Living for God…with a Family
Many of you know that I am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife and I have been married seventeen years, and our very dynamic, energetic daughter is 4 years old. They are a great source of joy and inspiration to me.
My wife and I have chosen a life of dedication and service to God and Guru, but how does it interconnect with our role as parents? With my commitments as a teacher and music minister, and my wife’s as Production Manager at Crystal Clarity, we are often busier than we ever imagined. Through all of our busy days, we constantly strive to seek a balance between our family, our service, and our spiritual practices, which isn’t always so easy to achieve.
What do our spiritual practices look like? We are faced daily with the challenge of finding time for meditation. Our daughter has the superhuman ability to know exactly when we awake. Just this morning I awoke before dawn and exclaimed, “Ahh! she isn’t up yet! I can meditate!” only to hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall.
We don’t feel comfortable with shutting her out of our awake time, so usually I do my morning Kriyas with her playing in the same room. She’s gotten comfortable with me being there, and not yet fully there, thank goodness! At night after I’ve tucked her into bed, she often will ask me to stay in her room and meditate.
Other aspects of our spiritual practice are akin to weight lifting, as we constantly have to raise our energy to meet hers, with positive solution oriented consciousness. We strive to see her as a divine gift from God, though sometimes she seems to be a divine test when she pushes boundaries and tests our limits!
Yogananda is often referred to as the “Flawless Mirror” who could reflect back to us our own highest potential. Children are mirrors as well, reflecting back to us our own energies, tendencies, and consciousness. We must be supremely vigilant in how we respond and interact with her: with love, understanding, patience, and positive energy, which by far is the hardest challenge.
Some moments are deeply treasured: the other night she said “let’s say a prayer, Daddy!” and led me in a prayer to the gurus, pronouncing their names the best she could, asking our bodies to be filled with light and love.
Since she is often with me as I go to work in the recording studio at the Crystal Hermitage, she has had the great blessing of meeting Swami Kriyananda on several occasions. On one of them, Swami ever so graciously gave her a tour of his apartment, treating her not as a nuisance, but as a dear friend, answering all of her questions with utmost respect. Once again, Swamiji has shown me how every moment of our lives can be filled with appreciation, seeing God in everyone, and in every situation.
I am eternally grateful to be able to raise a child here in the Ananda Village. There are great challenges, to be sure, but I couldn’t imagine a more nurturing environment. She is surrounded by countless friends of every age, and is greeted with great love wherever we go.
For myself, never has my heart been so opened, not only in caring for my family, but also in gratitude for the many blessings received in living together for God.