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A family at first glance can be simple to define, but if one truly delves into what constitutes a family, it gets muddier. Though we are supposedly born into a family, we can also acquire a family, or a group people closer to you than your blood relatives. This is what happened to me: I found a collective of people that are now more dear to me than my natural-born family.

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I have had a strong familial bond with my parents and extended family thus far, but that did not stop me from building a stronger connection with a different group of individuals. I believe I found my true family in the spiritual collective of Sahaja Yoga Meditation. Within my own family, people’s egos assert themselves and try to guide each other to go a certain way. All my relatives have beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, and judge my life on these precepts. However, within the collective of Sahaja Yoga Meditation, we believe each person is their own master, and interprets wisdom and knowledge based on his or her own experience.

Also, within my natural-born family, there is the drinking of alcohol, smoking, and other activities that I do not enjoy to engage in or watch. Sometimes I feel like an outsider when I am at family parties or gatherings. I do not drink alcohol, smoke, or chase after women, and some of my family members partake in these practices. While my family is in a strange state from the drugs, and I sit and witness their behaviour, I get confirmation once again that I do not want to be in that state. In Sahaja Yoga Meditation, there is not much talk about avoiding these activities; however, through the practice of meditation, we arrive at the conclusion that these acts are detrimental to our being. The practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation commonly do not drink alcohol, smoke, or try to be a serial dater. In this way, I connect better with people from this group than my own family.

I have been a spiritual person most of my life, even in my childhood. I have been rarely interested in money or monetary gain. For the majority of my life, my attention has been on creativity: writing, playing music, art, and more. The thought of money only comes when I have to deal with it in an official capacity. This outlook varies greatly from most of my family members’ perspectives, whose focus is on material gain and worldly reputation. They buy many books on how to get rich, how to gain prominence, how to be a leader, and such. When conversations draw into this arena, I feel left out, as I am not interested in such ideas. I believe, and most practitioners of Sahaja Yoga Meditation believe, that real gain is spiritual. This spiritual richness manifests in one’s character, being connected to the flow of life, and having a joyful life.

And I believe that this is the key: a family is where you feel joy with others. It is not based on blood and attachment, but connection. In that connection, we can experience a state of true joy. Without this joy being present, even if you claim that a family is a family for you, what will you garner from such a group of people?

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