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Can I Reach Enlightenment If I Have Family?

Q: Dear Todd, if we have family, friends, and relationships can we also reach Enlightenment/Self-Realization? Can we have both?

TODD ANSWERS: There is no doubt that it is easier to meditate all day when we live in a monastery. But, while meditation is essential for understanding the mind and the nature of consciousness, that’s not all there is to reaching our ultimate potential. We humans forget that we are spiritual beings, but we also like to forget that we are animals. We have innate social drivers and a desire to procreate. We don’t just crave food and water, we crave companionship and community too.

So for me, these close, loving, messy relationships are spiritual practices. They expand my patience even further than meditation alone. They are where I put my love and compassion into practice. Obstacles make us stronger. Challenges make us grow. So for me, my life may be more peaceful in a monastery, but it is more meaningful and exciting working and having relationships. It’s a personal choice at the end of the day, but I think we thrive wherever we follow our heart.

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