Family doesn't like my spirituality...

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letitgo
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Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by letitgo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:52 pm

I’m interested in getting some opinions and help…

I have a website where I chronicle the last four years of spiritual experiences in my life. During this time, and many years before, I left 90% of my family. Rather than go into all the details, let’s just say it was in my best interest to walk away. Recently, they found my website, and just to simplify, they are very angry.

The focus of my website is non-judgment. I spend a great deal of time and energy sharing my message of drawing good things to you, and changing your belief systems. They don’t agree. They seem to want to judge me for leaving them. They feel hurt that this person that walked out of their lives is now blissfully teaching love and acceptance and non-judgment.

Admittedly, many years ago, when I left their lives, I may not have left in a loving way, but many times I did leave lovingly. How do I handle this? It’s hard to watch them leave comments in the Guestbook comparing me to Hitler. (I figured out how to delete these).

I will continue, of course, to respond with love, and attempt to remember that they are just hurt and confused. But it is hard to love someone that is coming at you with a knife. I CAN’T GET AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE!

Suggestions?

Thanks, Norm
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:03 am

Norm -

I think I'd use Byron Katie's four questions and a turnaround. Get familiar, if you aren't already, with thework.com and her book "Loving What Is." "My family should treat me kindly" might be a first statement to test.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

James
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by James » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:49 pm

Norm,

Nice photo on your website, it's always good to see the face that goes with the voice.

What's real is what is now. I see an expression of warmth, love and caring.

This issue is arising not because it is unresolved in your relatives, but because it is not completely resolved in you. You have the capacity to face those inner demons, feel and dissolve old pain. There is no short cut, no trick to affirm or spiritualize it away. It will take as long as it take. Face it with openness, tenderness and sincerity. Sit with it in the silence, inquire, and let the tears flow if needed. Pain of any kind is always an opportunity for greater self-realization. Then you will know how to respond to the situation with your relatives.

james
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

letitgo
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by letitgo » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:34 pm

Thank Andy and James,

What has happened as a result of these attacks… has been amazing. Some of the issues brought into my awareness were feelings and beliefs from years and years ago. I’ve been reading a lot about recognizing who you are, by recognizing who you aren’t. It is very much in line, energetically, with Byron Katie’s teachings - kind of an “opposite” awareness - and out of this pain and hurt, came a peace that I did not expect and could not have previously imagined. I accepted fully what they said I was, and the opposite of that came over me like a wave of joy and peace and strength that passed all my previous understanding.

I am so grateful.

There is a great line in a Clint Eastwood movie. A fat sheriff says, “Don’t confuse fat with stupid”. My twist on this is, “Don’t confuse spirituality with weakness”. There is a strength in acceptance, a strength in knowing, a strength in recognizing who you truly are, that can’t be touched or harmed or demeaned in any way. And I “am” grateful for this painful experience, and through this pain have found more strength than I knew I had.

Norm
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

James
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by James » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:57 pm

That was beautiful Norm.

j.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

sevenworlds
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by sevenworlds » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:44 pm

letitgo wrote:I will continue, of course, to respond with love, and attempt to remember that they are just hurt and confused. But it is hard to love someone that is coming at you with a knife. I CAN’T GET AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE!
What makes you think you need to respond with love? What I'm always trying to point out is love is only a 4-letter word. We have been brainwashed by all these spiritual texts over the centuries to believe that we should be loving and caring. These are things of the mind. If you give up the idea of responding with love where is the problem?

I can relate to much of what you say because I also went through a similar experience. Although I didn't have major issues with my parents or family growing up, one thing that struck me at an early age was the amount of fall-outs and marriage break-ups within my family. I used to think to myself "there is something not right about this family, love and marriage thing". I stopped going to visit my dad's side of the family when I was 13 because there were so many arguments and then, two years ago, my mum died suddenly and there was a bust-up with her side of the family over funeral arrangements. They haven't spoken to me since. I walked away from that and a lot of things became clear. I am only in contact with 3 members of my family now. It made me see clearly what I'd suspected before - family is an illusion. If you get on with your family, great, but many of us stick with our families because we feel obliged to. It's all an idea programmed into us the moment we give a name - mum, aunt, brother, etc - and wrap an image around it.

I can see clearly now that the bust-up was necessary because it gave me the space to be myself. I don't have to worry about trying to please people and all the social expectations that come with that. Also, I have watched my brother and dad grow with me, from no prior interest in spiritual matters, to now constantly asking me questions each time we meet. Who's to say, but I really don't think the rest of my family would have been ready for this. Life is much more simple now and the people around me are the people that need to be. Everything is as it should be.

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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by James » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:45 pm

Glad you are still here sharing with us sevenworlds. There is always much to learn from one another, even when don't agree.

james
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

sevenworlds
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by sevenworlds » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:52 pm

Yes, there is no reason we should agree. I don't have a choice in being here. I'll continue to respond to the situation. If it suggests I leave, I'll leave, without bad feeling.

letitgo
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by letitgo » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:05 pm

Hello sevenworlds,

I don’t necessarily respond out of love for the sake of love. There certainly are many levels of love and I would call mine more of a “presence”. I respond out of love because it serves me to do so. If I respond with the same energy as the one who is confronting me, then that energy can stick. If I respond with my detached “presence”, they have no effect. So that is what I meant by saying “of course, I will continue to respond with love”. My response may be, “no thank you… I won’t be anywhere near you”. But I don’t pick up any of their negative energy that way.

This may be less direct than, “Get out!“, but it serves me well for now. Many people automatically, and unequivocally respond with love, and maybe they don‘t pick up anyone‘s negative energy, but I know what does and doesn’t work for me.

That’s pretty much what I’ve done over the past nineteen years, politely or not so politely, walked away from 90% of my family. ET says, “change a situation, accept a situation, or leave a situation, all else is madness”. I couldn’t agree more.

Norm
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by lucy » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:21 pm

sevenworlds wrote:What makes you think you need to respond with love? What I'm always trying to point out is love is only a 4-letter word. We have been brainwashed by all these spiritual texts over the centuries to believe that we should be loving and caring. These are things of the mind. If you give up the idea of responding with love where is the problem?
I agree that the mind's definition of love is the "sticky" dualistic love that is often confused with "need" or desire, but I think the unconditional love that is often referred to as our ture nature or the love that has no opposite expresses through the form when the ego is not in the way.

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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by James » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:40 pm

Sevenworlds, one thing I will agree with you is, that there is no reason that we should respond with love. Self Realization is unpredictable, it may mean leaving some people behind or not, who is to say. Each situation and person is different. We could say leaving people behind is an act of love in some situations.

It seems the problem is partly that love is a concept that means different things to different people. However it does appear that what we call a loving orientation (a term open to interpretation), is a very common outcome of awakening. Not because we expect that it should be that way, just because it often is that way. Why who knows? That is just what happens, and has been described as happening for centuries in various literature, and various traditions, when the ego is out of the way (as Lucy mentioned). We could say that is just what life does. But there again, I agree it is not the right way, only way, or the way that awakening should appear. And we really can't cultivate authentic love, it happens on its own, in the flow of life.

Here is a little story that is relevant about Papaji and his family, from a conversation with Ramana. It was described in a letter by Gangaji. This offers a different perspective about the nature of illusion/dream and family.
In 1947 India was in extreme crisis. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were killing each other. Enforced mass migration was causing anger, fear, and despair. The country was in chaos.

At the same time, Papaji sat in bliss at Ramana's feet and at the feet of the holy mountain Arunachala. One day, after reading in the newspaper of the horror, Ramana asked Papaji about his family and the dangers they were in as they were being forced to leave the Punjab and relocate to Hindu governed Lucknow. Papaji responded, "That is all an empty dream. I am here in the bliss of your grace."

Ramana looked deeply at Papaji and said, "If it is all a dream, where is the problem of taking care of your family? Go and help them."

Papaji left that night for the Punjab. He was able to help get all his family out in time. Just in time. He was on the last train allowed out.

Gangaji
Papaji then provided for his family all the rest of his years, even though he was often absent. So then this is just one example, again not to suggest we should imitate anyone else or do what they say. But rather awaken to the truth within (Self-Realization), and let it express itself, freely and authentically, without preconceived ideas.

It sounds like to some extent we are saying the same thing sevenworlds. Although we can agree to disagree on some other points.

james
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

letitgo
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by letitgo » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:14 pm

Lucy said
"the love that has no opposite"
This is really amazing. This is something I have never heard before. I will be taking a while to soak this up!

The energies I’ve been discussing and feeling and working with for the past couple years that sticks to like energy or grows stronger through resistance, can’t stick to “presence” and it would also make sense that they can’t stick to something that has "no opposite". Something that has no opposite doesn’t resist anything. It can go anywhere and not be effected by other energies. Love has no opposite energy!

This probably doesn't mean much to you Tolle guys, but it sure gets me all excited.

Thanks Lucy, Norm
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

sevenworlds
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by sevenworlds » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:19 pm

Why must we call it 'love'? That word is so overly familiar to the mind, because as you say James, we all have so many concepts and ideas about it. These have been built up through time probably because of all the talk of 'love' in spiritual texts. Then when the arts (ie. poetry, music & film) got hold of it, it turned into a monster.

If we agree it's not the word itself, it is some kind of energy that the word represents, why not use another word? What difference would it make? It would certainly help to break down this mind-based concept of love because the mind wouldn't be able to get such a handle on what this is if we were all using different expressions. That is what I was pointing out in the Bob Marley thread. What if Bob is using words like Jah, Rastafari, and I'n'I to represent the same energy others would call love?

As for Papaji, I read a story about him from David Godman, who wrote his biography. He said Papaji upset many of his devotees in the 1970s by fathering a child with a woman in her 20s. He was in his 60s at the time. I think he was still married but whether he was still with his wife at the time I don't know. Anyway, the woman and the child grew up around him and he was apparently very harsh with them a lot of the time. After he passed away, the woman admitted that she learnt a lot during that time. So you see, in that state, the energy is always there and can never harm, it doesn't matter what the outer actions are, but if you're looking for 'love' and 'compassion' you will miss it. From that perspective, the reasons for remaining with or abandoning your family have nothing to do with family but energy. It may be that some or all of your family are drawn to that energy or they may be repelled. On the surface level of life, that can appear as a bust-up. Our misery is caused by expecting relationships should be permanent when if we open our eyes everything is constantly changing.

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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by lucy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:56 am

sevenworlds wrote:If we agree it's not the word itself, it is some kind of energy that the word represents, why not use another word? What difference would it make? It would certainly help to break down this mind-based concept of love because the mind wouldn't be able to get such a handle on what this is if we were all using different expressions.
yes, a rose is sill a rose even if known by any other name (apoligies to the Bard). It doesn't matter what symbol we use, we will run into the same problem. A fresh symbol may work for awhile but sooner or later it will also become a closed concept. Relatively speaking, we do need a shared set of symbols (language)to communcicate, so for a lack of better word, we're kinda hooped. There is nothing around us that is not an expression of that love, it's only when we try to communicate it that we run into problems. A mother suckling her newborn baby, a cheetah ripping open a hyena to feed its young, love, love, love.

sevenworlds
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Re: Family doesn't like my spirituality...

Post by sevenworlds » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:23 am

lucy wrote:It doesn't matter what symbol we use, we will run into the same problem. A fresh symbol may work for awhile but sooner or later it will also become a closed concept. Relatively speaking, we do need a shared set of symbols (language)to communcicate, so for a lack of better word, we're kinda hooped.
It is not on the level of language that we 'get it'. It either dawns on you or it doesn't. We can keep our structure of language but we don't need to keep using the same terms to describe this. We will only run into the same problem if we get fixed on another word. The reason 'love' has survived so long is because most of those who came into this state had been reading texts with that word in it and so carried on the tradition.

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