Q&A: Chosen family, motherhood, living an ordinary life, free will & karma

Happy June full moon, readers! Today I answer some of the thought-provoking questions you submitted over the last month.

Greetings! I’m trans (ftm) and my family have basically disowned me ever since I came out. Struggling with feeling abandoned by my family. How do I move on from this kind of betrayal from the people who are supposed to love me no matter what?

I am so sorry you are going through this pain.

If your family disown you, then you certainly earn the right to choose your family. Your chosen family will be the people who show up for you every day. Not because of biology, obligation or societal expectations, but because they simply want to. In that way – you have the opportunity to create the truest version of “family.”

Hi Malavika. I love reading the things you share about motherhood, and it’s something I hope to experience for myself someday. But…how do you know if you are ready to bring a child into this world and become a parent?

First, you need to see if the desire to have a child is within you. It may or may not be there, and whatever your choice is – it should be free from interference from friends, family or societal expectations. The world is already overpopulated and we need conscious parenthood.

If you have decided that parenthood is something that you would like to experience, as I did, I wonder if you can ever be really ready?!

Looking back, even though I dreamed of motherhood since I was a little girl, I don’t think I could have ever been “ready” for what it was. Because it’s a completely new experience unlike anything I had gone through before. No matter how much research I did, or how much parenthood I witnessed around me, nothing could prepare me for what it is to live it every single day.

So there are only 2 things I would recommend you do to prepare yourself.

First – build your relationship with your partner to the happiest, most loving place it can be. Spend time together. Love each other harder and better. Be connected, devoted, and peaceful together.

Second – transform yourself into the happiest and most joyful version of yourself. Your children don’t need a perfect mother, but they do need a happy one. Your own evolution as a human being is a gift to everyone around you, including your children.

Everything else is figureoutable.

Do you think everything is sacred (objects, experiences, things existing)?

You can choose to see everything in life as sacred or you can choose to see everything in life as empty/worthless/unholy.

The problem arises when we pick and choose. When we say “This is sacred. This is not.” A divided mind is an unhappy mind. A divided mind is an unenlightened mind because enlightenment is inclusion. Making these kinds of distinctions between good and bad, divine and evil – is the breeding ground for some of the worst acts in history.

Interestingly – there is actually a yogic community in India who believe that everything in life is dead (basically, the opposite of sacred) and they achieve enlightenment through this path too.

So, it’s your choice which one your pick. Personally, I choose to see everything as sacred. But I have a divided mind, and I struggle to see some parts of my life as sacred. That’s just the work I have to do.

Would you know if the Inner Engineering program from ISHA can be done during pregnancy?

I believe so, but I recommend contacting an Isha Volunteer to confirm this. I do know that you can practice Shambhavi Maha Mudra Kriya while pregnant, with a few modifications. You can opt out of the preparatory asanas and the bandhas depending on your comfort. Personally, I found that holding the bandhas did not feel comfortable as my pregnancy progressed.

How to keep up with sadhana (Shambavi, SCK/Shoonya, Hata Yoga)? I know my practices keep me alive but very often I fall and not able to get back. It’s been a path of up and down and never a consistent routine. Even worse is the guilt of not being able to step up in my longing.

A wavering practice is the result of shallow desire. Deepen your desire for something, and the steadiness will come.

Ways to deepen your desire:

  • Why do you do this sadhana? What is your intention and your goal? Remind yourself of it. This post on how to take your meditation practice to the next level may be useful for you.
  • Make your life in such a way that you crave doing your sadhana. One way you can do this is by exposing yourself more to wisdom, knowledge and communities that uplift you and remind you of what is important to you..
  • You can create a certain atmosphere in your life that is conducive to your practices. Eating a certain type of food at the right times and in the right way (vegetarian, raw, high pranic foods, twice a day if you are over 30, and free from distraction). Waking up at a certain time, going to sleep at a certain time. Maintaining a good posture, spending time in nature, speaking less and observing more – all these simple things help you to align your state of being into one direction. Your sadhana will come naturally.

How is free will connected to karma ?

Your thoughts, emotions and actions create an impact in your life. That is karma. I like to think of karma as type of memory. Everything in our life up until this point is our karma. On a smaller scale, the things you did yesterday, the way you felt yesterday, the thoughts you had yesterday – all influence how you are today, don’t they? Everything you engage with in life (physically, mentally or emotionally) sticks to you. It becomes part of your programming, your software. And it just keeps playing itself out, repeating itself over and over again, in slightly different manifestations.

But this present moment, is free from karma. This present moment is a choice. It is free will.

Most of the time, we just keep running our karmic software, and act in a compulsive and predictable way.

It takes conscious choice to exercise our free will. But it is always available to us in this moment.

Why do terrible things happen to innocent people ?

Things happen to people due to a number of different reasons and influences. If we don’t like it, it’s bad, and if we like it, we say it’s good.

Here’s a parable I like that illustrates this point:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

http://truecenterpublishing.com/zenstory/maybe.html

Is “having an ordinary life” a problem ? Am I wasting my opportunities if I know I could do greater things [*greater defined by other people] ? How to live a fulfilling life, as defined by myself ?

We all have a reservoir of unlived energy within us that has the potential to manifest into something. That is our “potential.”

It is up to us to decide what we wish to pour that energy into, or if we pour it into anything at all.

To live a fulfilling life, we must take some time to figure out what matters most to us. This will be different for everyone, and that is the beauty of life. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just a question of what you want.

Once you have decided what it is you want, then you should live your life in such a way that everything aligns with it. That will be a fulfilling life.

You can live at your potential in a small cabin in the woods, tending to your animals, writing, singing, & cooking.

You could be a stay at home mother – who has dedicated her life to creating the environment for her child to flourish.

You could be a CEO, you could impact great global change.

You could be an inventor, a revolutionary, you could change the course of history.

You could sit in meditation a cave in the Himalayas for 25 years doing absolutely nothing but pouring yourself into your enlightenment.

All these different lives have the potential to be magnificent if they are chosen consciously.

Whatever your intention is in this life, whatever you choose to experience, you will have to conduct yourself and your life in a certain way to make it happen for you. That is the work of life, and if you do it, it is a life well lived.

It doesn’t matter what you do. What counts is that you wish to do it, that you choose consciously to do it, and you do it beautifully.

The real disservice is allowing others to choose for you. The real disservice, is choosing unconsciously. The real disservice is choosing not to pour yourself into anything at all.


Thank you so much for these thoughtful questions. I’d love to continue doing this Q&A format, and plan to do another one very soon.

Submit your anonymous questions below for the next Q&A.

Thank you for your question! See you in the next Q&A!

My next post is coming up next Friday. I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on conscious marriage – the laws of an awakened relationship.

Till then,

Malavika