Nan Lu, OMD discusses the importance of familial relationships and their role in individual health.

by Nan Lu, OMD

What is it about families? We often hear people say, “It’s my family. I have to love them.”

We’re connected to our families in ways that shape our lives and define who we are. Are the connections merely genetic? Are we only tethered together by bloodlines? Or, is there something about families that goes beyond the physical, beyond the mind? Are there deeper purposes and reasons for the most powerful connections we have? What lessons can our closest relationships teach us?

Taoist concepts and quantum physics both help us understand that everything’s connected. It’s all about relationships—from the highest to the lowest order of things. Like it or not, believe it or not, everything (and everyone) is connected in ways we can perceive and ways we are only beginning to discover. Everything is a part of the whole: cells and atoms make up our organs; organs make up our body; individually, we make up our families; our families create community; communities create nations; and nations create the global family—humanity itself. Our global family has only one home, a small blue planet whirling through one galaxy… among billions. Are these physical patterns without purpose? Are the underlying patterns of consciousness random too? Those with open hearts are embracing cooperation as the true path to freedom.

Everyone is born into a family; yet everyone leaves this world alone.  Science has tried to determine exactly what percentage of our behavior is due to genetics and what percentage is due to environment. We need also to ask what percentage is due to consciousness and the soul’s purpose.  If we ourselves are not in balance, it is virtually impossible for the family to be in harmony. The part does indeed affect the health of the whole. This dynamic causes us to explore the dimensions of two opposite yet complementary concepts much like Yin/Yang. Balanced individuals are necessary to create a healthy, harmonious family; a healthy harmonious family is the ground from which balanced individuals can spring. This is an ideal reflection of Yin/Yang: Yin is the essence, the material that nurtures and sustains the Yang. Yang would perish without it. Yang is the complementary movement or power without which Yin is irrelevant.

What is our life’s true purpose as individuals… as family members?  Is it just for physical or financial support? Does the family only serve as an arena to express emotions?  Is there a deeper purpose that extends beyond the visible? Even if you consider yourself whole and healthy, if family members are not, then the family itself remains imbalanced. In my practice, patients frequently speak about family concerns—how their parents treated them when they were small, how they treat aging parents, their lives with spouses, children, and extended family members. Often these discussions center on the family as the source of problematic events and turbulent aspects of their lives. These events and their underlying energy are blamed for physical symptoms. It seems logical—to the mind.

Going beyond the mind lets us regard these same circumstances differently. If the relationships are not random, what purpose do they serve? How would you view and relate to the exact same situations, if you knew that in another dimension of reality, you and your parents and your family agreed to experience this life together—so your soul or spirit could learn something?  This awareness might allow you to see your familial relationships—indeed, all relationships—as mirrors of your consciousness, reflecting vital information back to you. If you accepted this concept, and its consequences and ramifications, you would see something amazing—loving gifts provided by others of what your spirit needs to know to grow.

Embracing this transformative consciousness, we can more easily connect with the Universal—the source of all healing and health. Ancient healers knew this, and their insight formed the basis of traditional Chinese medicine. The “small” approach clings stubbornly to the mind for safety, refusing to change focus—preferring the limiting view of third-dimension roles of mother, father, husband, wife or child. The “large” approach takes a leap of faith—it connects us with Nature, the Universal, and the recognition of the purposeful, joyful consciousness that pulses through all relationships. It opens us to the possibility of true freedom and wellness, the birthright of each individual and every family.


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© Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission 2007.