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Making Family Into a Blessing

Posted: 11/29/11 04:44 PM ET

On a certain day, at a family dinner, Shankaran Pillai* announced that he was getting married. His mother looked shocked and asked, "Who are you going to marry?" He said, "I am marrying Lucy, our neighbor." Immediately the father said, "What? You're going to marry Lucy? She doesn't have any inheritance. Why would you want to marry her?" Then the uncle looked at Shankaran Pillai and said, "You're going to marry Lucy? Her hair is a mess." The aunt said, "You're going to marry Lucy? Her make-up is terrible." And the little nephew, not wanting to be left out said, "Why will you marry Lucy? She knows nothing about football." But Shankaran Pillai insisted, "No, I am marrying Lucy." They all asked him, "Why?" Shankaran Pillai said, "She has one great virtue. She doesn't have a family."

When a child is born, it is not made to the extent that other creatures are made. It needs nurturing, training and molding. So the need for family arose. Family is a very supportive base for a human being to grow. But for many people, family does not become a support, it becomes a hurdle. It does not become an uplifting process, it becomes a way of entanglement. Especially for those who walk the spiritual path, family usually becomes the biggest hurdle. Not because family is a problem, but because of the way you hold it.

Family is an example of how anything that is created for your well-being can be turned into a disadvantage. You see this happening in many different ways. For example, affluence should have been well-being, but most people use it like poison. Education should have been well-being, but educated people are the ones who are destroying the planet right now. What has been given to us for our well-being could have been the greatest blessing upon humanity, but instead it is what is threatening the very existence of the human race.

Similarly, family, which should have been a support and a means for one's growth, becomes a process of entanglement and a burden. Essentially, this process of getting entangled with life around you is happening not because of who is around you, but because nothing has been done about your inner nature. If your inner nature grows to a certain point of maturity and fullness and feels like a complete life by itself, your need to cling to someone or something would naturally reduce.

The need to cling, this compulsion to turn everything that is for our well-being into a detriment to our life, is essentially because of an incomplete persona. If you plant two trees close together, you will see that these two trees have enough sense to grow apart, so that each gets enough sunlight. Both of them are rooted in the same earth, and they do not have the freedom to walk away, but still, they create enough space because each just exists as a piece of life, and every piece of life is a complete piece by itself. If you just sit here as just a piece of life, you would know that you are complete. But if your experience of yourself is just your persona, you will always feel incomplete and you will always have a terrible need to cling on to something or somebody.

So, is there a complete persona? There is no such thing. A being is complete, this life is complete, but a personality is never complete; it can never be in the very nature of things. The more you invest in your personality, the more incomplete and insecure you feel. The more attachment to people you create, the more fear of separation you will have. If life chooses to separate you from someone, in your experience you will feel as if you have been torn apart from yourself, as if you have been broken into two pieces. But you are a complete life; you do not need a stake to keep yourself up, if only you are willing to be here just as life. What we call "meditation" is just this, that instead of being here as a person, you are here just as a piece of life -- which is what you really are.

* Shankaran Pillai is a common South Indian name which Sadhguru often uses as the subject of his jokes.

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