When I started to meditate under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy, the situation in the family wasn't so good because of the doubts of my spouse and my parents. I could not even talk about meditation. But I had a little corner in the basement where I could be by myself. It was in my office behind the door. I had set up a little altar, a very minimal altar, and I would meditate in the morning. I would try to wake up at least 20 minutes before François, my son, because when he was up, it was another world, since he was hyperactive.
Both children attended the local school. François was in grade 4, Julie in grade 2. At school, François always wanted to joke around and have fun. He would do things that distracted the teacher or made him/her upset. Julie, two years younger, was an example of conformity. François was the opposite! He was a little bit hyper, and this created challenges.
So I had started meditating to help me accept my son and not get too upset with everyday events, either at home or at school. Before the children woke up in the morning, I would go to my secluded area for about half an hour of relaxation, deep breathing, building up my tolerance level…
Little by little, I was learning the inner code of life. The one who, by most outer standards, had it made by age 40 was realising that inwardly, the journey was very challenging, yet beautiful and rewarding. But I needed lots of courage and the faith to accept with serenity the many inner and outer problems that I was facing.
One morning, maybe three or four months later, out of the blue, while the four of us were having breakfast, without me questioning him, my son spontaneously said: “Dad, since you started meditating, you have been treating me better!”
Well, you know, coming from your son, from a child who doesn't have any vested interest… to say, “Dad, you treat me better”...
I hadn’t been beating him or anything, but still, I realised that because of the meditation, because of Guru, I was finally able see the God in him. And the God in him wasn't so easy to see then, because when the school calls you every week and says that François was not at school again, or he's misbehaved, or he's got into this and that… He wasn't a bad boy, but perhaps because he was very intelligent, after he listened to something once, he had had enough. Then he would distract others and create mischief. This was a big problem for me. When I would go to the school meetings, teachers would say, “Oh, you're the father of François!” That wasn't meant as a compliment.
So, for him to say that I treated him better… To some extent, I could see the change in myself, but for him to say it, at 9 years of age, made quite an impact on me and reassured me that I was on the right track. What a realisation… what a confirmation that meditation was changing me and making me a better person, a better father!
To end this little story, I can happily say that now François is my best friend. After Guru, François is my best friend.
Since then, with his permission, I have quoted my son’s comment many times to stress the importance of meditation — while offering meditation classes, during my job as the director of a team of child welfare workers, when delivering presentations at various conferences, and now, years later, in my position as a professor of Social Work at the University of Ottawa.
I Challenged Yesterday’s Problems
I challenged yesterday’s problems
With my determination-power.
I am challenging today’s problems
With my aspiration-cry.
I shall challenge tomorrow’s problems
With my surrender-smile
To my Lord Supreme.
Sri Chinmoy 1