Friday, November 27, 2009

One World Family

Not Peace but Division: "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (Bible, Luke 12)

I recently realized that since I left the Art of Living, the relationship with my family and theirs with me has totally changed. Of course, we still disagree about many things, in many ways, but, contrary to all my years as a “devotee”, I am again part of a family and there is a family that includes me. It is a bizarre experience I forgot I once enjoyed. Today I understand that anything that separates one or encourages one to distance oneself from ones family must be questioned.

Even if you did not completely cut ties with the family, the family ties weakened at some point. He never encouraged us to work things out with them. Somehow, the only family we needed was him and the community he offered us.

The "us/ they" notion encouraged one to perceive ones family as worse, not good energy, not evolved, based on what they eat (meat, alcohol), what they watch, wear and listen (movies, TV, newspaper, novels, jeans, dark coloured clothes, wordly music), what they don't worship (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), what they don't practise (yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, Hindu chantings and scriptures), and wanting to recruit them constantly. One was told one had the Grace, the merits and the good karma to serve a living Master, and/ or to be on a Path. One was taught that whatever merits one earned from this seva (service), and/or being in His presence, would somehow also benefit his/her family. The same belief was there with the merits of our meditations.

I remember one day I told SSRS my parents were still against me being in the movement. He replied, "Pray to me. I will see if something can be done." I wondered about this answer many years: why pray to him if I had him right in front of me? And what is all this "pray to me" business? He had nothing really to say about the situation, neither did he provide any advise, instead he enhanced his mystical power.

I missed out on many important events of the family and friends - from weddings to funerals. Back then I honestly believed I was working for the “greater cause” and that he would take care of all my beloved ones. His phrase: “You do my job, I take care of you.”

I have the privilege of being adopted again by the family, and despite all the differences, they are the ones who have been taking care of me financially and emotionally, despite SSRS’s promises of eternally taking care of us, unconditionally. Even though facts often made us question this statement, when we did so, it was our faith that was put on trial.

When I remember his poem ‘I promise’, which brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it, I laugh out loud today. Beautiful words. Sadly, only words. Bravo.

No comments: