Spiritual Growth and Duties to Family Members


What do you do about worldly people? People who are entrenched in their stuff? In their egos? In manipulating other people? In being dishonest to get ahead and to fit in with people for sake of said egos? People who are deeply set in habits and personalities? I’m talking about some of my close family members: siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents... If I love them and appreciate them, is it alright if I leave them behind? Is it okay to just let bonds die away if not violently or angrily?

—Carolyn, USA


Dear Friend,

You are right to say, “Can I love and appreciate those close family members but leave them behind?” That is exactly the best thing to do. It is only one lifetime that we are with particular souls as parents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends. It is all for our growth, education, and entertainment. There is no need to be part of the worlds that contradict what your own soul is aspiring toward. Although, at the same time we have the opportunity to love them as they are, without judging the circumstance. But when a higher duty conflicts with a lower duty, the lower duty ceases to be a duty.

True happiness among family members has its foundation in understanding, high ideals, positive thinking, and kindness. If that does not exist, your only duty is to remain in calmness and patience for all that is happening around you. Better still, seek out friends of similar aspirations as yourself. In those like-minded people, you will find a true family.

Your calm resistance to the actions of family members can reflect back to them the negative nature of their attitudes, words, and behavior. That may be all that you can do as you seek spiritual friends and “family”. Your earthly family can still be loved and respected for their role in your life and all they have given and represent. At the same time, you can remain strong in your own soul growth and dignity.

A very helpful solution for staying even-minded and at the same time receiving guidance on your own directions is this powerful prayer. Think of the family members who are difficult for you and say, “Lord, fill them with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Say this for 10 repetitions for about one minute, visualizing them filled with peace and harmony. Then visualize yourself surrounded in peace and harmony and say: “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Say this for 10 repetitions for about one minute. Doing this throughout the day and any time you feel the need for acceptance and calmness will help.

Most of all, give your efforts to God and ask for His blessings and His love. Give God your love with self-offering in your heart.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Hassi