How do we overcome the feeling of not doing enough for our family in our spiritual journey?
Emotional family drama vs. Spirituality
What a great question! This was asked by one of my favorite people on os. For me, the answer was easy, but it may not suit the taste of many. But then, I thought I should try to answer anyways. Due to the length, the answer has become an article.
So, most of us out there are thinking of the same question; let me ask something deeper so it may offer more clarity to this question.
Which family are we talking about?
We had a different life, body, and family a few or more decades ago. Now we have this new life, body, and family. And, in the next few decades or more, we will have a brand-new set of life, body, and family. Remember, it is always the same consciousness; we change our body forms and families per the karma we collect, which we call life and death.
All our past, present, or future families are on the earth’s timeline. Just because we now have a different body suit, does that mean it is acceptable to completely ignore the previous family we loved, cared for, adored, and spent all our lives taking care of them? Remember, it is the same consciousness connected to the new body from the previous body. If you have spent all your life taking care of their demands and ignoring your spiritual path, that was one loss of life because, as you can see, you don’t care for them anymore in this current body form. Please note that the same will continue in the next life.
There is a greater chance that some of our loved ones from a previous birth could still be on this earth in the present time. But we have no desire to take care of them in this body form as we are involved with this brand-new family and newly created relationships. Is it because we depend on our memory? I have no memory of my previous life, so I don’t love them anymore. Is this so-called love that limited? What happened to unconditional love? Your most beloved child from a previous life, for whom you would give up your precious life, has no meaning now in this life form? If there is no memory of previous life, is it ok not to worry and take care of loved ones and ignore them?
If we get our memories back about our previous lives, would we run and take care of the one who was once very dear to us in our previous life and starts taking care of them now? Then how about the life before? Would this chakra view of our previous lives ever end?
Back in the game
So, my next question is, after this life ends in a few decades, and we will be back in the game with a brand-new suit of body and family, would we not care or yearn for this life family? This is the family we worry about, their feelings, expectations, etc.
That one short breath we take, and our fabulous consciousness and sukshma Sarira (the Subtle Body — the body of the mind and the vital energies, which keep the physical body alive.) leave this Gross Body with no trace, all our ties and love ends suddenly? After we leave this body, we don’t worry about fulfilling the demands of the family. Our consciousness doesn’t carry any liabilities.
Our pure consciousness (SOHAM — सो ऽहम्).) never belongs to any family. On the other hand, the body suit we obtain claims the family trees. Now in that body form, with the help of our senses, we start building new memories and relationships, and before we know it, it creates a character with a name, and we start believing that it is our true identity; we forget who we are. Now we are collecting shame, sorrow, guilt, ego, unrequired and unwanted emotions, and some feeble pleasant memories. The entire timeline gets wasted on pleasing the mind, body, people, society, friends, and everyone else in our so-called created world in that life form. As our body starts getting dysfunctional, our consciousness very conveniently leaves the body and moves on. It doesn’t care if our work is half done or if our body and mind may want to hang out more on earth. It just leaves with no explanation. Finds a new home per our karma, nature offers us the body, and before we know it, we are here again.
Why are we keep coming back?
This is a profound question, and I can fill thousands of pages with black ink and may never answer to anyone’s satisfaction. Or I can say a few lines which would make sense to a few. Let’s try the shorter one here (who has time to read a thousand pages!).
As per my teeny-tiny drop of understanding from this uber ocean of truth, we all are looking for that ultimate truth of SOHAM (सो ऽहम्). Every soul gets enlightened; the timeline could be different for all. We are here to experience the world with our senses, and along with that path, we create new Karma; we work on our old Karma. We fight our Shumbha Nishumbha, a duality-creating desire manifesting more Karma. Thus, we keep on coming back.
Know your powers!
Know that we are blessed to have a human life form. This life form is our ultimate power. Don’t let your mind, thoughts, society, or family guilt take you away from your purpose. Know that hurdles will come, situations will challenge you; nature will test you. In the end, all these will strengthen you and offer a firm foundation for your spiritual path.
Here I would like to quote Swami Vivekananda, one of the pearls of his wisdom:
“Stand up, men and women, in this spirit, dare to believe in the Truth, dare to practice the Truth! The world requires a few hundred bold men and women. Practice that boldness which dares know the Truth, which dares show the Truth in life, which does not quake before death, nay, welcomes death, makes a man know that he is the Spirit, that, in the whole universe, nothing can kill him. Then you will be free. Then you will know your real Soul. ‘This Atman is first to be heard, then thought about and then meditated upon’ (2.85).”
As seer and seen become one, the knowledge of Aham Brahmāsmi comes forward (enlightenment). But go further and drop Aham; there is only Brahman remaining. That is our truth. Knowing the true nature, the Brahman becomes all. That is the reason we come back again and again…
Now it’s your choice.
Now, it is up to us to decide whether it is worth thinking or worrying about the family of this lifetime demands, drama, requirements, and list of commitments. If you feel a loving attachment and a strong desire towards family and would like to consider them, then you are not ready for your deep spiritual path, which is ok. If you ignore your family and keep walking on the path, you may never be happy, and the guilt will take over. So, choose your path wisely.
Know that it is ultimately your choice; no one will hold your hand and show you the way, no matter how many doors you knock on to get the solution. You already know your answer; all you are doing is looking for affirmation of what your thoughts align with. When others’ opinion matches our thoughts, we confirm it as our answer.
Here is fun work for you to find your answer.
Keep building up your good karma by performing your true dharma, and get your family involved if they show interest.
If you don’t believe in karma, no worries.
The good news is that your Guru will call you when it is time. If you haven’t received your calling yet, keep practicing your dharma.
If you don’t believe in Guru, no worries.
Focus on chanting, sadhana and Satsang. Enjoy it with others who have similar interests.
If you don’t believe in sadhana and chanting, no worries.
Just be a good human and continue your Shravana, Manana, and Nididhyasana.
Shravana — Read and listen about spirituality.
Manana — Contemplate and think about what you read; try to understand and analyze it.
Nididhyasana — When honest, authentic thoughts and understanding about our existence rise, one automatically reaches this state of the Truth. There are no extra efforts needed here.
Hope is always here
To name a few, Santa Tukaram, Namdeva, and Gora Kumbhar were family men, leading providers, and married with kids. They all received enlightenment. If there is a will, there is a way!
This is our ultimate opportunity to purify ourselves, surrender to the Divine completely, and know that you are SOHAM (सो ऽहम् — I AM). We are all one, and one is all.
Let’s not worry too much about how others may or may not feel about your spiritual path or if you are doing enough for others. If your family loves you and honestly cares for you, they will support you no matter what. Let’s focus on Satchidananda. What do you think?