“If you think you’re so enlightened…”
15 Mar, 2012
One of my favorite quotes from Ram Dass is “If you think you are so enlightened, go spend a week with your parents” . There’s something about interactions with family that cut to the core and raise all kind of emotional traumas isn’t there. I remember when I decided to stop eating meat. In Asia this was no issue at all, there was no judgement. But when I returned to the North East of England you’d have thought that I had joined a cult! And I disappointed myself, gave in and ate meat the entire time I was visiting.
I love Ram Dass advice about when you feel emotive, particularly in a family situation:
Ram Dass: “The question was, are there spiritual techniques when you are overcome by emotion? Well, I’ll tell you, as your practice gets more and more powerful, what happens is you see the stuff as it starts before it gets so overloaded and so invested with adrenaline and all of that. You don’t let it get so intense. By the time it gets out of control and so immense, then you just wait. You wait. The best thing to do at that point is to sit quietly and to let it pass. Now when an emotional upset starts, it may start out of a thought process, but then it starts to involve all of the body — the adrenaline and all kinds of chemical reactions. Then often, one of the ways out of it is to work with the body. For example, running or movement. Taking a walk. Doing things which start to release the energy, the kind of chemical buildup. Because you get that kind of nervous energy when you are emotionally upset. Then there is meditation–quieting down and allowing yourself to see how lost you’ve gotten.”
In the past I struggled a lot with my family’s perception of me. Having left home at 17 years old to live in London, I think my family froze me in time as an irresponsible teenager (my friends think this is hilarious as I’m one of the most responsible people they know!). I constantly felt as if I had to prove that I was a grown up.
Eckhart Tolle speaks often about the egoic mind saying ‘ego loves to complain and condemn’ and that these are two favorite pastimes at family get togethers “One of your jobs is to be aware of when this happens and choose either to not participate in it, to bring the subject to a more positive and meaningful conversation, or to point out the pointlessness of complaining and judging.”
You might practice yoga, meditation, mindful breathing and be spiritually knowledgeable but you know what, it’s ok to feel emotive about family connections. Ram Dass said this brilliantly “Oh, look at how deliciously human I am.” Not to milk it. Not to keep feeding it, but not to push it away.”
I had a chat with an empathetic girlfriend, I did a loving kindness meditation and I read a few good blog posts. May all beings be happy!
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