Our families are our very first friends, the souls we choose to spend every day with, and the life that we create. Although we love our families endlessly, there is something about them that makes them able to inspire us with love and happiness, yet still drive us up the walls.

Although we are (for the most part) blessed with happy, beautiful families, when problems arise at home it affects us everywhere else. For example, family problems might cause you to miss work.
Troubles at home disrupt learning at school and has severe psychological effects on the minds of children. Marital problems could cause stress, anxiety and other illnesses that affect our health, jobs and (for the children) school.

For most of us, family is the foundation that everything else we have and do rests on. If it starts to buckle, our other joys might come crashing down. For this reason (among many others) it’s important that we nurture our families, and protect the joys of home as best we can. But how do we go about doing that in a world as busy, fast and disconnected as the one we live in now?

A question you have to ask yourself is: how are you bonding with your family? What, in your household, is considered family time? Play-time with the kids, movie night, barbecues and Sunday lunch are great ways to spend time with each other, but are you really bonding spiritually?

Whether or not you have personal experience with meditation, if you can’t think of a time or event (that occurs often) in which you and your family connect at the souls, perhaps it’s time to consider meditating with them.

Home Improvements

You don’t have to strive for a perfect family, but everyone wants a happy one. Meditation is the best, easiest way to rejuvenate the soul and in doing so achieve (and maintain) joy. So how come family meditation is not something we hear of everywhere we turn?

Over the years, meditation has been advertised as something personal- as a mean’s to find oneself by travelling down a path no one can join them on but this is simply not true. Yes, there are many forms of meditation (such as Concentration Meditation) in which solitude is recommended, but meditation itself does not have to be a secluded, or isolated, endeavour.

Furthermore, many families meditate as a unit without realising it, such as when daily grace is said before dinner, or when the family comes together for quiet time.

We feed off each other’s energies all day, every day, and the trick to family meditation is to align your energies so that they flow harmoniously.

There are many, many wonderful benefits of meditation, including:

Health Improvements- studies have consistently shown that meditation offers an array of health benefits including, lowered blood pressure and improved heart health, and circulation, healthier and stronger lungs, stress relief and therefore reduced anxiety, depression and a stronger nervous system, healthier sleep and increased vitality.

Emotional Awareness- Meditation, particularly Mindfulness meditation, helps us realise that we are part of something bigger and that our words and actions carry consequences with them. It allows us to understand ourselves and those around us, and in this teaches us to think before we react or respond. We soon realise that most of the negativity in our lives is self-inflicted, and can then actively learn to replace it with calmer, much more positive behaviours.

Kindness and Compassion- Since meditation makes us more emotionally intelligent, it makes us kinder, more empathetic and more compassionate too. Mindfulness trains us to experience everything wholeheartedly, increasing our awareness of our own emotions. This teaches us that anger, and acting cruelty or causing harm (no matter how insignificant we think our actions are) is unnecessary. We learn to walk in the shoes of others and embody the phrase “”do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Improved Communication- Of course, if you are aware of your own place and behaviour and are considerate of others, communication becomes so much easier. Think about how many times your family argued or fought because of simple misunderstandings, or even how some problems might have been blown out of proportion and left unresolved because of a lack of good communication. In any and all relationships communication is vital. With proper communication in place, your family’s dynamic will change for the better.

Stronger Relationships- Naturally, when you combine these wonderful benefits, you are left with bonds that are reinforced and stronger than they were before. Think of it as: Meditation will not change your personality, but it will change your behaviour for the better. Our families are the ones who see the best and worst of us- in fact, they are the only ones who see the “real” ones, and sometimes knowing someone that well can be exhausting. Meditation will make it so that we become better people, and have a better influence on others. If you meditate as a family, you will grow into better people together, and that will strengthen your home.

Try It Out

You don’t have to spend money on meditating with your family. Here are three easy meditations you can try together:

Sit in a circle, and make yourselves comfortable.
Straighten your posture (this is a good time to teach your kids good posture habits!)
Close your eyes and take a moment to be mindful of your body. How do you physically feel? Pay attention to your breaths. How does your skin feel?
Focus on your breathing. Keep your breaths strong and steady. Time them if need be. A nice way to bond is to have the family synchronise your breaths with each other.
Once you have found a rhythm, try to clear your thoughts. You could also focus on a specific thought; for example, have everyone meditate on the same happy memory.
Keep this going for as long as everyone is comfortable. When you ready to stop, clear your mind, and pay attention to your breaths again for a minute or two before opening your eyes.

Chant a Family Mantra
Mantras are a very powerful form of meditation that everyone can enjoy. The adults will appreciate the spiritual meaning of having a mantra and the children will love chanting it. (If you tell your kids it’s a secret mantra, they will love it even more!) That said, mantra meditation has some benefits of its own including increased focus, concentration, discipline and boosts in confidence. They are also very relaxing. Your family’s Mantra can be anything you like. Why not take a vote on what it should be? Once you have picked a mantra, you can chant it whenever it suits you and yours.

Be Mindful
This is perhaps the simplest of all the meditations, because you can incorporate it into your other family activities. At dinner, teach your family to be mindful of the meal you are sharing. When you go for walks, be mindful of your surroundings (walks in nature are the best in this regard). Every family outing, activity, meeting or vacation can become a spiritual experience with mindfulness. It will also make your memories of said family time clearer and brighter!

Tips to Get Started

Convincing your family to meditate with you, might not be the easiest thing in the world. The trick is to make everyone feel included. Give everyone a task to do before the meditation; allow one person to pick the music, another to pick the location. Take turns leading the meditation (if it is guided) and let everyone have a say in the mantra. Discuss the meditations afterwards. Don’t force it upon those who are uncomfortable or sick. Make a routine out of it- and stick to it.
The point is to strengthen your family’s bonds. Don’t make anyone feel excluded, or guilty for missing out. If someone in your family is really not interested; give them time. Once they see how fun (and positive) it can be, they will join in!

Author's Bio: 

Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley Academy works with the best authors and the most innovative technology to provide learning experiences on personal growth, health and fitness, spirituality, productivity, mindfulness and more.

We serve over three million students, subscribers and followers worldwide, empowering our audience to lead healthier, happier lives and fulfil their greatest potential.We are ambitiously determined to change education globally and provide innovative, holistic education at all levels of life - from infancy to high school to late adulthood.

Our ultimate goal? To launch a school of growth and humanity for a billion people, unleashing the extraordinary in everyone, with the adamant belief that we can and will impact the world.