Some Common Challenges Internal
- Thinking family duties are a hindrance rather than part of the process * Thinking that family life means that spiritual life will automatically decrease * Thinking that a family’s spiritual program has to be identical to that at a temple (usually too long and complex to do at home); the “all or nothing” mentality * Lack of enthusiasm esp. regarding sadhana; feelings of hopelessness
- If I believe something is important, then I’ll find a way to do it. Krishna will help. * It’s not necessary to structure my family’s spiritual program exactly like that of a temple; we can be creative * Creativity and flexibility in general (home-based business, part-time work, ways of including the children in taking responsibility for part of worship, and so forth) can solve many seemingly insolvable problems of integration * Family life and spiritual life are not in opposition but support one another. Challenges, if met responsibly, help our spiritual growth.
Some Common Challenges External
- Work and/or school schedules which make regular spiritual practices at the same time each day difficult
- Not having good devotional means of recreation and therefore going for mundane sources of entertainment.
Practical ways to integrate spiritual practices by having programs in the home:
- Have a scheduled time (which includes regulated sleeping)
- Set up a special place, such as an altar and temple room
- Encourage full family participation (not leaving the children sleeping; both husband and wife participating)
- Ask, should there be rewards/consequences for participation by the children?
- Consider including other families
- Eliminate disturbances (such as TV or activities that tend to keep people up late) *
- If a family generally has a home program, consider a weekly scheduled temple
Practical ways to integrate spiritual practices by attending temple programmes:
- Attend temples that have a program adapted to the needs of working families and school-attending children.
- Are there temples that have a room for mothers with small children?
- Establish a place in temples for toys, colouring, etc. for small children.
- Is there a welcoming attitude on the part of temple leaders?
- Co-operate with other families, who want to establish family-friendly facilities.
- If such facilities don’t exist, try to constructively address such needs.
This is an excerpt from the GVT course, Strengthening the Bonds that Free Us