Subscribe via Email

Now Reading

Technorati Profile

« I'm A Visionary, Not a Revolutionary | Main | Best Writing Advice I've Heard In A Long Time »

Nov 25, 2006


patti digh

This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for the depth and breadth of what you have given me to ponder as a result of this writing...


As a spiritually awakened woman I am sure you know that "family" is a great illusion.
At the same time - you are right - families don´t happen - they are part of the karmic path of an individual.

Now we think that we MUST be able to have good - if not the best relations - with our families. This is not necessarily true. I have seen many situations where certain family members simply were at another level of their spiritual development and simply obstructed the personal evolution of a brother, a sister.....

Sometimes one needs to leave people behind -WITHOUT GUILT. This doesn´t mean that they don´t have a place in one´s heart. It just means that one doesn´t allow oneself to be vicitimised by others - no matter who it is!

The soul is the most important gift and the greatest value we have in our life. The mind with all the societal behaviours and ideas must come second. So if the soul finds closer relations to other souls outside "the family" that is perfectly fine and doesn´t need any guilt feeling or judgment!

Kare Anderson

Wonderful E
...yes, me too... you offered an apt, tender and vulnerable message that resonated.

Opportunity to learn is often inconvenient.

I can't help but think of the cosmic joke, at least in the "Christian"-dominated world of the U.S. that these holidays enable us to know that many of the strangers around us (as upbeat as they may act) are also going through the angst, the family-avoidance, the regrets, the excuses... the opportunities we still must face to be grateful for what we have ...

Love is not always power; that may be as
good a description of the human predicament
as we are likely to get.

Remember the many
compartments of the heart,
the seed of what is
possible. So much of who
we are is defined by
the places we hold for each
other. For it is not our ingenuity
that sets us apart, but our
capacity for love, the
possibility our way will
be lit by grace. Our hearts
prisms, chiseling out the
colors of pure light.

tish grier


sometimes it is the lack of communication within one's family--and the sense that biological family is not family at all--that sends some of us to look in far-flung places for a sense of family.

It makes us able to trust strangers because our immediate families are as equally unknown--and sometimes more dangerous--than strangers.

The connections we make on the internet, at this point in the evolution of social media, are stronger when we meet one another f2f--perhaps because of the lack of physical social cues. It's these f2f meetings that give us a sense of "tribe" when our tribe may not exist in our own backyards.

Tribe, however, is different from family...

I love the Dalai Lama's words about being in a time when there is "much in the window and nothing in the room." perhaps it's because we haven't quite figured out how to properly value of what's in the window and find a way to bring our Selves into that room.

Evelyn Rodriguez

Thank you so much Patti, Mira, Tish, Kare for your considered, thoughtful comments.

I just arrived back in San Jose as I write this.

I particularly wanted to reply to Mira's comments first. I may write more later.

Ah yes, if family is a great illusion, then why does this little dream carry such power to bug the heck out of so many of us? From this same nondualist philosophical stance, I see woman, spirituality, karma, 'personal' evolution, soul, guilt, judgment, and all 'relationship' as illusion as well. To whom would 'I' be relating to? There is no Other.

What personhood could be evolving separately from their brother or sister? Have you ever found said person as a separate entity?

I don't operate from scripture, nor from sutras, nor from philosophies. Viscerally, I can feel a contraction, a resistance, a tightening, a heaviness settling, an uneasiness, and I ask a question about the thought behind that sensation because I have sensed that is not the pure natural state of being which has a lively lightness (en-LIGHT-enment) and simple peace to it.

Ruby reminded me and I noted my resistance to my family which was incongruous with moving from an easeful openness to Everything. Whatever shows up in my life cannot be avoided or pushed away so easily any longer. It was just time to confront my deep-seated resistance regarding family.

In the movie "The Matrix" (VERY, very influential in my life), Morpheus says: "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

And so what, I now know the path. Big deal. Walking it as this expression of the Mystery is what it means to be human, and humans, including me, aren't perfect. Thankfully this isn't about perfection.

The beautiful thing is I don't need my family to be any different than they are any more. I don't need them to conform to my idea of family. I don't them to be special people in my life. I don't need them to be closer than close. I don't need anything from them any longer which grants them the permission to simply be without being judged and I can simply enjoy them just as they are.

Thomas Merton said, "Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through all the time...The only thing is we don't see it."


And yet... What is one to do in a case like mine where I'm not the flee-er...but the one who's pushed away? Not every family wants every member in its tribe (unfortunately). Some family members don't welcome and/or embrace those they suspect hold different beliefs (even when one is careful not to give voice to those beliefs in others' presence)...who prefer to exclude those whose lives are measured in benchmarks different from their own. Great post though.


Marilyn--as one who is an outcast for a variety of reasons...your post resonates. You expressed perfectly a large part of my situation with my family... My family of origin would rather I disappear because I don't really belong with them. We do not understand each other, and the tension of trying to is unbearable for me. (me trying and them not listening, caring or showing any interest)I stopped trying years ago and then turned into a giant ear for their narcissism, or their pathology... That is my function. Some patterns begin in childhood when one child is never "seen" or understood---especially if that child has mystical tenencies---and the pattern, when left unchecked no matter how hard the invisible one wants into the family, that grown-up child is forever outside, unseeen, dismissed. Sometimes its best to leave the tribe...even if the pain of exclusion never completely leaves. Long ago I removed all expectations of my family except a modicum of respect, and they are unable and unwilling to offer that. It's an in-group thing with my sisters gossiping about me, and judging me. My mother died years ago, and my father doesn't want to get involved. I am, in effect with one sister and in reality with one sister, disowned. The reasons are bizarre. I am physically ill and they want nothing to do with me. My family is my friends, my books, music, (Silvio Rodriguez, Madredeus, etc) Thomas Merton, God, nature...And although I am outside the family I was born and raised in, I am at peace. The world is a wonderful and mysterious place. Y lo quiero mucho...
And Eveyln--if you don't have a tape of Kerouac reading his work at a friend's flat in SF I do and would be happy to make a copy for you. Also on the tape, the late, great, beloved beat poet Marty Matz.

Evelyn Rodriguez

I've felt pushed away, an outcast and outsider most of my life even before I was dropped into kindergarten in a New Jersey surburb without nary a word of English to talk to the other kids or the teachers. Sometimes it was family, sometimes it was the kids at school, sometimes it was my husband, sometimes it was...

Even the best of my best friends think I'm 'trippy.' Marilyn's and Hannah's comments reminded me of a close friendship that's become strained because I was interpreting that I was being pushed away. Thank you for the opportunity to revisit that situation.

I've a deep-seated need to be seen, to be understood. One day I had a HUGE falling out with Ruby (whom I started out this blog post referencing) where we didn't speak to each other for a few months. Finally I realized I was hurt that of ALL people even she didn't see 'me.'

It was then that I "got" that to be seen would imply a distance, and this is hard to articulate, when we're inseparable as One, it's all You. My insistance on being seen is pretty much equivalent to an insistence in being separated as Two, otherwise it's impossible to see, understand, a distinct other. There's nothing to understand if it's You, it just is. So even the parts we reject are our Self. Everyone ends up holding up a mirror.

A continuous process of seeing through projection over and over again is my main spiritual practice.

I just picked up a random page in my housemate's "The Power of Now" that was lying on the kitchen table (one of my all-time favorite life-changing books) and that's when I sat down to write this comment. BTW, in my own life I've noted romantic relationships and family of origin relationships to be the most challenging, thus the most helpful:

"So whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the "madness" in you and in your partner, be glad. What was unconcious is being brought up to the light...Every moment, hold the knowing of that moment, particularly of your inner state. If there is anger, know that there is anger. If there is jealousy, defensiveness, the urge to argue, the need to be right, an inner child demanding love and attention, or emotional pain of any kind -- whatever it is, know the reality of that moment and hold the knowing. The relationship then becomes you sadhana, your spiritual practice. If you observe unconscious behavior in your partner, hold it in the loving embrace of your knowing so that you won't react. Unconsciousness and knowing cannot coexist for long -- even if the knowing is only in the other person and not in the one who is acting out the unconsciousness. The energy form that lies behind hostility and attack finds the presence of love absolutely untolerable. If you react at all to your partner's unconsciousness, you become unconscious yourself. But if you then remember to know your reaction, then nothing is lost....

[The 'knowing' is bringing 'awareness' to it rather than figuring it all out and analyzing why's. "Aha, I feel anger, or Aha, I feel unseen."]

[I]f you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born [I'd say realized, recognized] into this world." - Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now", pg 131-132 in Hardcover version

That last sentence is VERY powerful. Relationships are here to make us conscious, not happy. I thought I'd be happy if more people close to me would only understand me. But thankfully they didn't give me that. They gave me a far, far greater gift. Paradoxically, when I come from intent of bringing to light all that remains unconscious rather than my judgment of what would make me happy, I do feel an immense encompassing sense of unconditional love and joy.

The chapter "Dharmic Relationship" in Adyashanti's book "Emptiness Dancing" has also been indispensable to me.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28  
Blog powered by Typepad