This month I am focusing on the family—what is a family and how can we have an enlightening family experience.
When we think of family, we tend to think of a lot of chaos, a lot of great times, difficult times, and misunderstandings. But then, when we really need someone, it’s the family that shows up—at least we hope so. Sometimes we are blessed to have a wonderful nuclear family. Sometimes our families come apart through a divorce or tragedy. Sometimes we have to create our own family because, in the 21st century, we really move around so much that family gets displaced. We’re really always looking for ways to create that close family experience, that deep bonding that feeds the soul and helps our hearts be full.
In the Kaballah and the mystical traditions, there is a real understanding that family is a microcosm of All That Is—the microcosm of the macrocosm of heaven, of the Creator. In this picture, the family unit depicts the closest and first energies emanating from the Creator when the Creator created us. Now, I know that it sounds pretty lofty, pretty mystical, so I’m going to back it down a bit for you and start with the soul. The soul is the light within us that is always emanating the life force. It’s what gives us the light. It’s like a candle that’s lit (and not all candles are lit). If the candles not lit, the body dies, the body ends. But the soul has consciousness. Everything has consciousness! So, the soul, which is your deep consciousness, is the place within us that interfaces and is the closest to the Creator, to all that is the divine intelligence, to God.
We are here for our soul to have a human experience. The soul feels as though it’s in exile here. It doesn’t understand this world. This world is based in separation and there’s time and space. The soul lives outside of time and space. The soul lives in heaven. And the light of the soul—your soul—is a radiance from heaven through you, through every cell of your being. Now, science hasn’t quite come up with a language yet to talk about this energy that the spiritualist mystics and religions have been speaking about since we first discovered tablets of spiritual knowledge from thousands and thousands of years ago. Scientists are still looking for the vernacular for how this life force comes into the body. They haven’t found it yet. But the mystics know. The Mystics know there is a place within you where your physicality and your conscious mind intersect and are merged with your soul, the light of your being. And this is a very special place. This is a place that you touch in deep meditation. This is a place that you touch when you’re in love. And this is a place that you touch when you are in intimate relationships. And by intimate I mean people who know you and who know you know them and you have an agreement that even when times are hard you won’t leave each other. You’ll stay.
Even when there’s a shift in outside circumstances, you and this group of people both family and/or friends have said, “We’ll be together. We won’t leave each other. We won’t abandon each other.” And that creates trust, it creates a bond for your soul to feel safe. And when your soul feels safe, you’re a peace, you have serenity, you feel good about life, and you are actually happy. (Time Magazine just came out with a whole special edition on happiness that’s actually quite brilliant. They don’t really talk about the soul. But they do talk about the emotional need that we all have for deep bonding relationships and that this is what ultimately brings us happiness.) So, coming back to the soul, we all are in a group of souls that come together either through family or come together by choice. And in this grouping there is the opportunity for a quantum leap in transformation. Because transformation happens in a quantum leap in a relationship with other people. Why? Because other people become the mirrors of our fractured selves.
We are all fractured. I’m fractured. There’s just no way out of it if you’re going to be here on planet Earth. We each have many parts of ourselves that we’re here to heal. And to accomplish that healing within your soul family, you can set your intention. You can call your family together and say, “Let’s set an intention for today.” Perhaps you’re going to practice loving-kindness. Perhaps you will practice forgiveness. Perhaps you will practice finding wisdom. But set an intention, set a goal like you would in a business. Because actually families are business. Everything is business at the end of the day. I hate to say that, but it’s true. Because business is ordered and businesses is about directions. Your family is your spiritual and emotional business because we’re born into that family to learn what we need to learn. We are born into this life to experience what we need to experience to grow and to become greater.
Sometimes this is very difficult to do. And this is when we turn to a higher power, to God, to the presence of the Archangels, to something outside of ourselves to give us a strength that we normally would not have to take care of business. We’re here for relationship healing, for relationship building. And we do this with the people closest to us.
So, look to see where and how you can create this healing experience—even if the situation with people closest to you is a real mess. I grew up in a raucous Irish Catholic, dysfunctional family with a lot of love and a lot of craziness. If I’d walked in and said, “Let’s have an enlightened family experience” or “Let’s enter intention together,” everybody would have looked at me, rolled their eyes and laughed. You don’t have to say or do that. You can just set your own intention and say, “I want to be a catalyst. I want to serve. I want to bring a service of creating an enlightening experience for us—an experience of deep love, happiness and transformation.”
You can do this by simply setting your intention, by saying it out loud, by putting it into the field of thought. Because thought is profoundly creative. And then, from that place, I encourage you to use this particular mantra, as you engage and observe:
I am here to experience enlightenment,
I am here to experience transformation,
I am here to experience love,
I am here to heal.
With this statement, you can redirect and change the course of any disagreement and you can create a lot of fun in the process. This is a mystical process. (I am, after all, a mystic!) And the reason I’m bringing this up and bringing it into the world now is because I look around at all my friends and people I meet and know most of us are not exactly doing a great job in our relationships. Sometimes we’re doing okay. But sometimes we’re like giant steam ships and we crash in the ocean. And it really hurts to see that happen, especially when you know that people really love each other.
Why embrace a mystical perspective of life? Well, because from my personal experience and from working with thousands of people, when you embrace the unseen world of who you are—the world of divine light—when you embrace the fact that thought creates, and when you embrace your ability to choose your thoughts and have them directly affect your experience of life (this is also known as cognitive therapy in psychology, so it’s not even mystical), your life will become a magical life. When you begin to work with your unseen friends or angels or spiritual guides, your life will become a magical life. I’ve seen this over and over, and the Mystics have known this for a very long time.
So, even if it’s a stretch, just play with it. Try it. Say the mantra and know that your souls are here to reflect to each other the lessons you need to learn. You never know, some kind of magic might come into your life.
The second step for finding the fun in life and bringing enlightenment into your family is this: When you feel yourself getting upset, getting angry and having your buttons pushed—when a family member says that one thing (again) that really bothers me and you start to feel yourself getting all worked up—I want you to stop, watch your breath, move to the center of your forehead where the observer, the Silent Watcher, sits, and from that observer space push the reset button. Literally imagine yourself pushing a big blue button to reset that thought and its impact on you while saying to yourself, “I don’t have to react the way I normally do. I can shift my reaction right now. I can release myself from that reaction.”
Use your imagination in this. For example, you can imagine that there’s a rope tied to the button in your solar plexus and just untie it. Let it go. Or imagine that you’re standing in a waterfall of beautiful clear water and that whatever someone just said to you can’t get through. Imagine you’re in a blue pyramid of light and that nothing negative can come at you through that pyramid. These are your mystical tools. And they work because thought and feeling and imagery and imagination—everything you experience—is an energy, a living energy. By using the mystical tools, you’re actually meeting energy where it begins in the mind and the imagination, those creative parts of ourselves.
If someone says something hurtful, call in these mystical tools before you say something that’s equally hurtful. That’s being wise. When a conflict escalates in your family—for example when you’re on vacation having fun at the beach and then suddenly there’s a blow up—when that happens, when that kind of friction starts, using your mystical tools gives you a moment to breathe, enabling you to react from a neutral place or from a different place than you normally would. And when you do this, you break the pattern. You break the pattern of dysfunction. You break the pattern of hurt for everybody—not just yourself.
When you do that, right there, in that moment, you have just created an enlightened experience— a new awareness where you can give your soul and the soul of the other people involved an opportunity to have the space to experience each other in a completely new way.
Think about how we experience each other when our egos are engaged—when we’re simply focused on protecting our ego and how the ego then operates with other egos. There’s very little room for anyone’s soul to have a new experience. And yet, that is why we’re here! For our souls to have a new experience. And when our souls are not having a new experience, our souls’ light begins to dim, our souls actually begin to grieve. Our souls begin to feel lost because they’re just not engaged. It’s just like ignoring your child. And what would your child do if you just ignored him or her? What if you didn’t feed your child? What if you ignored your child and abandoned your child? Usually a child will end up crying or screaming really loud to get attention, until you look at them and ask, “What do you need?”
That’s what happens to all of us inside.
So, shift your perspective. Perhaps those in your family or those around you who say or do something unkind, perhaps their ego is falsely interpreting the pain that their soul feels. Perhaps when someone lashes out in your family or says something unkind you can shift your perception. Instead of reacting, you might think. “Oh, wait! That person’s ego is interpreting the pain of their soul. And when they do that they say that stupid thing, or they do that stupid thing. Ah. That’s what’s happening!”
By shifting your perception of how you receive the information, you have just opened the door to enlightenment. You have just opened the door to creating intimacy in connection. You opened the door for an enlightened family experience. And you can be the catalyst whether you are in a family that has a spiritual practice or not. It doesn’t even matter. Because your intention, your own practice and the way you perceive an act will actually help to shift all of those around you so that your family becomes nurturing and caring and supportive. Then you have what I call a Soul Pod.
I’m going to be talking more about soul pods next week and the weeks to follow, and I’m also going to be sharing about what to do when someone in your family, someone you love, just won’t budge out of their negativity. But for now, have fun this summer and practice this exercise. And know that this wonderful summer can be filled with beautiful growth experiences for you and your family.