This is a share by a parent who uses Shiva Process discreetly to communicate with his children in ways that resolve conflict and upset in his family life.
Many of you are aware of a meditation practice we use here at the Ashram known as – Shiva Process. Shiva Process is a very effective method of Self- inquiry created by Swamiji and Devi Ma.
The process is brilliant at clearing negative feelings that turn up in our inner world. When I saw how well it works when I use it, I thought how great it would be, if everyone used it. But, that’s not how things are.
In Swamiji’s book on the Shiva Process, Self Inquiry, he writes about a way he has developed to assist people who do not know Shiva Process. He calls this technique the ‘The Avis Process’. It’s a way of helping people who do not know how to do the Shiva Process. It is perfect when communicating with people on the fly in day to day life. I think of it as ‘stealth’ Shiva Process.
When I use the Avis process I listen to the other person and try to get an understanding of what is going on for them. I reflect back to them what I hear and feel as they are speaking. If I sense they are burdened or worried, I might say, ‘ You must be so worried?’ Or, ‘you have a lot of responsibility’. If I sense they are upset, I say, ‘you sound upset,’ or, if I sense they are tired, I might say or ask, ‘Are you feeling tired?’
Around four years ago I really needed something to deal with my children. I have two young boys and a girl between seven and twelve. I remembered reading about the Avis Process. I decided to use my kids as guinea pigs to see if it worked. I was tentative at first, as it felt awkward. And, I had to resist my habit of wanting to correct them and give advice.
One of them might come to me upset and I would say, ‘Oh honey, you look so upset’. Another would get angry and I’d say, ‘What’s up, has something made you angry?’ or if they didn’t get something they wanted I would say – ‘You really wanted that ice-cream. Grown ups can be so frustrating?’
It worked! The kids responded brilliantly. The positive results blew my mind. All I had to do was shut my advice trap and let the statements do the work.
About two years after first beginning this practice, there was an encounter that summed up how effective it is. I was in the kitchen cleaning up. It was 8:00pm on a school night. It was a hot summer day and friends of the kids had been over swimming in our pool and had just left.
My two sons, Leo who was 9 at the time and Harvey who was 7 were in their bedrooms. I could hear them mucking around, playing in a way that seemed precarious. Leo was asking Harvey to stop and then I heard it get serious and then sounds of a real scuffle followed and then yelling, followed by crying.
A few seconds later Leonardo whizzed by, head down, avoiding eye contact with me, visibly upset and shot straight out the back door into the garden. I could see him through the glass doors pacing up and down looking very shaken up and full of guilt.
Harvey followed, sobbing and looking for me. I said, ‘what happened?’
He said, ‘I was playing with Leo on the bunk beds and I accidentally did a round house kick to his head and then he just punched me in the face.’
I said, ‘Oh my God, that must have really hurt?’ And he said, “Mega hurt dad!’
‘You must have got a big shock?
He said, ‘Yeah, well, he didn’t have to just hit me. My kick was an accident…because I rolled off the top bed down onto him and my foot lost control and hit him in the head. I was just playing and then he punched me, 100% on purpose, like Thor, right in the face.’
I said, ‘It’s ok, it’s not your fault,’ and then we hugged.
I said I’ll go speak to Leo.
So I walked outside to speak to Leo who was still pacing up and down – looking really worried and riddled with guilt. I said, ‘what happened?’ He didn’t answer – he just kept pacing.
I said, ‘you look really shaken up.’ Still, no answer. ‘You got really angry at Harvey?’ I asked. And then like a flood, he let it out.
‘Well yeah, Mum promised me earlier that I’d be able to watch the new Lego movie that just came out and then friends came over and they stayed longer than they were supposed to and then mum said I couldn’t watch the movie now because it was too late on a school night – and it’s not my fault they didn’t go on time – and I was really looking forward to the movie so I was already upset about that and then Harvey and I were playing and then he accidentally kicked me and then I don’t know what happened, I just punched him in the face.’
I said, ‘Oh God, you must feel terrible.’
And then he cried and hugged me and said ‘ I’m so sorry dad!’
I said, ’It’s ok, I love you mate.’
And then he said ‘I love you so much dad!’
I said, ‘Harvey is really upset too. He loves you a lot you know.’
He said, ‘I’ll go and say sorry.’
And then off he went and I watched through the glass doors as Leo went to Harvey and said sorry and they both hugged each other and trotted off like best buddies.
The entire episode lasted three minutes and my family had returned to love. I stood there in awe, so pleased with what had just happened. I felt just like Swamiji. Connecting with him, by using his teachings in this way is always uplifting. These days I Avis process all the time. It’s become more and more a part of the natural way I communicate.
And that’s why we come to Satsang!!