Dharma and the Family!
Now here’s a real challenge for practice, and for keeping one’s sanity! Whether the family is quiet or noisy, there is always a collective attitude – a collective mind – ‘the hive’. Families do have certain traits. I suppose this is based on the law of attraction, but remember, there is also the law of repulsion and the law of indifference.
I have absolutely no credibility in this area: my family gets irritated as soon as I walk into the room. As much as I want to love them, and have a heart-to-heart with them about things…that’s the last thing they want! Families – like people – don’t like change.
To be honest, we can’t do much about other people’s minds, but we can do much about our own. Trying not to be irritating, or irritated, is a tricky business. Still, we can be there for them, to listen to them, as we are part of their karma, and they ours. Arguing only makes a sticky situation even more sticky!
When we grow up and move away from the collective mind – the hive mentality – this can be disconcerting for the family, as anything that does not agree with the status quo is a threat. That is merely collective ego-clinging. Most cling to the corporate ideal…a larger TV, another exotic holiday, or various other status symbols.
Mind you, Buddhists are just as bad…have you seen the size of some of their Buddhas, tantric paintings, shrines, special cushions and mats, bells and whistles?!
For some of us, families can a messy business. If you want to search for the truth and they do not, it is bound to cause conflict, and so tenderness and courage are needed. We all make mistakes in our partnerships, and karmically, we have to see it out – accept it. It is the practice of giving space or expanding love
However, this can also seem to make things worse, or perhaps bring the situation to a head. Once one has decided to know the truth, there is no going back into a dream – someone else’s dream. That person then has a choice to join in the search for reality, or leave. This is why spirituality is tough.
My first wife hated me meditating. If I was in the toilet too long, she’d bang on the door and turn the radio up. I used to go to a local church early in the mornings to meditate, and she’d follow me, sitting behind me chanting, “Mantra mantra mantra!” One of her favourite retorts was, “Of course there’s a God – but you don’t have to bring him into every conversation!” I must have been truly irritating: she couldn’t stop herself, and neither could I, even though I felt sorry for her. That’s karma for you.
She eventually left, taking our daughter away, back to her home country. This was forty years ago, and now, as a consequence, I do not see my three grand children. Spirituality is tougher than we think. However, life has a way of working itself out: I was given space and time to practise.
Families press our buttons.
Those buttons make us extra sensitive.
It’s a good way of judging our progress
there will always be buttons!
( I’ve just come back from a family funeral which prompt these thoughts!)