KARMA AND FAMILY RELATIONS
Our mental and physical health depends largely on the quality of our relationships. The harmonious relationships are the basis for a happy life and it seems that happiness is one of the basic factors that ensure good health. One of the main Huna principles states that "to love is to be happy with". So, the key to happiness is love and our relationships are the expressions of love. An individual who avoids relationships or whose relationships are bad, cannot be called a healthy person. Since they directly indicate the state of one's health, relationships and their quality can be very good diagnostic tools. According to Martyn Carruthers, the creator of personal development system called "Soulwork", to begin with any kind of therapeutic intervention a person must have at least one satisfactory relationship. If this is not the case, the person will not be motivated to change because the support and approval from a close person will not be provided. Without one good relationship the client cannot manifest and actualize his/her new state of consciousness and the new dimension of love that was reached through an intervention. In this case it is better to begin the therapeutic intervention by creating at least one good relationship, and only then continue with other kinds of work.
Relationships are an extremely important dimension of human existence. If we look closely at life, we can realize that what we call "life" is in fact an ongoing continuous process between people. Life is a relationship between beings that create the chain of life. If there is a relationship, there is life. Life without relationships is not possible. If we look at life from the aspect of spiritual reality, there is an underlying connection between all forms of life. All mystical experiences have one thing in common - omnipresent unity. There is only one omnipresent God who is the very essence of all individual life forms. If there is no difference between the object and the subject in a spiritual experience, then we have a kind of relationship network between all existing beings. It is, therefore, impossible not to be in a relationship - just by existing we are already included in a network of numerous relationships. Even in extreme cases like spiritual hermitry, for example, there is a kind of relationship enabling a hermit to proceed with his continuous development - it is the relationship between the hermit and God. Therefore, not only physical beings have to be a part of a relationship. Although the most important ones are those between people, many individuals will find communication with spiritual beings to be a very important aspect of their relationships. What matters is that relationships inevitably exist and take place between conscious beings, physical or spiritual.
Relationships, among other things, are the means by which related beings realize their goals. No single goal can be realized by individual efforts alone. Of course, it does not mean we should let ourselves be overcome by our weaknesses and rely too much on others and their help. It means that our relationships exist and serve as a means of achieving our goals, whether we want it or not. Other people's help, guidance, co-operation or inspiration will enable us to attain our goals - the profound ones, as well as the everyday ones. A good co-operation at the same time leads to "synergy", which denotes a new quality created by a certain number of people focused on the common goal. The sum of five people's energies, for example, is not five, but about seven. For that reason, joint efforts lead to an easier realization of personal goals.
Some people may think relationships are not important or that they even obstruct individual development. Although different people have different inclinations (towards individualism or socializing), everyone develops in two main ways:
- through individual self-development;
- through relationships with other people and community.
All outstanding individualists need an audience to recognize and confirm their individual results. All sociable people require periods of solitude to deal with their personal needs and to develop their creativity or gain insights about their everyday lives. Individual development is checked and confirmed and sometimes even directly encouraged by relationships. A number of relationships can be considered as means of our development. They could be connected with the three main goals of our existence as human beings. Some relationships help the first goal - spiritual enlightenment, others with our inner purification, and the third type helps with our creative realization.
SORTING OUT FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Family relationships form the basis of every individual's life. For that reason they represent the starting point of every therapeutic intervention. There is nothing mysterious about sorting out the family relationships. It is about creating relationships that should be based on healthy connections between family members. In my experience, instead of breaking off the connections, as is the case in some therapeutic systems, the independence and maturity of family members is attained by a healthy and natural connection. Breaking of family bonds is often followed by an eager striving for "independence" and "self-sufficiency", only disguising a strong need for family affection. However paradoxical it may sound, connecting is liberating. Negative forms of connections should, of course, be dissolved and then the process of connecting should be initiated. The way of solving most problematic family relationships is the process of connecting family members through energy work, forgiveness and open discussion.
The basis of all family bonds should be unconditional love. If we cannot realize unconditional love anywhere else, there is always our family. This is exactly what family is meant for. Unfortunately, our family relationships are not always characterized by unconditional love. Instead of accepting our family members for what they are, we tend to criticize them mercilessly. Of course, criticism only reflects what we think of ourselves, but we are usually not aware of this. We tend to feel too possessive about some members of our family. We do not let them live how they want, but meddle into their lives thinking we know what is best for them. We are sometimes cold and reserved towards other members of our family. We project our unrealized ambitions onto our children, terrorize our partner with jealousy and blame our parents for our shortcomings or unfulfilled goals. And so on.
But, however uninteresting or difficult our family members may seem, we should bear in mind we have chosen them ourselves. The experiences of my clients show that, before being incarnated, our soul chooses our family, as well as the family we are going to form later. Members of our family will inevitably be souls we met in previous existences and we are closely connected to. People belonging to our closest family are not just anybody. They are people we have chosen to have a relationship with, a bond filled with unconditional love, even when it seems impossible. Obstacles for the realization of such a goal are bound to be rather large. When some of our family bonds are burdened with a negative karma, they will more often seem like damnation rather than as an ideal of unconditional love.
What are the characteristics of unconditional love? They are accepting another person for what he/she is, giving full support to his/her personality, goals and independence. Besides the understanding and warmth, unconditional love is sometimes manifested through abandoning a strong attachment, which can even lead to an estrangement. Unconditional love can be merciless or ruthless, but only if we look at it superficially. If a family member is not ready to accept our love or is even in conflict with us because of our love, we should resort to the tactics of standing aloof. Aloofness should never be the result of our being hurt, which is a negative intention, but a reflection of merciless love manifested as non-love or inactive love. A number of family ties are realized, in a positive sense, as inactive love because the differences between characters and levels of consciousness of family members do does not allow anything more than that. People we have broken contacts with, because we refused to take part in a negative type of a relationship, sooner or later do get the message. Non-love then usually changes into openly expressed love.
Family relationships can be seen through the model of the Living Systems Theory. Each family forms a system composed from a number of different elements mutually connected and having the same goal. Every family member represents a little fragment of the mechanism called the family. Therefore, a change in the life of each family member affects other members, as well as family relationships. It means that any kind of changework creates a new reality for a person, which will first be felt by the members of the person's close family. Sometimes family members react positively to the changes they have noticed or felt instinctively, but at other times their reactions are negative, even when changes are exceptionally positive. The new level of consciousness and new goals a person now has will directly influence his/her family members.
When our family members do not like our change for some reason, they will try to force us back to the old reality. If we do not allow it, we shall have to bring them into our new reality, which is sometimes impossible. The third option is leaving the family and becoming independent. It is the connecting to our family members which can be used to improve our relationships with the family members or to avoid most family problems caused by our personal transformation. It is, therefore, advisable to make our connections with immediate family stronger each time after working on personal transformation. This has a number of positive results, such as:
- reviving halted or superficial communication,
- letting go,
- positive influence (inspiring changes),
- healing physical and mental illnesses.
The connecting process
After having worked on the cause of a certain problem, the person connects with his/her higher conscious and observes if the traumatic experience has disturbed the relationship with a member of the immediate family. Maybe the starting point of the intervention was sorting out a family relationship and then the person already knows which one is disturbed. After clearing the symptoms of the problem and the traumatic experience as the cause, the person continues intervention by working on establishing connection with the family member. The process involves connecting energy cords from one's own chakras with the chakras of the family member. The connecting process is carried out through all the aspects of our personality symbolized by two aspect chakras (the ones that have a front and a back aspect). The person visualizes a cord of light coming out of his/her second front chakra and going towards the second chakra of the family member he/she is connecting to. All the other chakras, from the second to the sixth, are connected in the same way. This is completed by sending cord of light from the first chakra to the Earth's center to ensure that the person is properly rooted. The seventh, crown chakra, is connected with Heaven, the spiritual world, to ensure connection with one's own source. This type of work has many different origins. It probably comes from the Hawaiian shamanistic practice called "Huna", which was a resource for many contemporary healers and therapists. In this particular form it is also used by Barbara Ann Brennan, a spiritual healer, who has described her treatment in the book "Light Emerging", which is a classic work on energy healing.
The energy work described above has certain consequences. Some people connected themselves with a family member they have not communicated with for years, only to get a phone call from that person the following day and talk to them as if nothing had happened. A participant in one of my courses connected in the morning part of the program with his father who lives in New Zealand and whom he had not heard from for some time. After having had lunch, he found a message from his father on his answering machine. Since the course was taking place in his flat, I and all the participants witnessed the effectiveness of the connecting processes. It was only the first step, of course, but connecting has to start somehow and establishing neglected verbal communication is always a good start. Not every connecting has this kind of consequences. Some people have a quarrel with their family members after connecting. Sometimes a grudge or a long-lasting dissatisfaction with somebody's behavior is brought out in the process of energy connecting. Such frankness and openness can result in a temporary conflict, but in this case the conflict is a healthy process leading towards re-establishing the relationship, and not towards ending it.
This kind of therapeutic intervention may seem superficial or oversimplified to some people. However, besides treating some mild cases of alienation or dependence, connecting can initiate healing processes even in very difficult family relationships. The things that make the relationship negative come to the surface during this process. In that way it precisely indicates the character of the relationship problem. Connecting brings out family secrets, projections of parents' unfulfilled personal aspirations into children and all sorts of conflicts between the parents. The connecting process first changes our perception of ourselves and our perception of the family member we are connecting to, thus preparing the conditions for direct and concrete sorting out of the relationship. It means that we are introduced into the state of universal love towards the family member we are connecting to, creating the positive conditions for future work.
After dissolving the traumatic experience as the cause of the problem and having done energy work in form of connecting, the person has to face the family member in question. Then a conversation must take place and through open communication the relationship is brought to an aspect of universal love. How one achieves this depends on one's personal will, ability and skills. In some cases a therapeutic intervention can replace the direct contact, but in most cases it cannot. The only help one can get (apart from the preparation made through work on the causes and the process of connecting) is the information from the higher conscious. It helps in choosing the best communication model one can use in sorting out a relationship, which precedes the direct contact.
The parent - child relationship
It is very important for this kind of relationship to be exactly what it is - the relationship between a parent and a child. First and foremost, a parent should be an adult ready for the role of a parent. He/she must have the identity of a parent. The father must take over the identity of a father, and the mother that of a mother. The mother's main identity should be - a mother. She can also be her child's friend or playmate, but the mother's main identity cannot be that of a friend. It can only be one of the other identities, but not the dominant one. A child expects his or her parents to be parents. The role of a parent is, therefore, very simple - a parent must be a parent.
According to Martyn Carruthers, a parent is the person who draws limits and decides on the rules the child will obey as a person, as well as on the rules between the two of them. A person with the identity of a parent must also have a good relationship with his/her partner because a good parent doesn't need a child to replace a partner. A parent has a child because he/she wants to have a child and not because he/she needs one. A parent also does not need a child to realize his/her own goals through the child. It is a person who continuously works on his own goals, has his/her own social life, friends and social responsibilities. A parent leads a fulfilled and interesting life and does not need a child to live his/her life through the child. Such a parent is able to give the child the unconditional support, is the source of positive energy and fulfillment, and an ideal showing the child that it is possible to be happy and that happiness is a natural thing.
Only too often the role of a parent is not fully accepted and not well played. Sometimes it is accompanied or replaced by other, unsuitable roles. Physical (biological) parents are two extremely important figures in a child's life, psychologically speaking. Their main functions are protection and security. A child must feel physically safe and his/her survival must never come in question. Furthermore, parents are the source of unconditional love, symbolizing God and God's love. They accept the child for what he/she is, give support, encourage the child's independence and inspire creativity. Whether they want it or not, they are their child's positive or negative (sometimes both) role models. The child will try to further develop their qualities, but will also carry their shortcomings inside. The child will also tend to repeat parents' mistakes. For that reason parents must continually work on improving themselves.
When parents are not fulfilled individuals, they have a tendency to project their unrealized aspirations onto their children. In all such cases, their relationships with children will be disturbed. A child must never become a means of compensation for one or both parents' unfulfilled ambitions, because it will not be able to live his/her own life. If the child is denied its own life, it either accepts the given role and becomes the person that parents want it to be, or withdraws from the relationship (cuts the energy cords) until parents accept the child for what he/she is. There is a third possibility, too - the child can be stuck in a conflict between these two models. Parents must, therefore, continually work on their own goals and not expect their children to surpass them or to realize whatever they failed to realize.
The relationship between parents and all their problems are strongly reflected in children. We shall take family secrets as an example. They can be a source of great suffering for all family members, because secrets continue to live in the children, although they seem well concealed. If one of the parents is having an affair, for example, this secret will start living in the child. The child can, for no apparent reason, start having bad results at school and hide it from the parents. Once they find this out, they will be surprised and fail to understand what has interrupted once open and sincere communication and caused the child's problems at school. If parents grow a distance between themselves, the same will happen with their child and his/her friends, for example. For that reason, parents must continually try to improve themselves and their relationship. A family secret can slow down a child's emotional development, causing learning disabilities or deviations in behavior. Therefore, the liberation from the negative influence of the family secret can result in a number of positive changes. It is the process of connecting that can lead a family member to a strong inner urge to say openly what has been suppressed or to stop doing whatever the person has been doing secretly.
Martyn Carruthers mentions a very interesting example of a family secret not talked about much, but having a strong influence on family relationships. It is the secret of abortion. If the mother has an abortion or the father is having an affair with a person who has had an abortion and if this is kept a secret, the secret will start living in the child. If there are more children in the family, the secret will live in the youngest or the most sensitive one. The child unconsciously identifies with the soul of the aborted child. This identification will live inside the child, manifesting itself in different ways. The child can develop a tendency towards dark moods, melancholy or depression or withdrawing from relationships. The child can sometimes become obsessed with death and less interested in creative activities filled with positive energy. Such a child develops weak immunity and is often ill. The child is usually not aware of the identification or its cause, but projects it strongly into the environment seeking justification for its own negative condition by accusing the outer world to be the cause of its problems. The parents, in turn, are surprised and fail to understand what these changes are about, sometimes becoming aggressive towards the child. Such a family suddenly finds itself in a lot of trouble. This is one more reason for parents to work hard on improving their relationship.
Children are the shock absorbers of all their parents' suppressed mental contents. They reflect all the difficult family relationships, even those between their parents and grandparents. For example, an unresolved conflict between the father and his mother, who died in the meantime, is transferred to his children. All the emotions parents suppress are passed on the children. If one of the parents plays the role of a victim and suppresses aggressiveness, it is very probable that the child will be aggressive. The child feels the urge to express aggressiveness, although it is not his. It is the aggression of one or both parents who withhold their anger. The bonds between members of the same family are very strong, although they are usually not aware of it. Suppressed energy will, therefore, find its vent somewhere else. If not within the energy system of the person in question, it will manifest in another person, usually one closely connected. The strongest connection, of course, is with one's own child.
The causes of some family problems completely lose its mysterious dimension here. Parents withhold the truth or their negative inner states, which then continue to live in the children. The unresolved family conflicts are passed on the children. Bearing in mind the fact that relationships and connectedness inevitably exist, it is completely natural that this kind of transference is not only possible, but that it happens regularly. If adults have children, they are the closest human beings to them. Where could the energy of a family secret go at all, if not into the subconscious of the person we are closest to? Everybody should, therefore, try to sort out their relationships, and not suppress their family problems, thinking naively that they will somehow disappear.
The importance of improving family relationships lies in the fact that they represent the basis for all the other relationships a person enters in life. Educating people in family ties and relationships will probably become the key for improving all types of social relations, from personal and business relations to political. A society based on harmonious family relationships will not need authoritative presidents or political parties. It could be founded on freedom of the individual and society's joint efforts in encouraging each individual to realize the best of his/her potentials, which will also be beneficial for the society as a whole.
As we do with the living, we can enter a connecting process with people who are no longer in their physical bodies, i.e. with family members who have passed away. After leaving the physical level a soul continues to exist in more subtle spheres. An individual's objective existence is not diminished by the death of the physical body. On the contrary, the person who has left physical body continues to live with an increased intensity, consciousness and energy. Connection with such a person will have equally positive effects, as though the person is "alive" and in the physical body.
While connecting with a deceased family member one should pay attention to some very important processes, which might have taken place in the moment of the person's death. We may have identified with the person if his/her death was traumatic for us or if we did not manage to sort out our relationship with that person, which made us feel guilty. This identification is manifested as holding on to the negative kind of attachment, not letting the dead person go and taking over his/her "sins", or negative characteristics. We, in fact, identify with the fragments of the person's astral body, i.e. with the astral entities the person has left behind which later moved into our body. So, while connecting with a deceased person we should check if we have connected with the "astral garbage" the person left behind in the moment of his/her death. All the negative characteristics we identified with should be dissolved and all the entities within us should be cleared. Only then can we start connecting in the same way as with any living person.
The popular new-age terminology introduced the term of so-called "karmic relationships" into personal development systems. This term is used for describing a wide range of different relationships. Sometimes a relationship is considered karmic if it has a special depth and strength, regardless of its positive or negative character. It may be a happy and fulfilling relationship, successfully realized without too much effort. At other times, a karmic relationship imposes certain obligations and duties that are not easy to perform. The most extreme form of karmic relationship is a very bad relationship which becomes a heavy burden for the individual, causing a lot of problems and offering only long-lasting suffering. I think that it is possible to give more accurate definition of a karmic relationship which can be derived from the meaning of the term "karma". Since the law of karma speaks about action and its consequences, karmic relationship is the one which is burdened by the negative actions from the past which, according to the principle of karmic reciprocity, cause certain consequences or problems. A karmic relationship carries the burden of traumatic experiences and unnatural mental states transmitted from previous lives. The reason why some negative experiences are not overcome in the period of a soul's cleansing between two incarnations, is the lesson behind the experience. Lessons that have not been learnt are passed on into future incarnations in order to be acquired eventually.
It is important to know that all relationships are manifestations of love - they are love in action. All human beings have the potential for perfect relationships. The background of the so-called karmic relationships is love which is not fully realized. Sometimes love changes into hate, lust, cruelty or some other form of love deviations. The essence of human relationships is love and it will try to realize itself in its purest form, especially when people who are close are involved. But, if somebody is saddled with a traumatic experience and bad habits, that person will not find it easy to recognize love as the essence of a relationship. This is particularly the case when a relationship turns into its negative extreme and, instead of bringing happiness, it becomes the cause of great suffering. Sorting out bad relationships is one of the most difficult life processes and probably the biggest problem human race is facing nowadays. This is the reason for paying special attention to this issue.
A family karma denotes a group of unchangeable and changeable karma of all the family members. A pure, unchangeable karma cannot be transformed whereas a changeable one can or even must be changed. For example, we are born in a certain family and that family is the one we have, we cannot change it. Although the circumstances under which we are born are the result of our choices, those choices were largely influenced by our former actions. So, now we find ourselves in a family we have attracted and that's it, there can be no turning back. All we can do is accept what we have and live with it the best we can. A changeable karma, on the other hand, is manifested through a parents' negative characteristics which are passed on to the children in a subtle and usually unconscious way. The essence of the process of cleansing a family karma is to discontinue inheriting negative features.
Besides creating undesirable mental states, negative characteristics attract negative life circumstances and cause the most of the family problems. The youngest family members become shock absorbers in a negative family karma. They become the victims of their families. It is their task, therefore, to break the chain of negative actions or failures in a given family. For example, in a family where the negative karma is manifested through a tyrant- victim game, the child will have the task to disrupt the karmic chain by taking responsibility for its own life, creating it according to its own wishes. As negative karma is manifested through our negative features, programmed mostly by our parents through the process of upbringing, we have to identify and change those features in order to avoid making our parents' mistakes.
Besides the already mentioned processes, I am going to describe a way to detect and reprogram the negative features taken over from our parents. We should find out what are our father and mother's most negative characteristics (weaknesses), from our subjective point of view. It is most certain that we have those characteristics too, probably not in the same way, but essentially the same. They should be dissolved and reprogrammed - we should create positive characteristics that are their opposites. Then we should focus on our parents' professions. The negative aspects of their jobs should also be dissolved, and the positive ones created. We should by all means choose a profession which will represent a mixture of our parents' professions, but on a higher level. We shall thus honor our parents' positive aspirations and really do something useful for them. They expect us to do something for them all the time, but that something is not the realization of their unfulfilled ambitions. It is taking part in breaking the chain of negative family karma, although they are not usually aware of it. For example, somebody whose parents are a doctor and a language teacher, would be in medicine or healing professions and would write about his/her methods, thus teaching others. His/her treatments may take a more subtle form than the official approach which treats people as material mechanisms, like healing with energy. We have to overcome the negative or undesirable aspect of our parents' professions, and at the same time we need to bring the positive aspects of their professions to a higher level. We should move a step closer to their original positive intention, a bit further up the ladder of goals given by their professions.
The third thing to do is to concentrate on our parents' highest values in life and to imagine a person who would represent a combination of all those values and would live according to them. Our parents' goals will most certainly be our goals, too, at least during the process of karmic compensation, which is the reason we should work on realization of those goals. These procedures will enable us to become aware of what we are to do, what positive characteristics to develop, what jobs to take and what processes to undergo in order to compensate for the negative family karma, thus disrupting the family karmic chain. Only then shall we have the freedom to develop in a new direction, liberated from the negative influences of our past. This process is not about something we need to impose on ourselves - if we connect with our deeper feelings, we usually discover that it is about what we truly want to do. A family karma does exist and nothing will be achieved by denying it. It can be precisely analyzed, and then reprogrammed enough to make an individual satisfied with his/her life. What is more important, one of the main goals of the soul incarnation is our karmic cleansing by disrupting the negative family karma chain. Therefore, this process is an integral part of the plan our soul has created for our earthly life.
©Tomislav Budak (April, 2000)