How Can I Tell My Family About My Spiritual Path?


I think I want to follow the spiritual path, but I don't know how to tell this to my materialistic family, as they might think I have gone crazy or think I have fallen into a fad. Do you have any advice for "coming out" about my desire to explore spirituality to parents and family members?

—anonymous, usa


Dear Friend,

Your situation is common, and poses an interesting challenge to the spiritual seeker. How can we present our spiritual activities in a way that others can understand?

Yogis say that God is often experienced as peace and calm, and many seekers begin their spiritual search by seeking to increase these qualities in their lives. Most people, no matter how materialistic, can understand one’s efforts at stress management – in other words, one’s search for a way to reach peace and calmness.

Hatha yoga is one form of stress management, and any good yoga class will include a period at the end for experiencing peace in savasana. The next step after hatha yoga is meditation, where one learns to concentrate as well as experience peace.

I think you can probably start with hatha yoga as stress management, sharing a little with family and friends. After you have seen their response you may feel encouraged to talk about meditation with them. If they seem unresponsive, or even hostile, it’s better to keep it simple and not try to convince them at this point.

When they see what works for you, they might be open or even curious to know more. But even if that happens, remember to start simply. If you’re learning a foreign language you’ll begin with small words of practical use, rather than esoteric or philosophical concepts. The same principles apply when introducing foreign concepts.

In the many decades that I have been practicing meditation I have made it somewhat of a hobby to try to think about the different ways that one can explain the spiritual search. You might find it interesting too.

Many blessings and joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi