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Family Wholeness and the "Family-Being"

(from an work in progress by David McNamara, Ph.D.)

Copyright 2004 by David McNamara. All rights reserved.

What does it mean to talk about “wholeness” or unity in a family? There are all sorts of ways to describe or think about it, but probably most important, we can feel it in those times when we feel connected in love and understanding and belonging.

Usually, we don’t tend to talk about this sense of family unity. For one thing, given the state of the world and stresses on families, we may not feel it very much! But, also, it is difficult to put language to, even if we can feel it.

Any group of people, when they are “aligned”, or have the same sense of purpose or deeply-shared life, can experience that sense of unity. Science calls it a “field” of energy. Jesus said that “when two or more are gathered in my name, there will I be as well.” Families, by the very nature of their time spent together, their love and communication, their knowing of each other, can co-create a very strong shared unity. I use the word “co-create” because such a field of unity is created from the contributions of each family member, and yet creates something more than just those individual energies. I believe that is what Jesus was suggesting: that there is a spiritual quality, some bonding energy that holds the group or family together, where the “whole is greater than the contributions of its parts” as psychologists would put it.

I have been working with and thinking about this sense of family unity for years, and I continue to struggle to find a word for it. But, for lack of a better word, I think of it as the “family-being”: the living being created of shared consciousness which the family co-creates together.

Why It Matters

My experience from the time in our own family is that being conscious of the "family-being" can be very useful in a number of ways. First of all, it is a powerful concept, which when you begin to think about it and incorporate it into the way you think about your family, it takes the idea of unity and wholeness and makes it very personal and real. (It IS, in fact, real, in terms of energy and consciousness. It is not just a metaphor.) And, so it can help you keep that sense of unity of the family in mind more often. And, obviously, the more you keep it in mind, the stronger the idea grows in your mind, and, in turn, the stronger the "family-being" becomes, as it is at least partially a creation of your consciousness.

So, just by holding the concept of the "family-being" in mind, the family is strengthened: the energy field created by the family grows more powerful, and, therefore, so does the energy of unity which holds the family together. Of course, the energy field or “being” of families who are full of conflict or don’t spend much time together is obviously much less strong and clear than a family which seeks to build love and understanding together.

Another important aspect of the "family-being" is that you—and your partner/spouse, if you happen to have one—can shape this energy field in the way that you want it to grow. If mental clarity and intellect are important to you, you can infuse the field with that attitude. Likewise if love or sensuality/touch or spiritual devotion are important to you, you can invoke those into the energy field. (If you DO have a partner/spouse, and the two of you together agree on how you want to shape this energy field, it grows all the stronger, of course!)

And, what makes all this important is that it is that field of consciousness that I’m calling the "family-being" is the energy field that your children grow up within and which helps to shape their consciousnesses; to make them who they are! So, to put it most directly: “what are the qualities of consciousness that you want for your children?” You can consciously shape that through working with the "family-being" and shaping it through your own thought, imagination, and intention!

Of course, your children’s own character and quality and interests and nature make their own contribution to the "family-being". It is the energy field of the whole family. But, children’s contributions tend to be of a much, much lesser extent than the parents’. Obviously, the conscious power of parents’ intention tends to be much more focused than that of the kids.

If parents bring focused intensity of will and clarity of vision to the "family-being", the children bring their own contribution that is equally important: children are so closely connected to Spirit, especially in their early years, that they bring this extraordinary quality of energy to the "family-being" in a way that makes a family as special as it is. If infants and young children are surrounded with angels, as many wise people have told us, than those angels bring their quality into that wholeness that is the "family-being". Obviously as the kids get older, this energetic quality changes, and different aspects of the child are contributed. As innocence shifts to experience, and total openness to spirit shifts to their own perceptions of the world, so too does the quality of the family and the "family-being". But, certainly, the contributions of the children are of major importance and need to be understood and valued accordingly.

Another important aspect of thinking in terms of your "family-being" is that you can draw strength from it. If your family creates this energy field of consciousness, then that energy field is there to be drawn from. Just like a bunch of smaller and larger streams flow together to create a river and that river has much more power than the streams on their own, you can “step out of your own smaller stream” and open yourself to the far greater power of the river. Following this image, the more conscious intent you and your family put into your individual “streams”—your awareness of the "family-being", the stronger and larger the river grows, gathering and unifying all of the individual streams of consciousness.

So, the "family-being" is there to be drawn on, the energy from the river, when you are feeling tired, low-energy, confused, or whatever negative state. And, the more consciously you work with the "family-being", the more you remember its presence—say “hello!” every so often—the easier it is to draw upon its power.

Really?

If it all sounds very abstract and even unreal, it is because we are not used to thinking in terms of fields of consciousness and how groups and families create these energy fields. In fact, though I have been emphasizing the positive quality of the "family-being", a family where the negative or painful or hurtful emotions are stronger creates its own being: one of pain and hurt and hurting. In this sense, we have a choice how we want to create our family and the “being” we create together. Through the quality of our intention—what we intend and want to occur—the "family-being" is shaped and its qualities formed. Again, thinking of the “being” that we create as a family can help us to remember to be conscious and careful with the feelings we show and the thoughts we hold and the images we allow to play in our minds. We are powerful creators! And, our families are a primary field for our creation!

How?

How do we make the spiritual entity of our family, the "family-being", a living reality in our lives? First, it is important to remember that it is there, whether you hold it in consciousness—whether you remember it!—or not. Co-creating this energy field is a reality, a reflection of your total family contributions of mind and feeling. Whether we are conscious of it is similar to whether we are conscious of ourselves, whether we are attentive to who we are and how we think, feel, and act.

Just as in spiritual practice, we become more self-reflective and self-aware, so we become more “family-aware” through similar practices:

• Simply remembering and thinking about the "family-being" is the most obvious and, yet, powerful way of “feeding” its consciousness and its unifying power in our family’s life.

• Or, we can focus our attention more directly and consciously: we can meditate “with” the "family-being", bring that awareness into our meditation, and align our individual consciousness with its larger, embracing consciousness.

• We can meditate alone or with a partner, or even with older children. The more people who hold the similar intent in meditation, the more powerful the meditative work becomes. But, it is certainly appropriate to do it on one’s own.

• We can open ourselves to its guidance and wisdom, in meditation or simply intuitive awareness. Ask for its help and guidance in how to handle a family problem, for example.

• A most powerful aspect of working with the "family-being" is if we are caught in some family conflict. In conflict within a partnership or with an adolescent child or between siblings we can ask for its love and blessing to come in healing for the conflict. Again, the energy field is alive and potent if we “feed it” with focused attention and intention. Likewise, we can draw upon its loving and unifying energy for the good of the family.

• When the family is not together, “holding” the missing person in the light and consciousness of the "family-being" can be very significant and powerful. When a young child goes off to school or crèche or playgroup, when a parent travels, when older children go off to university, they can be “held”—imaginally—within the embracing “aura” of the "family-being". This is actually quite a powerful working with energy and consciousness; many families have spoken to us about how this has been quite significant and potent in their family’s life. University-age children have agreed that they have felt still very connected to their family when their parents have been meditating in this way.

Conclusion

We co-create a "family-being" whether we are aware of it or not. In becoming more conscious within our families, we can become more conscious of this "family-being" we have co-created, and choose how we want to create the family. What are the qualities we wish to have within our family? Do we value the power of unity which the "family-being" can bring to us? If that sense of unity is important, it is ours to have by consciously invoking it into the family. Perhaps the simplest way to put it is that INTENTION and ATTENTION are powerful human qualities which shape consciousness. We have the power to shape our family the way we—all those within the family—want it to become!

© Copyright 2004 by David McNamara. All rights reserved.
 
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