Why do we marry? Why do we have children? What are we seeking in marriage? In children?

  The answer to all these questions is: We want the greatest happiness. We believe that in marrying and in having children we will be happy. Were that true, all married people would be happy. A mere look at our institution of marriage belies this.

  Wherein lies the fault? Is it in marriage? No, the fault lies within us. We wrongly look in the wrong direction. We externally seek happiness outside of ourselves, -in others. We shall never find a continuous happiness with no sorrow so long as we look to others or to things outside of ourselves. A happy person is one who takes his happiness from within and he is happy, whether married or single.

  Should we marry or should we not marry? That is a moot question. You will do exactly what you will do. You have predetermined precisely what you will do on this point. Therefore the important question should be: How can I attain the ultimate happiness?

  Marriage affords an excellent opportunity for growth and should be so used. One is constantly confronted with situations where one may increase one's love for one's family. Every day we should make it a practice of increasing our love, using all the situations we find ourselves in wherein we are not loving, to the best of our ability, by consciously increasing our love for the other one until it is completely selfless. When we reach the state of selfless love, we have reached the Godhead.
  Q: What a difficult thing it is to be married, Lester:?

  Lester: Some people find it very easy. The difficulty is in us and not in marriage.
  Q: It has a positive aspect, hasn't it? Isn't there a release from selfishness?

  Lester: Yes. Marriage should teach us selflessness.
  Q: So in that way there is a positive step if it's handled correctly. It teaches love of one person, therefore you can enlarge it in the family and then to a larger unit. Isn't that true?

  Lester: Yes. It's a positive step wherein you're involved in a situation in which you can learn non-possessiveness. It's a very positive step in that direction. The thing we're looking for in a mate is the thing called love. Love is this Beingness that we are. Love is God. Looking for it in a mate, we never find it. However, if one is married, one should very definitely love his or her mate as much as possible. When we learn how to love a mate properly, we can love others properly.

  When we realize what love is and what we are really seeking, we stop seeking it externally in a mate or in the world, and we seek it within. The very best marriage is to marry God. Could you get a better mate?
  Q: Should we be married?

  Lester: I don't talk against marriage; I don't talk for it. I want you to have what you want for yourself. A married person can find God, but has more obstacles than a single person. A single person can more easily concentrate on the path. A married person is forced to be concerned about his mate and children, if there be children. Now, most people who say. "I'll get married and continue on the path," almost invariably get so involved in their marriage they don't have time nor inclination for the path. So, in that sense it's an obstacle.
  Q: Unless you married someone who was searching for it also, wouldnt it be a very difficult thing?

  Lester: Yes. The very best situation in marriage would be to help the other one get realization. Marry only to help the other one fully know God. That should be the basis for marriage. And the other one should do the same for you. It should be mutual.
  Q: It should really be a spiritual state, not a possessive state?

  Lester: Love is a freeing of the other one, not a possessing. That would be spiritual.
  Q: How best could you guide children into the path?

  Lester: The best thing you can do is to set an example. Thats the very best way to teach children, -by example. They want to be like their parents. So it always comes back to: If you want to help your children you must help yourself. Then you'll find out you don't have to consciously do anything. Just help yourself and you'll see them grow with you.
  Q: We have two children and they're really different. They desired to be our children and we desired them, right?

  Lester: Yes. We often choose parents who have characteristics similar to ours so that we can have a constant lesson in front of our eyes. This is why we find parents so difficult sometimes. If there's anything that I see in you that annoys me, it's because I have it in me. If I didn't have it in me, I couldn't even see it in you.

  Because we choose parents who have characteristics similar to ours is one reason why people believe in heredity. (We only inherit our physical appearances.) Every child is different from every other child. You parents know this, that each one is a completely different individual. And if the present environment and heredity had any appreciable effect they would be very similar.
  Q: A thought struck me that a child is born an absolute stranger to the parents. They don t know anything at all about that child. They are a stranger and it is up to you to make them love you. It is the amount of love that you pour out that induces the amount that they can pour out, isn't it?

  Lester: Yes, assuming that our memories are cut off and we begin at the beginning of this lifetime. But I have to say "No." if you take the history before this lifetime. We keep regrouping together. Attachments and aversions to each other keep us coming together lifetime after lifetime. An attachment between two individuals will bring them together again. Or, an aversion will do the same thing because an aversion is a holding on by holding off. Attachment is holding them to you; an aversion is holding them away from you. But you're holding them.
  Q: Lester:, as a parent, am I loving the flesh or loving the spirit of the children?

  Lester: You're basically loving your own ego.
  Q: Because they're part of me.

  Lester: Yes. You did it. You created them. You did that tremendous thing. And you want them to be a good example of you. See? Now, if we love our children we free them; we allow them to grow, to bloom and come out like a flower does. We don't try to fence them in. We free them and guide them and love them, unattached to them, knowing that they are God's beings. They are just as much God as I am, is the way you should feel. Also, they are going to go through life just the way they have set it out anyway. But you should strive to free them, to feel non - attached. This is a higher love than a love with attachment.
  Q: Course, as you say, you do have to lead them.

  Lester: Guide them. And they'll ask you for the guidance if you just free them. But they resent being dominated and dictated to the same way you do, the same way you did when you were a child. They don't like to be ordered around. But they want to learn. They have a natural curiosity; they'll ask you. And if you can start from the beginning by freeing them from the first day, bringing up a child is one of the easiest things to do. They'll follow you. But when you start telling them from the first day what to do and what not to do, they behave like an adult does when he is told what to do and what not to do. He resents it. He opposes it. Then, oppositional patterns are set up and by the time they're able to walk around, they've got this oppositional pattern well developed. That's what makes bringing up children so difficult.

  Because of all our attachment we're trying to steer them, and they resist. We were trained that way; we train our children that way and they will train their children that way and it goes on and on.

  Training could be accomplished without opposition if it starts right. Show them the possibilities, the alternatives, and let them, make the decisions. Then they're working with you from the beginning and they don't develop oppositional habits.
  Families are regroupings of people who have been together before. Strong loves and strong hates bring us together again and again.

  Our attitude toward relatives should be the same as that toward all beings.

  The first place to practice love is at home with the family. We should try to love our family more and more by granting them their right to be the way they are, more and more.

  It's a great thing for spiritual growth to resolve relationships with parents (even if they have passed on). Parents present excellent opportunities for growth if and when we try to resolve our differences until there is only a feeling of love with no attachment.

  Family is excellent for bringing up to us all our reactive automatic behavior because there is where we developed most of it.

  Giving unselfish love to a child will develop unselfish love in that child this lifetime and will condition the child for a most happy life.

  The main thing that a child wants from us is love, and we cannot fool a child. Children know our feelings and that is what they read. We fool ourselves with words but we don't fool them.

  When children are contrary it is because they are seeking to get attention from their parents. In early years this meant survival: If I am approved of by my parents they will take care of me, and I, the helpless child, will not die. A child tries to be good to get approval and, if impossible, becomes bad and in that way gets attention. This attention subconsciously implies approval. It becomes an aberrated pattern of behavior.

  If you can get to see your parents the way they really are and then love them the way they are you would be accomplishing tremendous growth.

  You behave most automatically with parents. You'll find your parental behavior patterns applied to the world. You carryon the automatic behavior patterns set up before the age of six for the rest of your life (unless, of course, you change them).

  Normalize your behavior with your parents and family. You've got to see your parents the way they are and accept them that way. Nothing should be blamed on your parents. No matter what they do you should accept responsibility for what you are.

  Total non-reaction to parents is close to realization.

  It doesnt matter how we act as long as the feeling within is love. The attitude is more important than the act. Use this with family.

  If we were capable of selflessly loving, instead of conflict with children, there would be complete harmony. But it is only because we have lost sight of what selfless love is that we are in this difficulty of opposition between parent and child.

  Parents want to do wrong and yet want their children to do right. This makes the parent look dishonest in the eyes of the children and disconcerts them, causing rebellious feelings.

  A child will learn no better than the parent's example.

  Our responsibility toward children, because they cannot take care of themselves, is to feed, clothe and guide them until they are old enough to take care of themselves. But after a person is an adult, we should let go and let God take care of them, even though they seemingly can't take care of themselves. They need to learn that they, too, are taken care of if they take responsibility for themselves, or better, if they surrender to God.

  The only real difference between children and adults is size and experience.

  When parents say "don't" they are instilling inhibitions. When parents say "do" they are instilling compulsions. Both cause feelings of inability in the child.

  Children we see as an extension of our ego. We should see them as individuals and extend to them the rights we do to individuals.

  You want to help your child, - help yourself.

  Every child is a whole, complete, infinite individual.

  Seeing Truth doesnt belong to married people or single people. It belongs to those who seek and discover Truth.

  Married people can get Realization, if they are determined to get it.

  The only happy couples are those with an understanding of Truth. They know that their joy is within and not in the other one.

  What people are really looking for is love of God. Not knowing this they look for it in a mate.

  Once you get the taste of God, it is easy not to marry. You feel no need for a mate. Being married to God you reach satiety.

  It's an obstacle to have a mate. It's an added obstacle to have a child. It doesn't have to be; it can be an aid to growth if we so use it.

  There is no one married whose unhappiness does not come from looking to the other one for happiness.

  The only ideal marriage is when each marries to help the other one grow spiritually.

  The top attainment is to have nothing but love for each parent, each sister, each brother, each child. Resolve this and you will resolve your relationship with the world.