Question: What if your childhood experiences were of suffering rather than sweetness?

Sri Chinmoy: If you feel that your parents were not nice, if you did not get good treatment from your parents right from your infancy, then you have to take your imagination as a reality. Imagine once again your childhood. You were brought up in one family, but right around you, in your vicinity, some parents were extremely, extremely nice to their children. Identify with them, identify, identify! This is not a false approach. Your parents brought you into the world, true, but I wish to say that imagination is a reality of its own.

Always try identification. You did not receive love and affection, perhaps, but now you can definitely apply your imagination and imagine love and affection. Just think of one particular family where the parents were so indulgent to their children. That imagination will definitely give you sweetness, happiness and a feeling of inner fulfilment. Just spread your imagination-wings! You are like a bird. Spread your wings and just fly to a country, imagine a village and see a particular place. What you are seeing is so true!

Again, you cannot separate your existence from your parents. You were born into a particular family. Definitely you had a father and a mother. If you are dissatisfied with them, with their way of being, you will go your own way. Children grow up and start their own families. But after going their own way, can they say that their parents are no longer their parents? Never!

Now I am coming back to the question. If your parents were not kind, just imagine sweetness, sweetness, sweetness. Early in the morning, look at a flower, look at the dawn. If you can identify yourself with nature, you are getting tremendous joy. At that time, are you thinking about how your parents struck you black and blue? You are the same person, but your wisdom has to work. You have to bring forward sweet memories, sweet memories, sweet memories. If you do not have sweet memories in your immediate family, that cannot prevent you from getting sweetness from your childhood.

Now that you are mature, you have to use wisdom at every moment. Exercise wisdom, wisdom, wisdom! Sometimes in a family, parents get angry. They stop their children when they want to go to university, or they do not pay the costs. Then days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. In the end, if one accepts the spiritual life, it means one has to forgive them. It is very difficult sometimes, when we do not forgive a person, to bring sweetness out of our memories of that person.

If your parents were not nice, first forgive them. By harbouring hitter memories of your parents' so-called misconduct, you will never be able to bring your own inner sweetness to the fore. You have to forgive your parents and forget the sad experience. If absolute necessity demands, you may even have to forget about your parents. Only try to imagine yourself, with your consciousness as a seven-year-old, to see how children elsewhere were given tremendous affection, sweetness and fondness.