It’s a very important idea, and all family men should grasp its importance. Much depends on efforts one applies for elevation of consciousness. And it doesn’t matter what conditions one lives in. Within each person, there’s a constant struggle between material and spiritual desires going on. Material desires make us degenerate, while spiritual desires lead us to love, light, and purity. We must take care to ensure that material desires are at least a little bit overpowered by spiritual ones. We can’t reject foolish desires all at once, but to make sure that they don’t outweigh spiritual ones is well within our reach. This is how we make slow but steady progress. One day our heart and consciousness will get fully absorbed in spirituality. As long as spiritual desires prevail, our heart undergoes natural purification process. But as soon as material desires grow, contamination takes place, bringing about pain, despair and aching void. It reminds of using salt. We can’t do without salt, but we should learn not to oversalt our meals.
Pride is the symptom of contaminated consciousness. One thinks: I’m such a great transcendentalist, I do yoga, I study the most complicated philosophy, I can out-argue anyone. But as we settle down to married life, it appears that our family doesn’t acknowledge our merits, can’t understand our philosophy and reasoning. A loved one doesn’t surrender to the halo of our glory. He/she doesn’t even notice it. Thus, on one hand, it seems like our loved ones are the only people who don’t attach importance to our progress. But on the other hand, they are the only ones who help us keep the balance between material and spiritual. They provide feedback at once when the balance is broken and we become proud. A guest won’t tell you that the food is oversalted. However, the loved one would not only drop a remark but give you a piece of his/her mind. Those who understand it are going to be happy in any family relations. Such people set a value upon the family and never shout at family members trying to prove something. By comparison, the one who cuts loose from the family becomes deprived of natural protection against degradation. And this is very dangerous.
Truthfulness is the last remaining buffer protection against degradation. Family relationship can indeed provide it. If we want to make quick spiritual progress, the truthfulness of our relatives will be a gift from God. And vice versa, if I’m not interested in spiritual growth, this truthfulness will irritate and infuriate me. This is also quite beneficial, as it gives the impetus to start searching for spiritual solution to this problem. What makes one embark on the path of love to God; start doing yoga? Foundered hopes for domestic bliss sometimes push to make alternative arrangements. Hence, family is a boon in any case. As the saying goes, “If you get a good wife, you’ll live like in paradise. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”.
Thus, family gives you a nice opportunity to sort yourself out. It’s not a battlefield – it’s a place for self-realization. If family members are fighting, it means one thing: no one refines oneself in that family. It is easy seen. If people improve their inner world, there’s no chance of war.
There is a parable of a pigeon that moved from place to place. All nests seemed to give off an unbearable foul smell that repelled him. Finally, he bitterly complained to the wise, old, experienced pigeon about that.
An old pigeon nodded his head thoughtfully and said:
“Changing nests won’t make a difference. It is not the nests that have bad odor. In fact, bad odor comes from you.”