that harmful substances—drugs, alcohol, and non-nourishing foods, for instance—no longer have the same attraction that they once held. By finding and developing an internal discipline, we actually set ourselves free.
Spending time in the beauty of Nature, will also not only help us engage with our own inner stillness and the wonders of the Universe, but it will also help us connect with the Father archetype.
In some cultures and spiritual belief systems, for example, the Father archetype is associated with the sky. Indeed, when people talk about Heaven, they very often point to the sky. As we ponder the symbolism of the sky, the Heavens above, we can also consider how like a father, the Earth’s atmosphere surrounds and protects us and serves as a boundary of our existence.
This Father’s Day, while letting the fathers in our lives know now how much we appreciate all that they do for us, we can also take the time to become aware of and nurture the father within, trusting that we are protected, courageous, disciplined, and strong. And, from such a firm foundation, we are capable of accomplishing anything we envision in life.
A Father is someone who provides the Foundation and is Attentive to the needs of his family. We lean on him and Trust that he will provide us Happiness. He is someone who is Encouraging us to strive for more and is Responsible for our wellbeing.
Happy Fathers Day!