The psychological consequences of karmic problems are related mainly to our interpersonal relationships, because our mental health depends largely on the quality of our relationships. It seems that harmonious relationships are the true basis for a happy life and that happiness is one of the basic factors that ensure good health, not only mental but also physical and spiritual health. Among the main principles of Hawaiian Huna practice there is one that states, “to love is to be happy with”. So the key to happiness is love and our relationships are the expressions of love. Therefore an individual who avoids relationships, or whose relationships are mostly bad, cannot be called a healthy person. Since relationships directly indicate the state of our mental health, their quality can be used as a diagnostic tool. To begin therapy aimed at dissolving the causes of a problem or reaching a certain goal, a person must have at least one relationship based on unconditional love. If this is not the case, that person will not be motivated to change. What is more, without a single good relationship the client cannot actualize the new state of consciousness and the new dimension of love that was reached through the intervention. In this case it is better to begin the therapeutic intervention by creating one healthy relationship and only then continue with other kinds of work.
If we look closely at what is called “life”, we may notice that it is an ongoing and continuous relationship between the people and beings which constitute the manifested universe. Where there is a relationship, there is life, and life without relationships tends to die out. And if we look at life from the spiritual level, there is an underlying connection between all manifested forms, both living and material. All mystical experiences have one thing in common – the omnipresent unity. There is only one consciousness, which is the very essence of all individual life forms. If there is no difference between the object and the subject in a spiritual experience, between the perceiver and the perceived, then we have a kind of relationship network amongst all existing beings and things. So, it seems impossible not to be in a relationship, because just by existing we are already included in this network. And relationships are not only possible between physical beings. Many individuals will find communication with spiritual beings to be a very important aspect of their relationships. In cases of spiritual devotees who live as hermits, for example, there is a kind of relationship enabling the hermit to proceed with his continuous development – the relationship between himself and spiritual beings or God. These people are only hermits when it comes to interactions with other human beings, but not with the spiritual ones. So, what matters here is that relationships inevitably exist and take place between all beings, whether they are physical, energetic or spiritual.
Besides being an instrument for expressing the universal cosmic principle called “unconditional love”, relationships are also important as the means by which related beings realize their goals. No single objective can be realized through individual effort alone. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we should rely too much on others and their help; it means that relationships also serve as a means of achieving our goals, whether we want it or not. The help of other people – their guidance, co-operation or inspiration – will enable us to attain both our everyday and our profound goals. Good co-operation leads to “synergy”, which denotes a new quality created by a number of people focusing on a common goal. So, the sum of five people's energies, for instance, is not five but about seven. For that reason joint efforts lead to an easier realization of personal goals.
Some may think that relationships are not important or that they even obstruct individual development, but my practice has proved otherwise. Although different people have different inclinations (towards individualism or socializing), everyone inevitably develops in two main ways:
- Through individual self-development.
- Through relationships with other people and the community.
All outstanding individualists need an audience to recognize and confirm their individual results. At the same time, all sociable people require periods of solitude to deal with their personal needs, to develop their practical skills or to gain new insights about their lives. Individual development is checked, confirmed and sometimes even directly encouraged by relationships. For example, problems which arise as a consequence of disharmonious relationships are the most common incentive for personal development. Many people come to therapy precisely because of problematic relationships, and others who come for different reasons regularly discover that the cause of their problem is an unsettled relationship and its unconscious dynamics. Since relationships can be considered a means of our development, the original intention of most relationships is to teach us a lesson. That’s why they may be connected with the three main goals of our existence as human beings. Some relationships help the first goal, spiritual enlightenment, others with our karmic purification and the third type help with our creative realization.
Bearing all this in mind, it isn’t hard to foresee that interpersonal relationships will be the first and most problematic consequence of a traumatic experience. As each trauma is created by an outer influence, its consequences primarily concern our relationship towards the outer world, and this “outer world” consists mostly of other people. A trauma directly threatens interpersonal relationships because a traumatic experience is primarily an emotional wound, even if it is caused by a physical injury. So, it is only logical that an emotional wound manifests itself through relationships because they represent the emotional aspect of human existence. That’s why any therapeutic intervention treating a trauma automatically influences the character of our emotional connections with those who are close to us, mainly our family members. It is impossible to work on one aspect of our being and expect it to influence only that aspect and to have no effect on our relationships. Therefore therapeutic intervention over traumatic experience as the cause of all karmic problems has to be supplemented with sorting out the relationships affected by the trauma.
Without the positive transformation of the accompanying relationships, we may face some serious difficulties in grounding our achievements or with the actualization of a new healthy state in our everyday life. Since the aim of every integral therapeutic intervention is not only to induce a change in consciousness, but also a change in lifestyle, treating the traumatic experiencewithout including its most important and critical consequence can produce a large amount of chaos in our lives. Dissolving the symptoms and the trauma, and even discovering the meaning of a problem, is usually not enough; it is necessary to include the relationships which the trauma is reflected upon. Otherwise we neglect the ecology of such work and create unnecessary chaos, usually expressed as an inability to harmonize our lives with the new level of consciousness. But the original goal of the intervention was to change us, and our lifestyle is very much influenced by the people around us. They sometimes have a decisive impact on our behavior, which is why these relationships simply have to be included in the intervention.
Here’s another way of looking at the importance of relationship work in any kind of therapy. When dealing with a certain problem, or when trying to realize their goals, most people don’t have a clear idea of what it is that causes their problems or blocks them from reaching their goals. The causes are usually hidden, buried deep in the realms of the unconscious mind, and our imagination interprets them in many different ways, creating varieties of prejudice. Nevertheless, it seems that most of our problems and blocks to success come from one of the two basic needs we have as human beings. Both of these needs are instinctive and automatic; they are part of human nature and are impossible to avoid or neglect. If these needs are not satisfied, or become twisted, we will have problems that will block our happiness, our success and fulfillment. Therefore the problem solving process has to consist of methods designed to enable us to satisfy these two needs. They are:
- The need for connectedness in relationships.
- The need for wholeness, or to be who we are.
Being connected in a relationship seems to be our primary need. Humans want to be emotionally bonded with the people that are closest to them. The need for connectedness is so strong that most of us will connect to others in the worst possible ways just to satisfy this need. So the paradoxical thing here is that even the so-called “toxic bonding” is better than none. That is, the actual connecting with the people we are intimate with goes through energy cords that link two persons together. Although of energy origin, these cords resemble physical organs, and it is better to have an organ that is sick than to have no organ at all. That’s why some forms of popular psychotherapy that are directed merely towards “cutting the ties that bind” are not complete and cannot give us the desired results. Toxic bonds definitely need to be dissolved, but afterwards we have to re-create healthy connections, not only with abstractions such as the “higher self”, but also with the actual people with whom we were toxically bonded. The rule says – a healthy connection sets us free and disconnectedness bonds us. As I have already mentioned, through healthy connections with our family members and the other people we feel close to, we express the most important purpose of our existence, which is the actualization of the potential to create completely fulfilling relationships with other beings and the world around us.
Together with connectedness, everybody has the need to be who they are and to be accepted by others for who they are. We want to be whole and we want to express ourselves freely and openly; we don’t wish to be forced to give up some of the aspects of our true selves. If this for some reason isn’t possible, there will be a slowdown or a stop in our development. People become obsessed with things they are not allowed to do or be and they cannot continue their development until the need to be who they are and to express themselves freely is finally satisfied. The need to be whole expresses the next important purpose of our existence and that is self love and the development of our own potentials. Besides self-realization through harmonious relationships, we have come to this planet to realize ourselves creatively. We are definitely not here to just be a cog in the artificially created economic machinery, or a robot without contact with the deeper aspects of its own being.
How did we become incomplete and why did we create toxic bonds? Our need to relate and be loved is so strong that we try to realize it by any means. We want the people that are closest to us (our parents, partners, children or friends) to love us and support us emotionally. This need was especially strong when we were small children. Even unborn babies, living in their mother’s womb, have this emotional need, although most people are not aware of this and think that the prenatal phase serves only for physiological development. If our parents are able to love us unconditionally, to accept us as we are and to enthusiastically support us in our efforts, then our psycho-energetic connection with them is going to be healthy. On the other hand, if parents put conditions on their love and accept a child only if those conditions are respected, then the connection becomes unhealthy, burdening and “toxic”, creating blocks to success and the inability to realize goals, both during childhood and later on when a child grows up.
Together with unhealthy connectedness a child faces an identity loss of some kind, because he rejects a part of himself that is not acceptable to his parents. For example, if there is a rule in the family which says that free thinking is not acceptable, then we shall reject, cut off or forget about the part of ourselves that wants to be an independent thinker. If the rule says that expressing our emotions openly and freely is not desirable, then we shall suppress our emotions and forget about the part of ourselves that is able to feel. If creativity is not acceptable, we shall probably view creativity as dangerous and eventually forget about it. So, if parents do not accept a child as a conscious being and see him merely as a tabula rasa, or a blank slate that can be programmed according to their ideas, then the child can make the conclusion that “to be who you are is not good”. And since our primary need is to be loved and emotionally connected, in an attempt to deserve parental love and acceptance we shall reject, suppress or forget about the part of ourselves which is not acceptable. Our connections with our parents then become a kind of sale contract based on strict rules – we know exactly what is allowed and what isn’t, what part of ourselves we need to keep hidden and what mask we have to wear for the outer world.
However, in the same way as conditional love doesn’t diminish our need for bonding, cutting off a part of our true self doesn't diminish our need for that part. The desire for the lost part is still there, but since it cannot be expressed directly, it finds other ways of expression and those ways can sometimes be pretty destructive. The actual dynamics of that might look like this: if we have learned that a part of ourselves is not desirable or acceptable, we may try to suppress it; this could work for some time, but slowly we become obsessed (consciously or unconsciously) with it and may try to satisfy our obsession by creating some vice; later on we become addicted to that vice.
For example, in some families it is not acceptable to be a strong person and to defend your integrity by confronting others in ways that may include anger or healthy aggressiveness. Those are usually families of victims, who see healthy integrity as undesirable or even as tyranny. Our reaction to this could be to cut off our integrity, or to lose the part of ourselves that has the need to confront those who don’t respect our integrity. But by doing this our need for that particular part will not disappear; we are just not allowed to express it when appropriate. Therefore we may express it in some other situations, mostly when it is absolutely inappropriate. We may start drinking and become violent when drunk. We may occasionally engage ourselves in unnecessary fights with other people and justify it by saying that “it was their fault”. Some people take drugs in order to establish contact with “forbidden” parts of themselves. Some become TV or movie addicts, emotionally identifying themselves with the roles actors play, having no idea that by doing this they are actually searching for the lost parts of their own souls.
All primary aspects of bonding become the role models for our secondary aspects of bonding. Primary aspects are the types of bonding with our parents that were established in the prenatal phase of development and in earliest childhood. Secondary aspects are the ones we create through the relationships we consciously choose – those with our friends, partners and children. For example, a child may have a parent of the opposite sex who tyrannizes him emotionally. Although parents have a duty to create rules and obligations for children, the parent-tyrant sometimes does not allow for the child to have even the minimum amount of free will. He or she makes every important decision and determines which school the child will go to, what he will do during hisfree time and what kind of friends he will have. What this child learns from such a parent is how to become a tyrant. He may have a younger brother or sister and constantly tyrannize them, in both obvious and more sophisticated ways. Hecan behave the same way with friends and, later on, with partners. Sometimes this person finds partners who are able to love him unconditionally, but he is not satisfied with them. For him, unconditional love does not equal affection but tyranny, so he needs someone who will tyrannize him in order to feel loved. And these people eventually find tyrants for their partners. They become dependent on them and although constantly complaining, they do nothing to change or end their relationship. So, this is how primary bonding may affect the secondary aspects.
What happens when these people come for treatment? They usually decide to visit a therapist not because of “primary bonding problems”, but because of some other difficulties that they face, which are almost certainly going to be the consequences of primary bonding. For example, they might be unable to realize themselves professionally, so they may say that “something is blocking them” in finding an adequate job, but they don’t know what. Although their psychological profile may show a potential leader, the influence of an authoritarian parent may have completely confused them. All they know about the causes of that block are their feelings of uncertainty and insecurity that come from an unknown source. They may try to satisfy their professional needs by accepting jobs that push them into the second row, but they always lack something – the job may be paid well but they cannot be creative, or they can be creative but cannot get paid adequately. Often they are neither paid well nor creative; they work for an authoritarian boss who misuses them in almost exactly the same way as their parent(s) did. So, what is this “something” that blocks these people? Is it their boss, destiny, bad karma? No, it is precisely that: the toxic bond with their parent(s).
Should we think of these persons as unhealthy? I think not. They do the best they can under the given circumstances. Losing the part of their identity that would otherwise confront the parent-tyrant was probably the only possible way to stay mentally stable in the crazy environment of their early childhood. As I have already mentioned, being connected with one’s parents is the primary issue for a child and the same goes for having a perception of our parents as sane and good. The worst thing parents can do to a child is to make him see them as evil or insane. A child will fight this perception and do anything he can to interpret hisparents’ behavior as good and positive, as being motivated by love. That’s why toxic bonding is still a healthy reaction to unhealthy, or even insane, family influences. The good news here is that this kind of bonding can be transformed into a positive and healthy kind. The methodology presented in this book gives the possibility of the transformation of unhealthy connections into healthy ones, together with the re-integration of the lost part, its emotional maturing and its integration into everyday life. In this way we also have an opportunity to solve our problems permanently, because we take the role of the active subject of our change. This finally enables us to learn from our own experiences, because learning the lesson hidden behind the problem was the underlying reason for its creation.
Popular New Age terminology has introduced the term “karmic ties” into systems of personal and spiritual development. This concept is used to describe very different types of relationships. Sometimes a karmic tie is considered to be a relationship which has special depth and strength, independent of its positive or negative character. Sometimes it is about a happy and fulfilling relationship which is realized without too much effort. Sometimes a karmic tie imposes specific obligations and duties which are not easy to accomplish. And the most extreme form of a karmic tie is a very bad relationship which heavily burdens a person, producing huge problems and apparently offering no constructive solution except for long-term suffering. All these forms of karmic ties share a common denominator, which is a strong intensity, either positive or negative. However, I will use the term “karmic tie” to describe a relationship burdened with negative mental states and actions which, according to the law of karmic retribution, cause the equivalent counter effects. A karmic tie is loaded with samskaras and unnatural forms of bonding which were transferred into a current incarnation from past lives. The reason why some negative experiences do not get released at least during the purification period a soul goes through between two incarnations is in the lessons which lie behind such experiences. Unlearned lessons are carried into future incarnations so that we can finally master them.
We have to bear in mind that all relationships are a means for expressing love – they are love in action. Therefore the real background of karmic ties is love which is not fully realized. It sometimes turns into hatred, lust, pain, jealousy, resentment or other forms of love deviations. However, the essence of all interpersonal relationships is love, pure and unconditional, and it will strive to realize itself in its purest and most authentic form, especially when it comes to relationships with people we are intimate with. If someone is burdened with traumatic experiences and toxic bonds, it will be hard for him to recognize unconditional love as the true nature of all relationships. But there is still hope for him because relationships can be transformed. We can change both the inner and the outer aspects of any relationship by transforming its psycho-energetic aspect first and then our behavior. Sorting out relationships which became inharmonious is one of the hardest life processes because emotional immaturity is probably the biggest problem that the human race faces at the moment. That’s why this field requires special attention.
Family karma denotes the set of unchangeable and changeable karma of all family members. Pure, unchangeable karma cannot be transformed whereas changeable karma can be, or even must be, overcome. The best example for unchangeable karma is our basic family structure, because we cannot replace our family members with new or different ones. Although the circumstances under which we were born were definitely the result of our choices made on the soul level, even before we were conceived, those choices were largely influenced by our former actions. So now we find ourselves in a family we have karmically attracted and that's it, there can be no turning back. All we can do is to accept what we have and live with it the best we can. What we actually can change is the kind of relationships we have with our family members and the personality traits we have inherited from them. Changeable family karma is therefore manifested through the negative character traits of the parents, which are passed on to the children either in conscious or unconscious ways. Thus the essence of the process of purifying a family karma is to discontinue inheriting the negative features of our ancestors.
Besides creating undesirable mental states, negative character traits attract undesirable life circumstances and cause most family problems. The younger family members become shock absorbers for negative family karma, so in some ways they are the victims of their families. If they decide not to be the victims, then they have to break the chain of negative actions and failures in their family. If negative karma is manifested through a tyrant-victim game, the child will have the task of disrupting the karmic chain by taking responsibility for his own life and creating it according to his own wishes. His karma is actually to become a person of integrity and not to continue the family chain of victim-like behavior. As negative karma is manifested through our negative features, programmed mostly by our parents through the upbringing process, we have to identify and change those features in order to avoid repeating our parents' mistakes.
Along with the already mentioned methods and some new ones I am about to present, there is an easy way to detect and reprogram the negative characteristics taken over from our parents. The following method comes from James Redfield and his Celestine Prophecy book and, although being only the first layer that needs to be peeled, it is very useful. First of all we should find out what the most negative personality traits (weaknesses) of our mother and father are. It is absolutely certain that we too have those characteristics, probably not expressed in the same way, but essentially identical. These traits should be dissolved and reprogrammed by creating the positive ones that are their opposites. Then we should focus on our parents' professions. The negative aspects of their jobs should also be dissolved and positive ones created using the creation method described in chapter nine. We should by all means choose a profession which will represent a mixture of our parents' professions, at least at the beginning of our professional careers, but on a higher level. In this way we will honor our parents' positive aspirations and with this really do something useful for them. They actually expect us to do something for them all the time, but that something is not the realization of their unfulfilled ambitions or the continuation of their destructive life paths. It is taking part in breaking the chain of negative family karma, although our parents are usually not aware of this. This is basically the only constructive and positive thing we can do for them.
For instance, if our parents are a medical doctor and a language teacher, it would be best for us to start realizing ourselves in medicine or in the healing professions and write about our work, teaching others the methodology we use. Our way of healing may take a more subtle form, so maybe we can become an energy healer. Remember, we have to overcome the negative or undesirable aspects of our parents' professions and bring the positive ones to a higher level. We should move a bit further up the ladder of the goals of their professions, a step closer to their original positive intention. That’s what I did. Although my father was an MD and had a PhD in the field of general practice and family medicine, I am also a researcher in the same areas of medicine, but on another level and outside the restrictions imposed by official institutions. He was a university professor who wrote textbooks for his students and I do almost the same, but again on another level. And people say my writing is good; could it be because my mother was a Croatian and English language teacher? I translate my own texts into English and people say I do it well; not as well as a native speaker would do, but well enough so that a native speaking editor doesn’t go out of his or her mind working on my texts. Was I defined by my parents’ professions? Of course I was; it was inevitable.
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 live accordingly. Our parents' goals will most certainly be our goals too, so by using these procedures we become aware of what we are to do, what positive characteristics we need to develop, what jobs to take and what processes to undergo in order to compensate for the negative family karma and disrupt the family karmic chain. And once we do this, we may even create totally new fields of personal realization and have the freedom to develop in a completely new direction, liberated from all the influences of our past. So, a family karma does exist and nothing will be achieved by denying it; we can only analyze it precisely and then reprogram it. Since one of the main goals of human incarnation is karmic cleansing, which basically consists of breaking the chain of negative family karma, this process surely is an integral part of the plan our soul has created for our earthly life.
Family karma is certainly our karma as well, so we cannot pretend that we have nothing in common with our families. Where else would karma manifest itself more directly than through our families? All family problems reflect our actions from past lives, but this doesn’t mean that we should suffer and do nothing – we need to solve them actively. Many people view their family situation as a curse they need to run away from, but where can you go? I know a person who ran from his father to another continent. There he got married and was forced to live for some time with his wife’s parents. And her father was, of course, the spitting image of his own… We carry our karma as a sort of energetic bag full of tasks we need to undertake, so it will follow us everywhere. The only (and the best) thing we can do is to face our karma, dissolve it properly and learn from the process.
THE PARENT – CHILD RELATIONSHIP
The most important influence on our personality and consequently on our lives comes from our parents. Whether we want it or not, that is, either consciously or unconsciously, the parental influences are going to play the crucial role in the formation of our character. It is therefore good to know what a harmonious parent-child relationship should look like. First of all, it is important for this kind of relationship to be exactly what it is – the relationship between a parent and a child. So, a parent should be ready to take the role of a parent. The father must take over the identity of a father and the mother that of a mother. They can also be the child's friends or playmates, but their main identity cannot be that of a friend; this can only be one of the supporting identities, but not the dominant one. The role of a parent is therefore very simple – a parent must be a parent. This sounds easy and natural, but most people don’t know what being a parent really means. Since there are no mysteries here anymore, here are the basic characteristics of the identity of a parent.
Parents love their children unconditionally; they accept them as they are and enthusiastically support theirwishes and aspirations. They respect the children’s individuality and always affirm their identity, never criticizing the identity, only the behavior (they never say “you are bad”, but “your behavior is such and such”). Furthermore, a parent is the person who draws limits and decides on the rules the child will respect, as well as on the rules which govern the relationship between the child and him or herself. A child needs to feel safe and secure, well protected and nurtured, so a parent must define the limits and rules which will serve as a safeguard for the child. There are other reasonable motives for imposing limits – a child needs to develop his integrity and become conscious that he is not a boundless being anymore. In order to be able to protect himself from unwanted outer influences, or not to hurt others with hisunbalanced behavior, a child needs to develop a sense of personality and integrity that will enable him to function successfully in the material world. Although some modern parents think that rules belong to the past because they represent unnecessary rigidity in the old fashioned upbringing process, this is not exactly true. Overly rigid rules would, of course, cripple a child emotionally but having no rules would do the same, so some rules simply must exist.
A parent must also have a good relationship with his or her partner. A healthy parent doesn't need a child to replace or supplement a partner. Parents have children because they want them and not because they need them as a means for the realization of their own goals. That’s why parents continuously work on their own objectives, have their own friends and social life. They lead a fulfilling and interesting life and do not need a child just to give their life a meaning. A parent has to be asource of positive energy and fulfillment, showing the child that it is possible to be happy and that happiness is a natural thing. Whether they want it or not, parents are their child's role models, both positive and negative. The child will try to further develop their qualities, but will also carry their shortcomings inside and tend to repeat their 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 their children will be disturbed. Children must never become a means of compensation for the unfulfilled ambitions of one or both parents, because then they will not be able to live their own life. If the child is denied his own life, he reacts in three typical ways. He sometimes accepts the imposed role and becomes the person his parents want him to be, or he pretends to be that person while living a secret life of his own, or he becomes a rebel and totally rejects his parents and their lifestyle. There is also a fourth possibility – the child can be stuck in a conflict between these models. Therefore parents must continually work on their own goals and not expect their children to surpass them or to accomplish whatever they failed to realize. Parents need to get to know their children and respect their individuality and the uniqueness of their personalities. They need to enthusiastically support their children to be who they are and to realize their own goals.
The relationship between the parents, together with all their personal problems, is strongly reflected in children. I have already mentioned that children are the shock absorbers of all the suppressed mental contents of their parents. They reflect all the difficulties from the family dynamics, not only those between themselves and others, but also those between other family members. For example, an unresolved conflict between the father and his mother, who may not even be alive anymore, is transferred onto his children. All the emotions a father suppresses are passed on to the children and no child deserves to be a victim of the unresolved problems of his parents. Ideally speaking, what parents should transfer onto their children is their knowledge and consciousness, and not the deficiencies of their own characters. But all too often they do exactly this, up to the point where families are seen as an inexhaustible source of suffering. So, if one of the parents plays the victim role and suppresses aggression, it is very probable that the child will become aggressive. The child feels the urge to express aggressiveness, although it is not even his. It is the aggression of one or both parents who withhold their anger. This happens because the bonds between the family members are very strong, and suppressed energy will try to find its vent anywhere; if not within the energy system of the parent, it will usually manifest through a child.
The causes of family problems completely lose their mysterious dimension here. Parents withhold their negative inner states, which then continue to live in 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. Where could the energy of a family secret or a suppressed problem go, if not into the subconscious of other family members? That’s why everybody in the family should work on sorting out their relationships and stop suppressing their personal problems, thinking naively that they will somehow disappear. The importance of improving family relationships lies in the fact that they represent the basis of all the other relationships a person enters in life. Educating people in family ties will probably become the key for improving all types of social relations, from personal and business to political ones. A society based on harmonious family relationships will not need authoritarian presidents or political parties. It could be founded on the freedom of the individual and the joint efforts of all society members in encouraging each individual to realize the best of their potentials. And only fully realized individuals can be truly beneficial for society as a whole.
SORTING OUT FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Family relationships form the basis of our lives. For that reason they represent the starting point of every therapeutic intervention. The TKP methodology is fully equipped to do the job of sorting out family relationships, so it is something we can all achieve. It is about creating relationships that are based on unconditional love and healthy connections between family members. In my experience, instead of cutting the energetic cords as is the case in some therapeutic systems, the independence and maturity of family members is attained by creating healthy and natural connections. Cutting off 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 liberates us, while cutting off bonds us. Negative forms of connections should, of course, be dissolved, but then the process of connecting should be initiated. So, the way of solving most problematic family relationships is the process of re-connecting family members using the right forms of psycho-energetic methodology.
If we cannot realize unconditional love anywhere else, there is always our family. This is exactly what thefamily is meant for, but our family relations are unfortunately not always characterized by unconditional love. Instead of accepting them for what they are, we sometimes criticize our family members mercilessly. Criticism only reflects what we think of ourselves, but we are usually not aware of this. Sometimes we are too possessive of some family members and do not let them live how they want, but meddle in their lives thinking we know what is best for them. Sometimes we project our unrealized ambitions onto our children or blame our parents for our shortcomings or unfulfilled goals. But however uninteresting or difficult our family members may seem, we should bear in mind that we have chosen them ourselves. The experiences of my clients show that, before being incarnated, our soul chooses our family. The members of our family will inevitably be the souls we met in previous existences and we are closely connected to, either karmically and/or dharmicaly.
The people belonging to our family are therefore not just anybody. They are the persons we have chosen to have a relationship with, to bond with them on the basis of unconditional love, even when it seemed impossible. The obstacles for the realization of such a goal are sometimes rather large, so when some of our family bonds are burdened with negative karma, we tend to view our family as damnation rather than as an ideal of unconditional love. Nevertheless, our family is exactly what we have attracted through karmic law. Our mother and father, as well as all other family members, reflect our actions from past lives. So, if we have terrorized someone emotionally, our father or mother will now terrorize us. On the other hand, if we are ready to learn from this process and know how to dissolve its causes, we can break the karmic chain of terror and finally stop being a victim. Our karma is here to teach us something, and when it comes to family relations the essence of these lessons is always the manifestation of unconditional love.
What would the characteristics of unconditional love be? It has a merciful and a merciless aspect. The merciful one is expressed through accepting other people as they are, giving our full support to their individuality, goals and independence. It is tolerant, ready to forgive, “turn the other cheek” and respond gently and with compassion to any outer influence. But besides understanding and warmth, unconditional love is sometimes manifested through an open confrontation and even a communication breakdown. This may seem merciless or ruthless, but only if viewed superficially. A number of family ties can be realized as inactive love because the differences in characters and levels of consciousness of family members do not allow for anything more than that. People we have broken off contact with, because we refused to take part in a negative type of relationship, sooner or later get the message. Nothing can hurt other people more than ignoring them, and nothing can motivate them better, either. Non-love then usually quickly changes into an openly expressed love, so if don’t want to play a victim role anymore, we will simply have to express merciless love to those family members who wish to tyrannize us.
Unconditional love in its merciless aspect usually takesthe form of an open conflict. If we really love somebody, and this person behaves destructively, we are not only going to express acceptance and understanding as basic aspects of merciful love, but we also need to be able to confront that person. There’s no use in pandering to him endlessly, because in this way we support his weaknesses. A person who behaves destructively needs someone who will stop him, and this has to be done first by a family member, which is much better than a police intervention or a hospitalization. There are various ways we can do this in a positive and harmonious manner, without a fight or a quarrel. But even a quarrel is better than nothing if your family member refuses to listen. The New Age philosophies tend to label any form of confrontation as “negative”, “unspiritual” or “backward”; only smiling and positivity is accepted. This, however, deprives us of a necessary tool for overcoming a victim role. Negative emotions have their justification as initiators of change and as links to the causes of a certain problem. So although they are basically unpleasant, that’s why it is sometimes necessary to express them.
Besides being a means for realizing the potential for unconditional love, families are also systems and they function according to all the basic rules that govern systems. Family relationships can be viewed through the model of the Living Systems Theory because they are composed of a number of different elements, mutually connected and having the same goal. Every member represents a fragment of the mechanism called the family; that’s why a change in the life of each member inevitably affects other members. This means that any kind of changework creates a new reality for us, which will first be felt by our family members. Sometimes family members react positively to the changes they have noticed or felt instinctively, but at other times their reactions are negative, even when our changes are exceptionally positive. We need to be aware that our new level of consciousness and new goals will directly influence our family members, in one way or another, and whether we want it or not. Even if they have no conscious knowledge of our change, they will somehow feel it and react to it.
When they don’t like our change for some reason, our family members will try to force us back to the old reality. If we do not allow it, we will have to bring them into our new reality, which is sometimes impossible. The third option is to leave the family and become independent, if we are younger and still live with them, or to break off communication, if we are older and do not live with them. Whatever the situation we find ourselves in after our personal transformation, the best thing we can do to improve our family relations is to undergo the process of reconnecting to our family members. This can significantly improve our relationships with them, or avoid the problems caused by our personal change. So, it is advisable to make our connections with our immediate family stronger each time after working on personal transformation. This may have a number of positive effects, such as:
- reviving halted or superficial communication
- letting go
- positive influence (inspiring changes)
- healing physical and mental illnesses
Sometimes the relationship with our family as a whole, or with a particular family member, will worsen after our personal transformation, even if we do our best to reconnect with them on the basis of deepest unconditional love we know of. Well, this is a risk we will have to take if we want to break free from the limiting family patterns. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but the final outcome of this ostensible cooling of relationships is definitely going to be a constructive one. On some level the other person gets the message and understands it totally, although it will take time for her to come to her senses and accept our change. When we find ourselves in this kind of situation, the suffering that it will produce can be considered pure or unchangeable karma that we should simply endure the best we can.
 James Redfield: The Celestine Prophecy, Warner Books, Inc., New York, 1997.
©Tomislav Budak (April, 2000)