Book Review: The Tao of Motherhood

“The Tao of Motherhood” by Vimala McClure, New World Library, ISBN 978-1-60868-013-9

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I received a copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Tao of Motherhood. Its author, Vimala McClure, says her heart learned its lessons from meditation and mothering.

“Since before the birth of my first child, parenting has been an important and integral part of my spiritual path,” McClure says. Pregnancy and young children can add a level of chaos to the stillness, quiet and solitude of meditation which McClure had practiced for several years before her first pregnancy.

She began to practice a lesson that was part of her meditation instruction, madhavidya in Sanskrit, sweet knowledge, which “is the art of infusing spirituality into every aspect of life.”  The book is a distillation of her heart lessons through the Taoist teachings of Lao Tzu in the classic work of ancient wisdom, The Tao Te Ching. The interior illustrations by Tracy Cunningham add some tranquil beauty to the concise teachings.

No matter what the age of our children, we can remember back to those early days. In the hours between midnight/and dawn, she crosses the/threshold of self-concern and/discovers a Self that has no limits.

Wise advice from McClure’s own experience is: Polish the mirror of the self and your/child will see herself more clearly. I think this wisdom applies to children of all ages. We need to heal the weeping child within us so as not to superimpose “our own pain upon on children,” McClure advises. Clear yourself. Find the child within/you, heal her, and set her free.

The Tao of Motherhood’s wisdom is timeless – mothers still need to take time for themselves. If a mother values herself, her/children value her. She teaches/self-esteem by her example.

In an interview, McClure said “the most important source of wisdom for Moms is nature.” One of my favourite passages, called “Return,” refers to nature: Connect with/ your children heart to heart/Let them gaze at you, at trees/and water and sky… Let them feel their feelings and teach them their names.

McClure spent months reading every copy of the Tao Te Ching she could find, applying each passage to her spiritual life as a mother. You could do that too or go directly to this book, The Tao of Motherhood. On the mother’s path we learn more from our children than we teach them. McClure believes “our children, unknowingly and with innocent trickery, teach us the deeper knowledge of how to be a true human being.”

Mary Ann Moore is a poet, writer and creator of Writing ome: A Whole Life Practice.