here are many associations we make to conduct our life process. We make associations of business, nationality, community. But among all these things, family is a fundamental association. You must understand family for what it is, and conduct it for what it is. The problem is we get overwhelmed with emotion and raise it to another place, which it is not. In many ways, my mother never tried to influence us in any way. By not wanting to influence us, she was the biggest influence. What human beings have to offer you, and what you have to offer them should not be trampled upon. But the illusions we create around them must be trampled upon, otherwise we will miss the beauty of people coming together and sharing things.
In many ways, family means “the closest association.” That means you have to constantly step on each other’s feet. When you constantly step on each other’s feet because you are sharing the same space, it brings a certain level of understanding and maturity. Suppose you have a Facebook family. You can have a family of 10,000 without any problems because you don’t have to share anything with anybody except pictures. It does not challenge you. Suppose you do not like someone on Facebook, you can just click and they are gone! That is not the case with family. One moment, they do something and you hate them, but you can’t click them away.
When people stay together, either by bondage or choice, they mature because maturity happens when you rise above your likes and dislikes. There are so many things that you do not like about your parents, children, husband, wife. Initially, it irritates the hell out of you, but after some time, you rise beyond it. If you rise beyond it by giving in and saying, “The hell with it!” that will not help. But if you rise beyond it consciously, you have turned spiritual. Without intention, you have become spiritual. That is the most beautiful way to do it.
Family is a training ground where you rise beyond likes and dislikes. But because some people cannot get along with their families, they want to move into the ashram. I tell them, “If you find living with three people too challenging, you are not fit to live with 1,000 people!” If you are doing great with your family and you want to move into the ashram, that is great, you have passed the test. But if you cannot live with a few people, how are you going to live with 1,000 people?
Above all, family is very important to fulfill your physical, psychological, financial and social needs. You formed an association that you call “family” to fulfill your needs. Do not forget this. Do not suddenly act like Mother Theresa and say, “I have done so much for you.” Right now, you may feel like a sacrificial goat in the family. But everything that you do within the scope of the family need not work out just because you think they are your people — that is just your thought. They are just people. If you give yourself totally to them and make their lives beautiful, they will yield to certain things.
More horrible things happen within the family in terms of anger, hatred and struggles than what happens between two enemy nations. I am not saying this is right or wrong. But you made your association for your needs to be fulfilled, and now you are expecting all the life that evolved out of this family to happen the way you want it to. This does not mean all of them must turn out the way you want them to be – they will not. Just remain in gratitude and do the best you can. “But they are suffering. I don’t want them to suffer.” Yes, we don’t want them to suffer. Not just because they are your family, we don’t want anybody to suffer. It is time that you enlarge your desire to all. “I don’t want anybody to suffer.”
During the 20s, 40s and even 60s, family meant “crime” in America — the mafia. Even today, that is what it means. I want you to understand this, what you see as evil on this planet is not coming from some devilish source. It is human beings who think, “Only these three people belong to me. The rest don’t belong to me.” It is what they perceive as wellbeing for these three people that causes all the rubbish to everything else. It may be a family, community, race, religion or nation. It is this limited perspective of life that causes all the evil on this planet, and it starts with the family. Please expand your idea of family.
Your children may have taken only one cell from you. But how much have you taken from this planet? How many cells? The whole of it, even if you cannot think beyond your biology! The planet and everything that comes out of it is more of a family than somebody who just took one cell from you. You may not like this at all, especially just after Mother’s Day, but the beauty of motherhood is not in reproduction. The beauty of motherhood is in inclusion. It is not because your mother reproduced you, bore you and let you out. That is not why a mother is precious. She is precious because, in many ways, she saw you as a part of herself. It is not the biology; it is the inclusiveness. Suppose your mother bore you and never bothered about you, she would be your worst enemy. It is not the biological process that is significant here. It is the willingness to include another life as part of yourself. It is that beauty we are trying to celebrate with Mother’s Day.