6 Big Mistakes That Destroy Family Relationships

Family should be a person’s first source for love, acceptance, and support. Unfortunately, many extended families are failing miserably as the people within the family do things to undercut family unity. Understanding the problem is the first step in finding a solution.
6 things that destroy extended family include:

1. Insults and Criticism

Words carry weight. In some cases they can carry the weight of the world. When unkind words are said to family, they hurt. Your family is supposed to be your source of encouragement and support. Negative words damage the core of family relationships. Some family members may say things off the cuff and think that because these things were said casually, they don’t hurt the other person. The truth is that such words hurt, however they are said. When negative words are spoken to family members it creates a chasm in the relationship. It takes time and positive interactions to repair the harm that is done when insults, criticisms, and jabs take place.
When there is any outpouring of these negative words to a family member the chasm can grow so great that it can almost seem beyond repair. Any relationship can be resolved with apologies and forgiveness, but the hurt can still remain long after words are exchanged. Be careful with your words. Remind yourself that as family you are there to be one another’s greatest supporters in life. Tearing others in the family down with words is destructive to the family unit. Keep the old adage in mind when speaking to your family “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
If there are people in your family who have problems with words, then set the example and set it strong. Use words that encourage and uplift family members. Doing so makes you a person that others want to be around. People don’t want to be around people who make them feel bad. They want to be around those who make them feel good about themselves. Help your family by looking for the positive in each and every person, so that you can set the example of using words that uplift fellow family members.
2. Gossip
Gossip is very damaging. Most often gossip occurs when someone is upset by something related to the person they are gossiping about. It may make a person feel better temporarily, but in the end it does not solve the problem as the gossip itself is certainly not done out of kindness or love. If you have a problem or issue with someone in the family then go to them directly. You don’t need to announce your issue in front of the whole family. Some people do this to force family members to choose sides in a situation .
When sides are taken, there is a divide in the family. Instead, go to that person privately with whom you have a problem. Discuss the issues, but do so with the the goal of reconciliation. Doing so with hardness in your heart or wanting to attribute blame won’t solve the problem.
Voice your concerns in a manner that helps them see things from your perspective. That way they may better want to heal the relationship and rectify any wrongs. Don’t talk badly about family members behind their back. If they have some drama in their life and it has nothing to do with you, then don’t spread their stories around. Tell yourself “not my monkeys, not my circus”.

3. Lack of Inclusion

An Ask Amy article was posted online that clearly puts family inclusion into perspective. Here is that wonderfully articulated response from Amy Dickinson of the Chicago Tribute: Inclusion of family members is essential to family unity. Include all family members at family functions. Even if you “know” they are going to say no. Ask anyway. The hard feelings come because of failure to ask and failure to include. It is up to them whether they attend whatever function or trip you are inviting them to, but the most important part is that they are asked. If your goal is family unity and love among all members, then include all members in family gatherings and functions. Don’t find excuses to not include, as that is wrong and will create hard feelings.

4. Deception and Lies

Deception in a family is destructive. The truth always prevails. Sometimes it may take years or even a generation for the lies and deceit to become known, but know that they will come to light someday. If you can’t be honest with your family, who can you be honest with?
Lying to family or using deception to keep secrets leads to brokenness in a family. This brokenness comes from trust being corroded. The bigger the lie, the bigger the corrosion. Some lies, such as secret children born from an affair, can create insurmountable corrosion that will leave a family damaged for generations.
Your actions have consequences. Not just to you, but to your extended family for generations to come. It is much better to admit your wrong doings and work toward healing, than to lie and work to carry that lie around indefinitely (or until you are found out). Don’t burden yourself with lies. Be open and honest with your family. If you have done something that is hurtful to family members, then you need to apologize and make an effort to rectify the situation for the sake of family unity. Trying to hide the truth only compounds the hurt. The longer the truth is hidden, the more compounded the hurt.

5. Failure to Accept Differences

Children who grow up in the same home with the same parents, same discipline, and same guidance do not turn out to be the same exact adults as their siblings. We all have differences. Allow others to be different. Just because you are family doesn’t mean you have to share the same political views or even the same religion.
People will grow up and have different parenting styles and lifestyle choices, but it is not the job of family members to judge. Love and acceptance starts in the family. If a family is not providing this to one another, then they are fundamentally failing as a family.
If you choose to put a foothold in the differences and create family strife because of differences, then the extended family unit is ultimately damaged. Accept people for who they are and for where they are in life. Acceptance of a person for who they are, is the ultimate form or love.

6. No Apologies and No Forgiveness

Apologies and forgiveness are the glue that keep a family together. Nobody is perfect. At some point in time you will hurt a member of the family. It is up to you to say the words “I am sorry for…”. Those words can heal wounds and create a stronger family bond. When you apologize to a family member, the message you are sending to the person is that they matter and that you don’t want ill feelings between you and them.
Not apologizing, is sending the message that the person does not matter or that their feelings don’t matter. Failure to apologize is a personality flaw and weakness of character. Be the bigger person and apologize when you do something wrong against a family member, whether your words or actions that hurt the person were intentional or not does not matter. What matters is that the apology takes place. You can explain intentions, but you can’t make someone unfeel being wronged.
When someone apologizes, be a gracious forgiver. Families need one another. Don’t hold grudges, as that is a burden to you and it harms the family. Forgive and show your forgiveness with your actions as well as your words. This means that if you forgot to invite a family member to a birthday celebration, then ask for their forgiveness and offer to do something to make it up to the family member like taking him or her to lunch. Actions speak louder than words, so make your apology count by making your actions parallel a heartfelt apology.
Source: lifehack.org


“The dhamma that I preach can be understood only by those who know how to think.” - The Buddha

I get plenty of comments when I say that I’m not a religious person, but I am a practicing Buddhist.

Although Buddhism is known worldwide as a religion, for me it is not. Frankly, I used to perceive it as one, before knowing anything about it and delving into its culture.

To start off, the word religion means “a system of faith and worship” and “the belief in a superhuman, or god with power.” After visiting India and Nepal, and observing the Buddhist complex, I came to notice that Buddhism is neither a system of faith, nor a god-based institution.

Buddhists do not consider the Buddha as a supreme god. For them, he is a man like any other man who’s walked on the earth. Nevertheless, Buddha untangled the reasons of suffering and offered us a concrete way of getting out of them.

And although he did offer the world teachings about how to get unstuck from samsara, he insisted that he wanted no worship or praying. All he asked for is that we must examine his teachings first, and if they do resonate with us, then we practice them. If not, however, we have the utter freedom to leave them.

Although I have watched rituals and ceremonies being held at monasteries, I’ve been told that they’re not in any way worship-based. The so-called “worship” that we might see is one that is offered as a way of showing respect and thankfulness to the man who exhibited the truth. Even the prayers that we hear are ones that read compassion, kindness and love to all sentient beings, without any exception.

If we look more closely at Buddhism, we can even ascertain that there is no leader in the culture. Dzongsar Khyentse constantly talks about how the Dalai Lama is a secular leader for the Tibetan community in exile and a spiritual master to many people all over the world—and not merely for Buddhists. He insists that there is no authority in Buddhism with the power to decide who is a true Buddhist and who is not, or who is punishable and who is not.

If Buddhism isn’t a religion, what is it then?

The way I see it, Buddhism is a way of life—it’s a philosophy and a truth that simply represents 

how things are in life. 

I must admit (and I’m not ashamed to claim it) that Buddhism has helped me understand the religion I was brought up with, as well as all the other religions in the world. Before being introduced to Buddhism, “holy books” were on par with the Chinese language to me. I couldn’t understand why I was supposed to pray, to attend religious ceremonies or to follow a spiritual leader, without true conviction or belief for what they’re saying. Before Buddhism, I was co-dependent on “God.” I constantly searched outside of myself, and I believe this is why I never found myself.

Buddhism helped me look inward. It taught me independence and self-awareness. Through it, I began to understand how the world ticks. It helped me look at myself and take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions, rather than taking refuge in a supreme god.

With Buddhism, I came to finally understand that God isn’t a judgmental man who lives in the clouds. I stopped this duality between God and myself, and I figured out that God is in everyone (and everything and everywhere). It is not something that is outside of us or something we cannot reach—it is in us.

So you might ponder the question—why is it worth looking into Buddhism or practicing it?

I utterly believe to each their own—however, I also believe that it is never wrong to live with an open heart and an open mind which expands our knowledge and raises questions in our heads.

Unlike other religions, Buddhism doesn’t tell its followers to stick only to its teachings. Buddhists don’t care where you’re from, what you believe in or who you worship. All they care about is that you know the truth—and the truth is: “All compounded things are impermanent.”

It’s worth understanding Buddhism, because the final outcome of its purpose is not something that is beneficial to itself—the benefits are for our own sake.The benefit is that we will actually understand the truth of life, our existence and ourselves.

Again, like Dzognsar Khyentse said, “Buddhism is not a survival kit for living that dictates how many husbands a wife should have or where to pay taxes or how to punish thieves. Buddhism doesn’t even have a ritual for wedding ceremonies.”

The Buddha didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear—he simply opened their eyes to the truth of life.

This post was republished from www.elephantjournal.com. You can find the original post here.


Meditation is about becoming one with your mind, and learning something about yourself that you may not have known before you undertook the practice of meditation. Your practice can be as long or as short as you would like, but try to take the time to meditate every day.
You will be thrilled with the results, and we have put together 10 reasons meditation should be on your list of new hobbies to undertake.

1. You will become more mindful and aware

Being mindful means that you are more aware of your thoughts and your actions in general. Unless you are in a heightened state of awareness, you can’t observe your thoughts rationally.
Perhaps your thoughts take you on a wild ride throughout your day, dragging you along. It is time to get off that ride and undoubtedly determine which thoughts are truthful and which thoughts are just bollocks.
Meditation offers you the time to reflect on your thoughts and focus mainly on your breathing or some other aspect of your being. It gives you the awareness to refocus your mind on the present moment, as opposed to the past of the future.
This kind of awareness is a useful skill as you progress through your everyday life.

2. It can decrease unnecessary stress

You experience stress just like everyone else. Some stress is unavoidable, and therefore, not so toxic. Too much stress can be unhealthy and damaging if you are unable to combat it.
Meditation is a quiet time you should dedicate to yourself every day. Use deep inhales and exhales to refocus your attention on being in the moment.
The stress isn’t going to go away automatically but you will observe a transformation in the amount of stress you accumulate. Simply closing your eyes and steadily breathing has a tremendous effect, especially when you acknowledge stressful situations arising.

3. You will gain more control over your emotions

You don’t really want to abdicate all your power to emotions, do you? I think it is safe to say that, like most people, you desire more control over your emotions.
When you are happy, you want to express those emotions freely. At the same time, you may want to express emotions of anger, sadness, and grief, but under your own control. You have the right to express any emotion you want as long as you are in control of the feeling or emotion.
Too often people lose control over their emotions and they simply accept it. Don’t allow the various archetypes of your mind to seize power of your emotions. Learn how to react skillfully in stressful situations by taking the time to simply observe what the mind is doing.
Meditation gives you the opportunity to do this. The more you meditate, the more you will notice the thoughts and actions that trigger the emotions you might not find desirable.
Unless you make the effort to observe your thoughts and attempt to understand what the mind is doing, you are never going to learn about your inner self. Simply believing every thought that pops in your head and living under your mind’s umbrella is not constructive.

4. You will likely make better life decisions

As you gain more awareness of your thoughts, actions, and emotions, you will notice that you make better decisions. Instead of merely reacting to adverse situations, you will obtain a more useful comprehension of what’s going on in your mind.
This comprehension arms you with the skills to think before you act and therefore make purposeful decisions.

5. It can help you slow down the pace you live your life

Unless you enjoy living at an extremely fast pace, you are going to want to slow down and enjoy living. Meditation arms you with the ability to take life gradually.
Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Don’t rush through it and miss out on things you are going to regret later. Slow down your mind first, and then everything else will follow suit.

6. You can learn a useful new skill

If nothing else, you will learn something new through meditation. Meditation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes much practice and concentration. It is always beneficial to introduce more useful skills into your life.
The first time you learned how to read and write was advantageous for your academic development. Learning how to meditate is useful for the development of your mind.
It is not a competition. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You simply can’t fail at meditating. If you are on the fence about trying it, realize that you have absolutely nothing to lose.
It is not a religious technique that only Buddhists or Hindus practice, but rather it is a life technique than can only help you prosper in life.

7. You can experience more well-being

Who doesn’t want to be happier and feel more contentment with life? Meditating consistently is a great way to open up your eyes to your life, and really experience all that life has to offer.
It will help you appreciate life more and feel more connected with the word you live in.

8. It is free

This might be the alluring reason of all. It won’t cost you a cent, and you can do it from the comfort of your home too, so why not give it a try?

9. You can do it anywhere

Find a place that is comfortable for you to meditate. Some people use a quiet space at home or in the office. Churches are a great place to meditate because they are typically quiet and empty.
You can meditate outside in nature as well. Look for a place that is inviting and calm and make that your spot.

10. It works

I wouldn’t be imploring you to meditate if I didn’t believe that it works. There is a ton of science behind the benefits of meditation. It is proven that long-term meditation practitioners are more adept to dealing with the ebbs and flows of life.
The time between thoughts gradually increases as you meditate which invites the opportunity for you to consider your thoughts more carefully and, perhaps, rationally. The physical benefits of meditation include decreased blood pressure and lower levels of anxiety, as well as an overall healthier immune system.
Besides the mental benefits, meditation has the capability to broaden your consciousness, which in turn will grant you the ability to understand your feelings and thoughts more. And the more conscious you become through meditation, the more control you are going to have over your emotions, and the more likely you are to choose to live happily.


The Buddha more than anything else was a man, who went from childhood to manhood, got married, and at the age of 29 had his first child. He went through all the stages men go through sexually, but at the age of 35 ended his sexual desire forever in *Nirvana.

The big question today is... Does the desire for sex always lead to suffering? The answer is, Yes! But the reason may surprise you.

The Buddha in everything he said about sex implies... The activity of sex will never ultimately satisfy the desire for sex.

Now this is a real bummer if you think about it. You can have sex a 1000 times, and want it a 1001. You can be 90 years old... Blind and cripple... Still want to have sex, and not be physically able to. You will never get rid of your sexual desire by having sex. In fact, it seems the more sex you have, the more sex you want.

I think sex is a lot like hunger... And to be honest with you, I'm so tired of being hungry. I have been hungry every day of my life. I'm hungry in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. Think of all the time and money I could save if I gave up eating!
So what if tomorrow, I get up real early and eat as much as I desire, and anything I want. Whatever looks good, I'm going to eat it and keep eating it, until I am so full and satisfied, I will never want to eat again.

Well, if I were to do that what would happen? I would wake up the next morning and still be hungry and sex works the very same way!

You might be saying to yourself, "Well Kusala is a monk, and monks don't have sex, so maybe if I choose celibacy I won't have to suffer."
I wish life were so easy!
The people who choose a celibate lifestyle ('desire' not to have) suffer in a different way from people that choose to have sex ('desire' to have). But all people (monks too) suffer when it comes to sex, if they have desire.

The only way to have sex and not suffer, is to have no desire to have sex. It sounds like a 'Zen Koan' doesn't it? To end our suffering we need to end our desire, our craving, our thirst.
When a Buddhist does end his/her desire in Nirvana, would there be any reason to have sex simply for pleasure???

The problem with sex according to Buddhism... Is not the activity of sex, but the desire for sex. The sexual desire of a human being will never be ultimately satisfied through sexual activity.


Below are 6 of the most common complaints regarding meditation.
I have outlined them briefly, as well as effective solutions for each.

Modify these to fit your personal experiences and situations – take what works for you, and leave the rest for another time.

I’m Experiencing Restlessness/I Can’t Relax…What Do I Do?

If you work all day in an office or cubicle, your body is naturally going to “unwind and unfold”. As soon as your brain starts sending it signals that it’s time to meditate, things can get wonky!

You’re quite literally “shifting gears”, just like any other piece of machinery. Your biological machinery is not dissimilar!

The key here is to use this to your advantage – especially in Vipassana meditation – by bringing your focus and attention to the very areas which are distracting you.

A large part of Vipassana is the focusing of conscious energy on bodily sensations as they arise, slowly recognizing that they are all occurring in the present moment.

Everything that’s happening right now is trying to show you that everything can only happen right now.

This is one of the higher lessons of Vipassana meditation!

Take note of “how” and “where” it “feels”.

Allow your focus to fill those areas – be it your feet, hands, legs, shoulders – like water filling a glass.

Your consciousness takes the shape of its container…

Why Can’t I Find a Comfortable Sitting Posture?!

There’s no “right way” to sit for meditation. The only “right way” is the way which works for you.

For myself personally, I always use the traditional Zazen style of seated meditation. You’ve seen it millions of times; it’s the stereotypical “sitting monk” posture:
Zazen isn’t the only posture, however! There are countless other variations and positions:
Once you’ve identified a comfortable enough position to begin with – you can always fine-tune it to your own preferences.

I tend to favor positions where I don’t feel like I’m spending the majority of my energy trying to get comfortable; that’s the entire point of finding a good posture.

You essentially want a position that allows you to feel as weightless as possible.

Because of this, I typically start off my clients and students in the Zazen position, and then ask them how they think it could be improved.

I’m Having Issues Steadying My Thoughts/Stopping Runaway Thinking/I Can’t Stop Thinking!

The secret here is two-fold:

Stop resisting your thoughts! Let them pass by the screen of your consciousness with zero judgement
Continue observing your thoughts as they “cross your mind” – just like sheep jumping over a fence.
Your thoughts are just as much a part of meditation as anything else!

Part of meditation is learning how to relate to our thinking in new and exciting ways.

This is how self-transformation occurs!

A large misconception regarding meditation practices is that they involve silence and stillness exclusively.

A large portion of becoming aware to the subtleties of our thinking, is learning to work with the natural calmness and serenity your still mind exhibits.

At first, your mind won’t like “the lack of noise” – and this is all part of it!

This is how you begin gaining access to your conscious core – the True You.

Meditation teaches you to stop resisting what’s already happening – a prerequisite for understanding the true nature of reality, your place in it, and how much power you truly have to influence your external world – via balancing and mastering your inner.

This is the goal and wisdom of Vipassana meditation – my primary style of teaching and methodology.

I Keep Spacing Out! Now What?!

This is a sign that your focus is slipping, and it’s time to switch it up a bit.

There’s a reason you’re slipping; but what is it?

It could be your posture, the temperature in the room, your clothing, etc.

I always suggest posture adjustment first and foremost, as many of us don’t realize how awkwardly we’re truly sitting!

The main thing to direct your focus to whenever you “get lost” in meditation is your breathing.

Establishing a steady rhythm acts as a self-directing metronome; YOU are that metronome!

ALWAYS return to your breathing whenever your mind and focus begin to wander; this is the first true test of your mastery of self-remembrance!

I’m Noticing Some Emotional Vulnerability Surfacing…Now What?

NOW we’re getting to the good stuff!

Emotional turbulence during meditation can be due to a variety of things.

Most often, it’s your conscious mind and filters relaxing enough, so that portions of your subconscious mind begin permeating through.

This is ultimately what you want.

I know it sounds scary and counterintuitive, but those subconscious layers are where all of your behavior and belief blocks are hiding!

When we bring them to the surface – no matter how temporarily uncomfortable – we’re reclaiming our personal power.

Those uneasy emotions are stepping stones to higher states of fulfillment, in disguise as temporary discomfort.

Solution? The sooner you move through these, the less severe they will become.

Like ripping off a bandaid, this can be both uncomfortable, and induce a state of over-thinking – the exact opposite of what meditation teaches!

This is also the step where people of all skill sets, backgrounds, and life experience have the most trouble.

I Don’t Have The Time to Meditate! Where Do I Start?!

Another common complaint. With our busy lives and schedules, how are we supposed to find time to meditate during the day?

The solution? You don’t. You don’t “find” time to meditate during the day.

You must CREATE time and space for yourself.

The simplest and most effective way to do this is to begin meditating 15 minutes upon waking, and 15 minutes before bed.

From there, you’ll gradually develop a better sense of how to work it in with your current routine.

You’ll also have a very good idea of which areas meditation improves for you, in regards to the way you’re currently living your days.

Yes, even on weekends.

Now, WHY the hell would I do this to myself?!

Conclusion: Meditation is The Gateway Back to Your True Self

The answer: because early morning meditation out on my deck (with the rising sun) affords me more fulfillment and genuine happiness and contentment than 90% of the “goals and tasks” I work on afterward.

Meditation is my career.

Unveiling more of my True Self  is my only “job”.

Everything else flows and arises as a natural consequence of this. This article is one of those consequences.

It’s a secret, and now you know it. Without meditation and tapping into the higher portions of myself, none of my content would even exist.

It’s about connecting to the True You, and learning to live with the consequences of that.

Meditation teaches acceptance, letting go, and discernment – all of which ironically yield massive rewards just by their virtue of being a constant in your life experience.

When you stop worrying about the details of things, you will start seeing things in a brand new way. Entering a state of allowance will transform your life both on the inner and outer planes.

Meditation is the gateway back to your True Self; it all begins and ends with you.

This article was republished from expandedconsciousness.com. You can find the original post here


My fear and doubts have vanished like mist
into the distance, never to disturb me again. 

I will die content and free from regrets.
This is the fruit of Dharma practice.

Milarepa, from 'Fruit of Dharma Practice'

Fear plays a very important part in our daily life, and in human society as a whole. Fear comes in many shapes and forms, but it could be described as: an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, real or not. It functions to make us alert and ready for action while expecting specific problems.

As is often said, fear lies at the basis of all religions. At the time humans were gatherers and hunters, little was understood of the world around them, so without understanding the causes for many everyday experiences there is logically existential fear. In search for understanding the world around them, shamans and mystics tried to explain the world with invisible and incomprehensible aspects aspects like spirits, gods, nature itself, the sun and moon etc. which also gave the possibility to do something about 'the unexpected' by pleasing the gods and spirits with prayers and rituals. Later on, more advanced ideas and philosophies developed, and of course, organized religions.

Also Buddhism is to an extent based on fear; the fear of suffering. The historical Buddha went out on his spiritual quest when he realized that everybody is subject to discomfort, problems and pain, and with the goal to find a way to end it alltogether he discovered a 'way out'.
In fact, this is not too different from the main motivation to develop human civilization: we fear discomfort so we store food for more difficult times, we prepare ourselves for dangers like wild animals, or to defend ourselves from other humans. This fear of discomfort and attachement to comfort has driven humans in their development from a type of smart monkey to a creature that has gained control over nearly all other living beings on this planet.

Our most basic fear is the fear of death, which functions to make us alert in dangerous situations, and can thus be a very healthy emotion. But much less dramatic reasons of fear are found everywhere in our daily lives: 'Did I lock the house?', 'Isn't this food unhealthy?', 'Is my health insurance high enough?', 'Shouldn't my daughter be home yet?'. These worries can be based or quite baseless. Problematic types of fear can be when we are afraid of things that do not pose any real threat, like fear of spiders or large spaces. Fear and paranoia, together with attachment, craving and hatred are usually responsible for wars.
In all cases, we could say that fear is a reaction to something that may happen in the future, be it realistic or not, it is always uncomfortable. And here we find one of the contradictions of fear itself: it should work to keep us from discomfort, yet it is uncomfortable itself.
Any happiness there is in the world ultimately turns to pain. Why? Consider the two sides of a coin: just because what we desire is to be seen on the front does not mean that dislike won’t soon appear on the back. Likewise, hope and fear are a single coin, one entity with two faces—on the other side of a moment in which we hope for more happiness will be our fear of more suffering. Until attachment is eliminated, we can be certain of having both hope and fear. As long as there is hope and fear, the delusions of samsara will be perpetuated and there will be constant suffering. Thus attachment is the nature of both hope and fear: looking at the ultimate emptiness of the self-envisioned magical illusion of hope and fear, we should hang loosely in the flow. 

From The Great Secret of Mind: Special Instructions on the Nonduality of Dzogchen, by Tulku Pema Rigtsal


As fear is based on something that we think may happen in the future, it is clearly a mental process which tries to predict the future - in that sense, the reason of fear is a projection of our mind.
We can be afraid to fall, but once we are falling, we are afraid to hit the ground, once we hit the ground, we may fear we have a bad injury, once we know we have a bad injury, we may fear the pain and the consequences of not being able to work for some time or become disabled etc. So one could say that fear is always based on something that has not happened yet, and is therefore a fantasy of our mind rather than fact.

Source http://viewonbuddhism.org

Recent Stories