Derek, I have discovered the Tao and I feel it is the right path for me. However, my family members do not support my beliefs. In fact, they are totally against anything having to do with the Tao. They tell me my meditation will lead to the occult and away from God. This upsets me, because they have no idea what it means to me. My dilemma is that I don’t want to give up the Tao because I have never been more certain about anything in my life, but at the same time I also don’t want to lose my family. What should I do?
First, as Tao cultivators, we need to observe the situation from a detached mindset in order to deal with it as it is, not as we wish it to be. Therefore, your first task is to calm yourself. As your mind settles down into a natural state of detachment, the clouding effect of emotions will dissipate, and your observation will become clear.
This clarity will let you recognize two primary drives in your family members:
1) Love. They are acting out of love for you. They may not understand you completely – and this misunderstanding causes friction – but they feel so strongly about the situation only because they love you. If I were you, I would immediately let them know that you understand how they feel, and that you love them as well.
The last thing you should do is to turn away from your family. Be especially wary of anyone who says you should – isolation of an individual from his family is one of the common characteristics of cults.
2) Fear. Your family members are afraid that you will come to harm or be deceived in some way. They may be worried about your immortal soul, or they may be gripped by xenophobia – the fear of the unknown, or the unfamiliar. If you do not address this fear, it can easily turn into anger and hatred – anger against you and hatred against whatever has “seduced” you. If at all possible, give them some comfort level that you know what you are doing.
Second, I would tell them the truth. Tell them that you know deep in your heart that you are basically a good person, and this is something that will never change. Let them know that the God they believe in, as the Supreme Being, is infinitely greater than us in every conceivable way. Therefore, His love must also be far more encompassing and tolerant than the narrow interpretation of human beings. There is nothing in the Tao that goes against this.
Open up the channel of communication with your loved ones as soon as possible. Good luck!