A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

You are blessed to have a family, why time with them is the greatest gift

We might achieve fame, fortune and the admiration of millions, live the jet setting lifestyle and still be lonely. Every living being in the universe has the same desire, to be free from pain, suffering, and to not have any permanent problems. Most of us look to external sources to provide this. Some throw themselves into work looking for recognition, monetary rewards, and success. Read almost any biography of someone who became at least a millionaire. Most when they are reflecting back mention the missed events with their families as their greatest regret. Look at the divorce rate today, and one of the most common reasons is they grew apart. I would ask where they ever really together? When a couple first dates, they are hoping this is the one, if they take time to get to know who the other person really is, before making a commitment they have a good chance of having it last. If however they follow the common 3 dates then it time for sex, they soon are basing their relationship on the regular physical pleasures. They make a commitment move in together and both keep their usual routine. He has his friends, she has her friends, and they may have a few couples they are friends with as well. She has yoga 3 nights a week after work, while he has his Friday get together with the guys. Some nights she has work to finish others it’s him who brought work home. A few months into the relationship, the honeymoon phase is over, and those little annoyances start to irritate. He doesn’t put the toilet seat down; she gets mascara on the bathroom countertop. He wants the bedroom window open to sleep, she wants it closed, and the differences just keep growing. Soon one or both is saying why  am I in this relationship, wouldn’t I be less aggravated if I was single again? They never took the time to work out how their relationship would function. They never learned how to communicate with each other, which is the number one item most marriage counsellors try to teach. Marriage hasn’t changed in over 2600 years. The problems we have today have always been there. Buddhism divides the responsibilities up, and gives a basic guideline about sharing responsibilities. There are guidelines on how to treat your spouse, a basis for resolving disputes. It’s like having the counsellor with you from the start and available 24/7. It’s about practicing compassion for your family, not grasping for power within your relationship. A lot of television shows have a disclaimer “don’t try this at home” I am going to say the opposite, try this at home. Practice compassion at home with your spouse and or children. Put spending quality time with them as #1 on your list. Your child’s next game, recital, or other event that parents can attend, go cheer them on, and afterwards tell them how proud you were of them. If you haven’t pitched in with the housework, grab a dish cloth or broom and just do it. See if things don’t start to improve. Now imagine if everyone in the household lived like this, and when someone slipped a little once in a while there was no nagging just compassion.

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