Conflictual family relationships

A life path
11 February 2020

I discovered Reiyukai almost three years ago at a Circle meeting through my friend Marc who had been practising for many years. Following our different exchanges I felt like committing myself to this path.

The relationships with my family had always been very complicated. I met my future husband at 15, got married at 18 and I was 19 when my first son was born. I felt alive again: I had started my own family, the one that I had chosen. The links with my parents and my sister deteriorated so much that I decided to sever them all definitely. This separation was going to last for more than 10 years…

A new consciousness of my ancestral legacy

During a seminar I could hear the following sentences which still guide my research: “What have we inherited from our ancestors? How can we develop a benevolent consciousness for this legacy, for its richness and its weaknesses? How can we develop the qualities our family   lacks, change our own reality and influence our descendants’ reality?”

Then I became conscious of the link with our ancestors and driven by a strong desire to recite the sutra for my ancestors I rapidly put up an altar at home.  Deeply convinced they were helping me change and improve, I set to getting rid of my tendency to want to master and control everything…

Everything started two years ago with the wish to see my sister again who lives 20 kilometres from me.  During our 15 years’ separation, we had not come across once…So I expressed the wish to see her again and 48 hours later somebody came bumping into my trolley in a supermarket.  I found myself in front of my sister, embarrassed to have accidently bumped into a trolley. But this trolley was mine! We decided to meet again. She was more willing than me to get in touch again: the more she called or came to my doorstep, the more excuses I found to postpone the discussion….I was resisting. How difficult it was not to master things anymore! I am conscious that our lives consisted in relational turmoil stemming from our childhood. My sister and I were both locked up in a prison of silence. And I felt protected by that silence.

A sincere aspiration to transform myself

As I wanted to improve, I expressed the wish to give up mastering and controlling things… In front of my resistance, my practice elder advised me to confide into the world of the Awakened, accept my reality and let myself be guided by the Teachings. As the months went by, I invited my sister to read the sutra with me and I could notice some changes in our relationship, which resulted in helping me consider my suffering differently. I stopped hiding behind the defensive walls I had built. At that very moment I saw and understood that I was the first person who had to be freed.

I got in touch with my parents again as it was the only way for me to feel at peace. I had to forgive the unforgivable act I had suffered from as a child….The day I saw my father again was a day of liberation because when forgiveness is granted, it restores the link broken by the offence. The confession and the asking for forgiveness gave back the offender his position as a father, as my father. The word forgiveness completely played its full part  in my personal story and my family’s because it was the key to freedom for my mother, my sister and I : we had found our women’s position  within our family.

Improving the relationships in my family took two years and it was an important stage for my father because we were walking on the path to forgiveness together with a pure heart. My father died last December. Since then, I have started my family tree in order to create my register of posthumous names and to keep on walking on the Buddha’s path. I feel confident in our potential to improve and become awakened. I feel confident in our capacity to free ourselves from our conditioning and in our capacity to change. Isn’t the purpose of this practice to take actively part in social progress and harmony and help create a more peaceful world?

Barbara