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The Conscious Family
I. Family Relationships
1. What Families Are All About
2. Developing Harmony
3. Going Home
4. Married or Single — Two Paths, One Goal
5. Who is our Spouse?
6. Conscious Marriage
7. The Divine Beloved
8. Our Mate as our Best Friend
9. Committed versus Living Together
10. Warm Abiding Love [link to Choosing Love]
11. The Magical Moment of Conception
12. Children are People, too [link to Radiant Yoga for Children]
13. Discipline with Ourselves and Our Children
14. Resolving Conflicts in Raising Children
15. Compromise in Parenting
II. Mainly Teen Issues
16. Hand in Hand with our Teenagers
18. Nurturing — from Nesting Family to World Family
19. Extended Family
20. Back to the Nest
21. Roles in Transition
22. Love and Harmony, Our Constant
23. And a prayer for the 'child' at heart, 'Shining Brightly'
1. What Families Are All About
in a family
is like being one of the spokes of a wheel
We are all busily immersed
in our various activities during the day
but at day's end our consciousness
once again returns to the hub
the hub of family life
to complete the whole
In healthy family life, each member gives (babies give us laughs) and takes. In this way each has the opportunity to give and receive, everyone receiving the benefits of both. Family provides a strong support unit in times of stress and illness. Family support helps us work through life's ups and downs.
our children's dependency ties us to responsibilities, giving us the opportunity
to grow out of our self-serving ways. Children have us as a role model to
emulate and as someone to guide and support
them till independence day. And when our parents become children again through old age or illness, we have the responsibility to care for them.
the world scale
all the peoples of earth
are our extended family
Our individual family
The example of this on a small scale
Spare time can be spent improving the environment for all and serving those where their needs may lie. We need to feel and show the same concern for others that we feel for ourselves and our families by attitude and by action, to the extent our responsibilities allow.
Families give us a chance to grow in consciousness as individuals, by broadening our concept of what it means to be part of the world family.
we feel at One with all
we begin to realize
the same oneness in all
The One Spirit that powers
everyone and everything
Harmonious living is being an asset to all people and creation. We fit into place in our family, with friends, and everyone, as a jigsaw puzzle piece fits perfectly—one part—but important to the whole. If that one piece were missing or distorted, the puzzle would not be complete.
let each action benefit someone
and harm no one
Consider the consequences of an action
If we feel uneasy about the possible outcome of an action that we are contemplating, than work out an alternate plan. We have our intelligence, and we need to use it in planning how to best resolve the situations we are faced with in life.
If our mind
is uncertain about the right course of action, we can first calm the mind by
doing some regulated breathing—evenly spaced in and out breaths. Or we can lie
down or lie back in a recliner and do a deep relaxation. When our body and mind
are calm the right course of action comes into our
We do not see the ocean floor because of the movement of the waves, but we can see the bottom of a clear placid lake. When our mind is disturbed, making waves for us, we can not see the pure truth underlying the mind.
The best resolve is always there, but our thoughts of self-serving desire keep us from seeing clearly to the underlying issues of the problem. The best answer is concealed from us by our own inner turbulence.
meditating every day
we can get a consistently clear view
of the probable outcome of an action
The more we learn to control our body and mind, the more usefully they serve us. Our energy is then used optimally for our own and others' benefit.
H arm no one
A lways rest in the peaceful
R etreat of the Self within each aspect of the underlying
Har M ony
O ne with all
Y ielding to the Highest Good
After being away from our family home for awhile, we look forward, with fresh anticipation to going home.
feel the same
after we have long been away
from our Creator-Sustainer
A deep yearning causes us to search for our innate roots, the womb of our origin. We have gone out into the world, experienced 'life' with its pains and pleasures, happiness and sadness. We never found a lasting happiness from those experiences. What we sought was not outside of ourselves.
To go home,
is to experience the peace and love arising from our self-effulgent heart
center, the core of our being. We find that all the love and happiness we have
ever wanted is already available to us, every
moment, without fail.
The outer journey of going away from h (om) e to seek happiness was not fruitless. We found irrefutably that the world did not hold a continuous thread of happiness joining life's adventure together.
The silver thread that weaves its way through life's journeys is our own outlook, realization of being the peace, being the love. What we seek out in the world is what we already are in the home of our soul. We are the joy, the peace, the love. They are part of the makeup of us just as surely as could ever imagine. But we have been imagining they are outside in the world, instead of realizing they are in the home of our heart.
The great experiment, the ultimate goal of our existence is to find that the qualities that we seek to make us happy, are actually already an integral part of our existence. And the way to find these qualities within ourselves is through practice—practice in being kind and caring, practicing meditation, practicing holding positive and unselfish attitudes. After practicing we soon realign with the peace and joy within.
our inner place of peace and joy
We can really enjoy our family
our nuclear family
our world family
4. Married or Single; Two Paths, One Goal
We are all living on earth for the same purpose—to achieve communion with our innate being in Soul Realization
the married path
we constantly have our mate
to reflect our actions by their reaction
a mirror reflects back
just what is in front of it
so our mate responds to our every need
like for like
By their reflection
we learn to see how others see us
Being married give us the full time opportunity to care for someone beyond ourselves. By giving time and energy in a positive way to our mate and children we feel personal fulfillment in their happiness.
equals manifestation of our innate
we don't feel inclined to live with a mate
we must consciously find a means
of caring for others
that allows us to be useful
and feel peaceful
If we channel our energy into useful service for mankind at large we really are just interacting with a larger family, compared to the married person. But because we don't have our 'larger family' in our home with us all the time we might not have the advantage the married person has of receiving constant feed back.
are different than single responsibilities
More than one person is involved
with the results of our actions
is necessary to grow spiritually
Married people feel their fire constantly
in caring for family members
life forces one to buckle down
to the business at hand
Physically, our spouse is the one we married. Like the two poles of a magnet, we attract and cling to each other.
The personality of each person has both male and female qualities in varying degrees, both the heart and head qualities.
The ultimate aim of each individual is to seek an equilibrium in these opposite tendencies in order to lead a balanced, happy life. Going either way too much causes stress. Again, within each mate opposites are present, and the chord of harmony is struck when careful thoughtful loving actions predominate in each of us.
the personality of each
lies a constant
This state becomes more evident over a period of time with others and nature. Then, we are feeling and experiencing the reflection of our permanent spirit. Balanced actions reflect the spirit clearly.
Though we complete an outward union in physical mating, we have not achieved the ultimate union possible for each of us. We feel fulfillment in mating for those few moments because we have a communion of our physical body, our emotional and caring thoughts.
have this fulfillment, also
when in a spiritually balanced state
Our spirit, our soul is always perfectly balanced, and the more we align our actions, our thoughts and feelings with the highest good of the prevailing situation, the more balance and fulfillment we feel pervading our body, thoughts, emotions —our lives.
is a carriage
that can take us to the realization of our permanent home
In conscious marriage the couple are aware of this
as the ultimate goal of their life together
The conscious marriage is lived
each serving the other's best interests
above their own desires
in the highest form
we serve another
out of care for their highest good
we are aligning with our soul
The greatest love is the purest love
free from desires for personal gain
gives us control
over the ramblings of our mind
The mind becomes our servant
not us the mind's toy
As we practice meditation regularly
we begin to feel the inner peace
the lasting calmness
that allows us to think clearly
and analyze to act with right judgement
meditating for some time
the calmness extends
throughout more and more of the regular day
till we can always turn
to that inward, calm, balanced state
at a moment's notice and need
Past the calmness
comes joy and bliss and full peace
We experience these transcendent feelings
the more we practice meditation and right living
by listening to our conscience
each mate spends time in meditation
and in acting rightly
in accordance with their developing conscience
their union parallels that of the Divine
with the Highest aspect in themselves
and each other
to see the Divine Beloved
in the countenance of one another...
gives us the opportunity to experience divinity deeply and profoundly. We have
the opportunity to encourage each other in meditation and spiritual
housekeeping till we realize that in every moment spirit
pervades every atom of creation.
The virtues of patience, purity, and honesty are basic in the foundation of a marriage. As we continue to live with our mate, we tune into the deeper experiences of life. And if we choose to live a single life we experience the benefits of living in the womb of humanity by living a life dedicated to service in this world--and by being scrupulously on guard to keep fast to the virtues.
bonding of mates
is like our own bonding
back to the heart of the Divine Beloved
A small example of our true marriage
with all others and the entire universe
The caring love that we shower
upon a mate, upon a child
is the same kind of love
showered upon each of us by mother nature
nature provides the raw material for our needs
for food, for shelter
and ever the flow of water
perfectly made for our bodies just as it falls from the heavens
And for upliftment, the singing of the birds
the ever-changing coverlet of sky
the pleasing colors in nature
and the intoxicating smells
exuded by the blossoms
in their prelude to becoming fruits to nourish our bodies
Can anyone deny these inspirations
we struggle every day
with mundane problems arising from our mind
the beauty of the natural world continues
to ever be present
above the mundane
seeing the beauty of the natural world
and the beauty in our mate
brings us closer to realizing
that we each are really a beautiful soul
By seeing the beauty in ourselves
we see the beauty in others
the ultimate state of living
Marriage of mind and heart and soul
8. Our Mate as our Best Friend
travels with us
port to port
Its primary quality
When our mate is our best friend, the relationship flourishes, even when outer conditions are in drought.
Mutual caring supportiveness allows each person the freedom to stumble, knowing that a helping hand will be there, just as mountain climbers rely upon each other to successfully scale the cliffs before enjoying the breath-taking summit.
Between mates who have become best friends, summits can be reached in the experience of their relationship that are beyond reach of any other form of friendship.
Friendship, within the closeness and bonding of commitment, contains a circle of joyful energy no other form of friendship knows. The element of surrender to each other's energy within the sanctity of committed love, arouses more lovingness than either can experience outside their union.
When mates continue to be best friends, no issue can come between them that has no resolve.
every day in every way
to experiencing our immortal nature
of peacefulness and harmony
9. Committed versus Living Together
versus living together
is like owning versus renting
When we rent, we can move on short notice without resolving a lot of time-consuming issues.
On the other hand, we do not have the freedom to plan and carry out long-range goals.
When we live with a person, without being committed, we maintain our freedom to leave the relationship on short notice. Because of the impermanent structure of a live-in relationship, we preclude the depth of intimacy and sharing that can develop from the stable structure of a commitment.
Experiencing life's pleasures and pains side by side, with the commitment to work through each challenge, allows growth of character, wisdom and consciousness to develop.
through caring, sharing
Unconditional love developed
through the long-range format
caring heart is a Masterpiece
of the co-mingling of our own
and our Creator's Love
In the committed relationship, each partner has their own basic needs plus relationship needs. No one makes us happy. But we do feel happy in a person's presence when we have mutually harmonious personal qualities and maintain a positive and loving attitude.
Commitment can be as a roomy carriage, with space for growth, fulfillment, and harmony, or a small compartment bound in by barriers of jealousy and possessiveness, disharmony.
By looking objectively at the personal attributes in a prospective partner and then analyzing, we can determine whether the relationship would be expansive or hemmed in.
A relationship does not become harmonious the moment we make a commitment. Evolution in relationship harmony is meticulously earned when each partner acts for the highest good of the relationship, time and time again.
Adjusting our actions to the highest good
Acting with caring
The blessing of a harmonious commitment
Refreshment in a deepening pool
of warm abiding love
11. The Magical Moment of Conception
the battle is won (one)
Two independent cells
surrender their individual cells (selves) up
to become part of a long lasting life
in a human body
If the two cells had remained independent
their lives would have been
By surrendering their self-centered existence
they became the precursors
to a new life
a billion times richer and fuller life
from the moment of conception
the example of selfless surrender is evident
As those first cells divide
they surrender their outward identity
to benefit the greater body
they are allowing to become manifest
on and on the bodily systems develop
till the day the protection of the womb
is no longer necessary
In our conscious life this natural process is an example of the way that we grow from self-centeredness to a more rewarding life where we feel a simpatico with all creation. Every place feels like home. All people seem to be our brothers and sisters. The animals seem to be our dear little friends and the natural scenery amazes and delights our senses.
How did all this come to be? Where and how did the harmony and beauty begin? Because all nature continually surrenders into more conscious forms, what form does the human evolve into?
These questions plague us and the conscious search for what is beyond the obvious body and mind begins.
By observing nature, we see that the individual cells are constantly merging and becoming part of greater form--maintaining individuality, but still becoming one with the whole. There is not one inharmonious action in nature, even what appears catastrophic to us, such as an earthquake, is the result of an underlying cause, the shifting crust of the earth.
We reason that our destiny is to remain conscious, yet merge into a greater reality. How can we become part of the greater reality, the unseen reality?
way is by allowing
our consciousness to rise above
the everyday mind situations
till we experience the ever-present
pervading joyful existence
every moment of our lives
with all people
with the entire creation
The technique for getting in touch with our expanded existence is meditation. Taking the time to meditate regularly allows us to observe that yes, many thoughts ramble through our mind, but that we have the choice to act on them or not. We truly come to realize and learn that our mind is the commander of our body, of our actions. And in this sublime realization the finer feelings of joy arise in our consciousness, energizing our physical body and uplifting our thoughts.
And we realize that we have the choice to imbibe in the sublimely energized joy at any time through meditation—meditation beginning in the stillness of our body, and extending into our activities in the world.
the magical moment
we grow and expand
into the magical fullness
of our everlasting radiant life
that our boundary of caring
needs to extend
Whether we birth
or inherit them
from other relationships
Children stretch our edges
as we fulfill their needs
It is through bearing the responsibility for children and childlike elderly parents that we experience our interconnection between the generations.
When we pass on to our children the lessons that we have learned so far, each succeeding generation evolves in consciousness.
In the family setting we give for the welfare of our children. Giving for a child's benefit is not give and take. We give, give, give, and do not receive in kind—a child does not have the capacity to give back to us in the same way.
What we do receive through caring for children is a shredding of our self-centeredness—our cage of self-containment—our concept that we are here on earth only to satisfy desires from our own mind.
We give to our children while they are growing up.
What they give back to us is a permanent experience of ourselves as expansive beings—expansive in that we feel ourselves within the framework of others' lives.
through taking responsibility
A natural expression of living
13. Discipline with Ourselves and our Children
our guidelines for behavior
were instilled in us as children
Modified in our current life
from trial and error
We guide our children according to what we think worked for us. As our consciousness expands, our ideas of effective discipline change.
allows us to bear
with the shortcomings children exhibit
in their behavior
Self-discipline in our children comes from teaching them the benefits of self-motivated right behavior, allowing them to interrelate harmoniously.
gives them an effective grounding
in time and energy management
carrying into adulthood
We instill a child with personally motivated self-discipline by:
1. Being a
2. Planning with and helping the child implement a schedule for all that needs to be done during the day and coming week, the child gaining practice in time and energy management in the process;
3. Setting obtainable rewards for positive actions;
4. Letting the consequences of negative actions be known to the child.
are all in transit
traveling with others
in the boat of life
allows time for completing
that which we choose
while easefully relating with others
14. Resolving Conflicts in Raising Children
are molded and learn by example
more than through books
or verbal instruction
If each parent acts
to influence the child
from conflicting viewpoints
the child grows up confused
Which of the parents ways will lead
to harmonious living?
goal in raising children
is for them
to be able to make their own decisions
by considering the pros and cons
Then acting in a way that their mind
can be peaceful with their decisions
thereby living happy and useful lives
in front of the child
act as if both are in agreement
Before presenting this image
privately hear each other out
considering each other's ideas
Then together in a calm state
present the consensus viewpoint
As parents, we need to be objective
and respectful to each other
that there is no right or wrong point of view
Every event in life
is to be individually worked out
dependent upon the circumstances involved
the child sees both parents
united in their approach
the child will more easily
accept the parents' input
And the child is prevented
from using one parent's say
against the other
gives us opportunities to grow in love
living more harmoniously
Love means showing care, patience
and feeling for others outside of ourselves
Both parents feel love for their child
This gives them the incentive
to make the effort to work things out
expands to love for friends
and our big family of the world
When we feel love and care for all
we are manifesting our universal soul nature
for the benefit of all
Compromise has a place in parenting. When enforcing our rules we do not always have to play the tyrant. We can give in on small points. Then when the big problems come, we can stick to our principles without the child feeling that we are never flexible.
This attitude, this compromise in parenting, shows children that each event in life requires individual consideration—one pat way will not be the wisest choice in each situation.
Compromise in parenting involves our partner, too. It makes us feel good to give in to our partner's requests sometimes, when we would rather do something else.
Children learn from example more than from words. They find their way to happiness by seeing us care for others. Expressing care through action is the way we manifest real love.
more we give
The more we live
Compromise with the children does not necessarily make them think that we are weak or can be easily swayed. It shows them that we use our mind to weigh the merits of each individual situation. Why be bound to one of our own rules when a better way is evident?
and one day will be parents, too
Let's give them the best of ourselves
by giving them our caring love
From the very highest consciousness
we are aware of
even more love
16. Hand in Hand with our Teenagers
we serve as children's guides
for society's future benefit
We were each a child who grew and became more visible in the world. If we respect children as individuals who have their own thoughts, emotions, and dreams, they will feel good about themselves and in turn respect us. This back and forth respect and communication bridges the generation gap.
tend to lump children together
as one homogenous segment of humanity
More often than not
because of their achievements
seeing the individuality of adults
rather than the uniqueness
of each child
For adults, children are our inspirations to act as best we can. Growth is from both sides. The 'adult' is the example and the 'child' inspires the adult to be their best.
Children are impressionable and react rapidly to stimulus. Children as individuals need a general and personalized plan with their schooling to develop their inherent qualities.
Besides academics, children need to learn practical living skills and spiritual practices, which provide a foundation to live in society as useful adults.
learn best when they see the adults around them
modeling what they want the children to learn
Teenagers walk across a bridge spanning the river of uncertainty, from the security of childhood on one side, to the other side of sole responsibility. It is a swinging bridge, with teenagers swaying at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, sometimes hanging on precariously along the way, till finally stepping onto the firm ground of solo independence.
Adults that are around children need to extend a helping hand if teenagers are about to fall; otherwise we should just observe and allow them to master their walk.
The basis for their behavior as teenagers was set before they turned thirteen years old. In the teenage years the fledglings are testing their wings. Adults can guide but not act for teenagers, otherwise they won't reach the end of their bridge to independence, or will be slowed down past the age of twenty.
Guidelines for teenage behavior at home and at school should be set by the parents and teachers with repercussions made known beforehand, and then enacted if the rules are violated.
Childhood to adulthood
is a process of change
As adults, we have golden opportunities to inspire and bring out the best in children, our next generation, by our words and actions. Let us, as responsible adults, fully love each other and our children, living as the best examples that we can.
Children as individuals
soon to be adults
Part of our worldwide family
Let's guide their journey
by being the best
we can be
Nesting Family to World Family
Mother first holds her infant
aligned heart to heart
Father and siblings
aligned heart to heart
Heart to heart contact
is an essential part
in human development
cuddled in the heart to heart position regains the feelings of security and
protection lost, when suddenly free of the womb. With repeated hugs and
cuddling, baby, mother, all of baby's family develops
a mutual relationship of ever increasing love.
The human infant needs
loving care and devotion
from an adult
to be protected from dangers
and have his needs met
On the larger scale of human development and evolution, the devotion developed in nurturing our family expands gradually to include others in our loving care. We grow from self-centeredness, feeling a limited amount of love, to the experience of expanded never-ending loving energy reaching out to all.
While growing up we observe what is entailed in being a father, mother, brother, sister. If each of these basic roles were not in our own family, we saw them in families around us. As adults, many of us extend into the parenting role with our own children or with the children of relatives and friends.
The family we grew up in is our nesting family. After we fly from the nest as young adults, we begin to relate in ways that form additional family groups. If we marry, we then gain an ever larger family of in-laws.
While we are single adults
we form a circle of friends
for mutual support and nurturing
Whatever role we are in at the moment
we have work and community groups
with which to interact
and acquaintances sharing common interests
As citizens, we have national and international ties
In varying degrees of involvement and commitment
we function as parts
of the whole world family
As children, we practice relating with those older, younger, and similar in age. With relatives, we have a common tie, but varying interests, abilities, and goals. We get practice in fulfilling our own desires while learning to get along harmoniously with others in the nest.
As adults, our growth continues
in learning to relate harmoniously
We form bonds of friendship
that deepen into caring
what individual differences we have, we all have basic similarities, just as
children of the same set of parents have similarities and differences. We each
have a body, discriminative mind, emotions, soul, and were born of the union of
two parents forming one whole new person. We begin to feel the
underlying harmonious force of love weaving its way through our lives, enriching us with the realization that we are not in solitude on the planet, but interrelated in our worldwide extended family.
from the cooperation and connection of two
not from the self-centeredness of one
To understand our inborn harmonious union with others we need to practice giving and receiving, relaxing and enjoying our interrelatedness.
By sharing and caring with others we experience a feeling of fullness and connectedness. By nurturing these feelings of connection and satisfaction daily, our capacity grows to include more people in our loving circle, eventually realizing and feeling our oneness with our entire planetary family.
from our nesting family
to our planetary family
by daily acts
of sharing and caring
We are who we are
At the same time
we are seen differently
by different people
As an adult
our parents still see us as their children
while our children
see us as their parents
We relate with people in the format
of various roles
and they are in a role when relating with us
We dance in and out of relationships
But on the inside
we remain our essential Self
Through playing in our roles
we come to understand each other
by feeling how similar
we are underneath
Our role-playing lets us see
While underlying all is a thread of commonality
interlocking us as the stitches in a sweater
One long thread; many loops
The fabric of humanity
Throughout our changing roles
we are the unchanging ones
Able to radiate love
in any situation
And able to feel others' love for us
from our underlying constant of lovingness
At any moment
in whatever role
we each can say
I am the one
who always has love to share
Love is constant
22. Love and Harmony, Our Constant
Beauty is harmony
Harmony is beautiful
Surrounding ourselves with beauty
inner and outer
Surrounding ourselves with harmony
our daily living
We see physical beauty
as all parts gracefully aligned
Eliciting a feeling of
peacefulness and easefulness
We are aware of inner beauty
when a person manifests lovingness
Their actions blending into the creation
as one of the parts
part of the One
People of inner beauty bring out the best in us
because we feel easy in their company
We recognize beauty
because we start feeling good ourselves
The beauty of nature
and people living in tune with natural harmony
allows us to sink into our own space
of thinking and acting beautifully
More beauty comes into our life
by creating an uplifting
physical, mental, emotional, spiritual environment
Surroundings clean, orderly
Bathing and exercise
Deep relaxation, rhythmic breathing
Through meditation and self-analysis discovering
the soul's existence
That self-sustained part of us that is watching
the whole process of living
from its joyful state
By keeping clean, clear, in harmony
we become aware of ourselves
no matter what our roles in life
Remember these words
They'll teach and show
How in life
We all should go
Whether we're young
Or very old
This is a story
To be told…
When mornin's light
At dawn appears
We have another day
To show we care
To care and share
With family, friends
That we hold dear
That we are near
But first when up
And cleaned and dressed
And ready for the day
Then take some time
To thank the Lord
"Thank you, God"
This little prayer of
"Thank you, God"
Sets the day aright
And keeps us feeling
All day long
And if we act in the world
Then we give ourselves
And when our thoughts
Are true and bright
We shine forth
Our inner light—
Our inner light of God's own love
on those we love
And when we love
We shine our light
And soon our world
Becomes more bright
Let's thank God
With all our energy and might
For blessing us
So warmly, closely
Shining Loving Light
is an international author of more than 50 collections and thousands of
articles on rhythmic movement, modern dance, ballet, music, philosophy, yoga,
meditation, and practical spirituality for children, teens, adults and those
challenged, with some translations in Dutch, French, German, Greek and Spanish,
and with her husband, Stan Schaap- http://www.powertoshare.com,
resides in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
web site http://www.susankramer.com
Copyright 1998-2012 Susan Kramer
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Photo credit Susan Kramer: a scene in Santa Barbara
Gentle Yoga and Meditation - book or ebook for adults
Yoga for All Kids - book or ebook