What Do the Ten Commandments Have to Say About Living a Balanced Life? Honor Your Mother and Father

Mother’s Day — the one day of the year set aside to honor our mothers and to acknowledge the many things they taught us — is just around the corner.

The idea of honoring our mothers reminds me of the fifth of The Ten Commandments, which says:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

This is a very popular commandment, especially among parents. But have you ever stopped to think about how this credo, which is supposedly speaking to children, is smack dab in the middle of other definitely adult-oriented decrees: don’t commit adultery; don’t kill; don’t covet your neighbor’s wife? Not worthy of a General Audience rating, that’s for sure.

It seems like if God, speaking through Moses, had something to say to children, it would be the very first thing on the list. Something like, “Listen kids, God says to honor your mother and father. Now, go off and play. I need to talk to the adults.”

I really doubt if there were any children in the audience when Moses spoke those words. It’s quite possible that there were only adult Jewish men in attendance, and I would venture to say that, for many of them, one or both of their parents was no longer living.

This commandment seems to say that by honoring BOTH your mother and your father you will live a long life. But how are you going to do that if one of your parents is missing?

Could it be that sacred teachings handed down to us through the centuries are not to be taken simply at face value?

Could it be that the Architect of the Universe, who created layers upon layers of life and worlds within worlds, gave us something that has a useful message on the outside but has much greater revelations deep within it?

In order to extract a universal meaning from this ancient edict, let’s go back to the beginning, if you want to call it that. God, being all things, possesses both masculine and feminine principles of life. Since there is only God and all things come from God, each one of us is made of what God is. We are both the mother and the father of the life that we create.

Just like a mother and father give all that they are for the health and success of their child, we too can live happy, healthy and successful lives by balancing both sides of our nature, honoring and valuing all that we are.

How do we do that?

First of all, living in balance begins with the realization of the truth about ourselves.

Secondly, living in balance means being at peace with ourselves — mentally, emotionally and physically.

How do we do that?

We lighten up! Be okay with yourself. Support yourself in times of activity as well as in times of rest. Grant permission to your own unique blending of all aspects of your nature as you respond to your daily experiences.

When we bring all aspects of ourselves into balance, our attention begins to pull away from the extremes — the past and the future, the good and the bad, the having and the needing. Residing in this centered place, our minds becomes clearer because our thoughts reduce and focus, so then our actions can be more dynamic, prosperous and productive. Our emotions become cleaner and lighter and, as a result, the purity of love expands and our joy is uninterrupted.

That’s the pay-off: “That your days may be prolonged.” The word prolong means “to lengthen or extend in time or space.” When we come to a place of peace or balance within ourselves, our struggle against time and space ceases.

The Tao Te Ching tells us: “The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.”

May we each reside in the center of the circle of lives.

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