True Family

True family is a phrase often used fraudulently and not applied in its fullest sense. However, in the core of what true family stands for, lies the key to returning society to its joyous and harmonious state.

My first sense of true family was sitting down to eat dinner with Serge Benhayon, his wife Miranda, his three out of four children present at the time – Curtis, Michael and Natalie – and his ex-wife Deborah. YES – Ex-wife.

Myself (Michael Brown) and Miranda Benhayon, Vietnam 2010
Myself (Michael Brown) and Miranda Benhayon, Vietnam 2010

For me, at the tender age of 12, to watch a family sit at a meal table with what society would deem the most unorthodox of melanges, plus observing every Benhayon family member to be as loving with each other as the next, with no tension, no discrimination and certainly with no sliver of comparison or jealousy anywhere in sight, was absolutely ground breaking.

Not only was the love shared within what we’d call their immediate family circle, for as I sat at that table I was wholeheartedly welcomed into the family meal along with the subsequent ones, never even remotely prejudiced by the fact I had only met Serge a few times in the two years I had known him and the rest of his family even less – some members not at all – OR by the fact Serge’s children and I had grown up on opposite ends of the planet OR the fact that at the time I myself did not see them as my family. On their behalf, there was NO holding back in LOVE. I was truly welcomed and embraced as an equal member of the family.

Fast-forward six years to my first parent-free trip out of Europe heading to Australia. I settled into Sydney’s North Shore in my new household with a family I had never met prior to my trip except for one brief conversation over Skype – The Walls Family – a family that made one generally awesome trip a LIFE ALTERING journey.

During my time staying with the Walls’ I was never treated as a guest, an ‘outsider’, a person who might come and go, be that in times when something was celebrated, or when Katie would bring home slices of banana bread for the family and never forget to include me, or when it was time for me to be pulled up and told that my behaviour was unacceptable, just as my biological mother back in London would do.

The Walls’ family and I (Back row – far left), 2016
The Walls’ family and I (Back row – far left), 2016

To be treated as an absolute equal and to the same extent a vital part of the family, allowed me growth beyond growth and learning that no training course or higher education facility could provide.

The Walls family gave me the space to grow from a boy to a man, all whilst gently and super lovingly supporting me to be able to make my own choices and to take care of all that needed to be felt, read, appreciated, respected, understood and lived. The Love, Appreciation, Gratitude, Adoration and Respect I hold for every member of the Walls and Benhayon families is not an atom less than what I hold for my own mother, who has raised me from birth.

And so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised, as the experiences I have had with the Benhayon family and the Walls family have shown me. I have been truly blessed to have had these exposures in my life.

It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me by the Benhayons and the Walls’, to allow those I meet their own growth and learning.

Published with Permission of the Benhayon family and the Walls family.

By Michael Brown, 20 yr old student and retail supervisor, London UK

Further Reading:
Relationships
Family Love
My Brother – Not an In-Law

543 thoughts on “True Family

  1. Michael, I am really coming to realise that we do not need to be blood related to be true family, I am experiencing that we can have a closeness and love and support with our neighbours, friends and colleagues and that it need not be considered any less or any different than relationships we can have with our blood family.

  2. Michael what a great point you raise here “It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me” the appreciation that you share is massive yet that is shared knowing that it is your responsibility to share this with all others, that true family can’t be isolated or kept to a few but is the way we are with all.

  3. Our blood families often form the foundation for us when we are growing up but we only truly evolve when our “family” is inclusive of all humanity .

  4. True family is there between every single one of us, it is but a choice to return to and live the qualities of this from within. This is a beautiful blog to read and to feel the very real possibilities of returning to a more natural way of being and caring for each other as opposed to the separation and conflict we have become accustomed to and even accepted as human nature.

  5. Great blog, Michael. And it’s beautiful that you have taken none of this for granted. That you deeply appreciate and love these families and the experiences you had with them…that can really be felt in your writing.

  6. Michael – your sharing highlights the fact that not all families live with the same level of integrity and respect and deep care that we are actually capable of offering each other. How I have said this is key – I have said that we are all actually capable of offering this, but we may very often choose not to do so. Your experience has certainly been life changing and with this as a foundation laid for you in life, and with this as a marker or set minimum standard now, there can only be growth beyond growth of the kind no training course or higher education facility could provide.Thank you for this amazing inspiration and reminder of our true priorities in life!

  7. Michael, it is beautiful to read of your heartfelt appreciation for the opportunities you were afforded to experience ‘true family’ both with the Benhayons and with the Walls’ family. And I find it deeply inspiring how you now see it as your responsibility to be ‘true family’ with all others.

  8. You are absolutely correct, Michael, true family is “not blood bound or placenta promised”. I live in a small town where a number of students of the Way of The Livingness now live and i can honestly say they are my ‘true family’. Although we may not gather together that frequently I know from experience that if there is any support needed for someone it is automatically there, And as time passes so the intimacy between us is steadily growing.

  9. This blog shows me to maybe let go of the concept we commonly hold of family to be blood related as it does not cover the truth of what family actually is. In essence we are all family as that is what is connecting us from deep within while the concept of family being blood related is placing a wedge in between relationships that holds us separated from one another.

  10. When we look at it truthfully the belief that the connection with blood relatives is stronger, has done so much harm in keeping humanity separated. This blog knocks the old saying blood is thicker than water right out of the park.

    1. I agree kevmhardy that saying sure holds no value when you read a blog like this that brings the basics back to relationships and an understanding that the word family is far greater than we choose to believe.

  11. We live in a society where education is being drummed into children from such a young age yet we can learn so much about ourselves and others through the way we choose to live. To be inspired to feel the equality and connection with others so that we are supported to be ourselves is far greater than any qualification achieved.

  12. Michael, I can feel how being a family is so much more than about just blood ties as you have shown. Family can be with anyone, anywhere as we are all in truth one big family. The families we constallate in to give us the opportunity to heal, evolve and express.

  13. Thank you Michael for showing us what true family is, the world has fallen for the illusion of blood family when in truth we are all one family. The love that you felt with these two families is golden and makes a great blue print for others to also live with such love and truth.

  14. I too have observed the Benhayon family and some other families that live and share true family in the way you have described. Very few of us ever experienced that loving way of living, even within our families. It can sometimes bring up a bit of stuff to see people being so loving and open with each other as it exposes all that is not of that and all that is not of that is actually a big ouch!

    1. The big ouch you have shared here Nicole Lessing is a great opportunity to squirm and learn what is being offered for us to take a deeper look at what we have “thought’ were the hallmarks of true family and then been given an example in the truest form through the Benhayon family.

  15. It is wonderful to read the words of a young man stepping out in to the world with no boundaries as to what love or family is.

  16. I love this blog. So often we underestimate kids and teenagers and all that they see and observe. It’s gorgeous to read that a 12 year old was noticing all the things that make the Benhayon family a true family. It is so great to have these markers, as without them we look at all the fighting between X-partners, jealousy, tension etc and see that as normal.

  17. It is beautiful to read about your journey and how it had supported you to live with a family who were open and loving to you equally. This is sure what true family is, no boundaries or walls, just openness.

  18. Michael it is so cool to read how you have learnt and experienced what true family is and that you have such an appreciation for this. A man that is entering adulthood with such wisdom has so much to offer. Beautiful.

  19. This is so beautiful to read and this is what most of us truly crave, to be a part of – A family that Lives the Love that we are innately designed to be and it is open endlessly to all.

    1. That craving was so present for me, I tried so many things to satisfy it, to no avail, before I finally realised why I had the craving in the first place (courtesy of Benhayons & Walls) — I had chosen to separate myself from a cosmic amount of people. How exactly did I think I was going to be satisfied by having a dinner with 3 or 4!?

  20. It doesn’t matter what others say and do you absolutely know with every fibre of you, if you are included and held this way you describe Michael. We might not expect to be cared for like this, but what your experience reminds me is this is absolutely natural. Family and nurturing each other should never ever know any boundary, segregation or be delivered with any qualification, condition or hesitation. We are all members of one family group who deserve to be treated with warm-hearted openness.

  21. This is absolutely beautiful, and really exposes a kind of relationship I have gotten used to as a ‘family’ – whether that means a blood family where jealousy and comparison was rife between the siblings and other extended members; or a group where we would feel a sense of belonging to, and somewhat separate ourselves from the outsiders. A true family as you share here is a possibility that is available to all of us.

  22. We never resist being truly ‘met by another’ or cared for and this is an example of those human attributes that know no boundaries, family definitions included. An absolutely delightful sharing Michael Brown!

  23. I second that wholeheartedly – true family is not “blood bound or placenta promised” at all, it is grounded in the depth and genuineness of welcoming and truly meeting one another.

  24. What is so wonderful about living with such love, openness and inclusivity is that it has ripple effects. Just reading the wonderful final statement: “It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me by the Benhayons and the Walls’, to allow those I meet their own growth and learning” shows me how this expansive understanding of family when lived, has the potential to change the whole world.

  25. I am attending a family (as in blood) funeral today and I understand more than ever that this is only one slice of the pie of what true family is. I support and am supported by, love and am loved by so many people that are not my biological family and come to understand more and more that family includes all… literally all, of humanity.

  26. Yes… knowing your our true family is global, that it has naught to do with bloodlines and everything to do with a willingness to be open and let another truly see us, is an incredible way to live our lives. We are backed to the core, regardless of where we are we know we are held by our brothers. There is no loneliness when we open up to humanity and let our love out — love once again comes back to us in spades.

  27. I love how Michael’s writing so clearly shows that 12 year olds sense and know what a true family is. We all do – no matter what age we are. It’s often just that we have been taught family consists only of our relations by ‘blood’, when in fact, family is all our relationships based on ‘heart’.

    Super to read from a 20 year old’s perspective that you know it is your “absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me by the Benhayons and the Walls, to allow those I meet their own growth and learning.” We all can choose to live in that way and ‘grow our family’.

  28. I am living in a house of 5 adults, all not related to one another, but being open and loving with them and developing true family. This is about being open and transparent about how we feel, this can be challenging at times, it can also be really wonderful and supportive. Being open to family being more than just blood relatives can sometimes push the boundaries for others, yet reflect an amazing new way of living and being.

  29. Reading this I reflected that twice in my life I have lived with other families being treated, loved and respected equally as any other member, with dear friends of mine still saying to me their home is my home. Feeling this I am very aware of a feeling I had (and can still feel remients of this still subtly within my body) growing up which was always putting myself last and not allowing my whole being to belong to something with absolute love, it is a kind of in incidious meek, mild and timid feeling that I ‘do not count’. So feeling these opportunities I was given a situation where I could heal this, to not hold back with love and truly feel equal as another. For me it is times or moments like this when Love is asking us to be all that we are ✨

  30. “It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect shown and shared with me…”Absolutely Michael – thank you for the reminder, for the call to be more responsible.

  31. We are all potential family to each other and you experiences of how we can all be true family regardless of blood bear this out Michael, what a gift and thank you for sharing it with all of us another family.

  32. What a gorgeous blog to read and enjoy. A life-changing opportunity to experience the power, joy and harmony that is possible when invited to sit and be with true family. The Benhayon family is a true marker and constant reflection for the world that it is possible and natural for all people to live this way 24/7.
    “……to watch a family sit at a meal table with what society would deem the most unorthodox of melanges, plus observing every Benhayon family member to be as loving with each other as the next, with no tension, no discrimination and certainly with no sliver of comparison or jealousy anywhere in sight, was absolutely ground breaking”.

  33. ‘And so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised’, this line resonates so much with me today and a powerful reminder that our family is whoever we are close too, and whoever we live with and does not have to be blood……

    1. I love this line too… especially the ‘placenta promised’ bit. As soon as we make it just about blood bound family members, we are missing out on true connections with the rest of our brothers… we are part of a much bigger and grander whole and each play a role in reflecting that back to each other. So the more reflections the better I say!

  34. True family – being the same love with everyone equally. It is love and equality that makes family not kinship or any other social, emotional, national or cultural attachment.

    1. Yes. Our all kinship is our connection and our equality. We have in fact kinship relations with every soulful being – but do we live and express this fact? No. So we are fighting our kinship by the false ideals of culture, races, nationality and other creations that bring us into a separation. Why do we fight our kinship? What would happen if we would live it? We would evolve. Truly evolve. Step by step we would claim the stairway to heaven – back to where we are coming from. Interesting that we fight so much our purpose and our glory – although we make it look like we want this.

  35. Michael, you speak a deep truth quite naturally and simple: “in the core of what true family stands for, lies the key to returning society to its joyous and harmonious state”. What if w would live in the responsibility of making a family-live harmonious? What if that would be our first task and role in life? Not to be a good boy or girl, not to be successful in school or later in career, not to find the one soul mate – but to live in a way with my family that reflects and so brings harmony into this world. If every family on earth would live under this guiding principles – the world would be so different. So – lets start and bring that harmony, this ‘true family’ into our lives. Now. We have some role models. So it is possible.

  36. That’s beautiful! I’m working on a piece about family at the moment and it’s good to get some inspiration from other blogs. It’s lovely and I really enjoy reading your work! Happy holidays 🙂

  37. Our greatest learning and evolution is in relationships with each other. Through reflection, observation and communication we can understand so much more about ourselves and life as a whole.

  38. This is a great blog as there is so many ideals and beliefs around family and you are dispelling them with this sharing of your own experience.. so needed .

  39. A beautiful appreciation of True Family and a profound understanding that “It is now my absolute responsibility to hold others in the same quality of love, integrity and respect.”

  40. I have never spent time with the Benhayons in the way which you have so I cannot comment on that, but I do know every exchange I have had with Serge and Miranda and other member of the Benhayon family have been nothing short of absolute love. Miranda Benhayon is one of the most sweet, understanding. non judgemental, realistic people I know with an absolute huge heart.

    1. Very well said Gyl and absolutely seconded it. And that we all potentially have a huge heart if we choose to start to live the cardiocentric model taught by Pythagoras over 2,400 years ago. We didn’t learn the lesson Pythagoras brought us and so most of mankind today lives almost exclusively from their heads with little to no connection to their hearts. Changing this is what is going to change the world.

  41. Beautiful Michael. The world literally just opens up for us when we redefine what true family is and accept that it is indeed ‘not blood bound or placenta promised’.

  42. It was so lovely to read from your perspective just how easy it is to feel the love of others and also not have a picture around what being ‘in a family means’. That it is about how we are with each other, loving others, but also letting in the love of those around us.

  43. What a beautiful gift to experience from two families, this knowing of what a true family feels like. Our ideas that ‘blood is thicker than water’ and ‘family comes first’ are all ways that we keep ourselves separate and exclusive in our relationships with one another. I am loving opening up to the fact that we are all family, all equal and no relationship is more important than any other. This is not how I was raised or what society tells me, but I know this to be true from deep within me.

  44. It is so beautiful to be able to go to another person’s house and be treated as an absolute equal and as part of the family. This is true community and it is very much needed.

  45. Michael your blogs blows me away. What you have been offered, I wish for many to feel. This is what true family is, treating another as equal and not allowing them to feel otherwise. Lets bring on true family, this is where the evolution lies.

  46. It is such a blessing for you to be able to have had the opportunity to experience true family like you have, for so many don’t even realize that what they have is not filled with the love, equality, respect and appreciation that is indeed possible… and therefore to experience this cannot be anything short of deeply inspirational. Without these qualities as the foundation and the norm we are settling for less and denying the beauty that is there to embrace between us.

  47. How gorgeous! This shows me that family is actually possible with everyone and anyone. That blood is not a mandatory – that actually we are all one family and it is just a case of how open we are willing to be with each other.

  48. I didn’t really feel the magnitude of this blog when it was first published, however, now it feels so dear to me, thank you, Michael ❤

  49. A beautiful testimony as to the fact that Serge Benhayon and his family live the love that they have shared with us is the way for all of us to live in the future and that, like them we can live that future today.

  50. As I re-read this blog once again, it really brings me back to my purpose in life. I am here to reflect another way – THE way. And that is only done through my livingness, building my consistency step by step, moment by moment.

    1. Hear hear Leigh, and I have come a long way to know and understand that we are all connected and that the word family encompasses all others and that the way forward is to live in brotherhood.

  51. Gosh I find this super inspiring Michael. Not in the sense that what you have experienced is anything special per se as it is so natural and easy and without question that you would be treated with such love and care. More so in the fact of how normal it was in such cases to simply be held and let in like that. That is something that ought to be experienced not just in our families but in every situation. Let go of the guards and let the world in.

  52. ‘And so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised’. I totally agree with you Michael, and the more I love and accept myself, the easier it becomes to love others without judgement for no-one is perfect and no-one has all the answers. But when we hold and respect each other, brotherhood is our natural state of being.

  53. Absolutely beautiful to read Michael, isn’t it crazy how limited we have made our lives, compared to what we could live.

  54. This is indeed a testimony of true family. There are no boundaries between us, we naturally are pulled to being equal, but we have learnt to build walls physically as well as unseen ones and with that bring an imbalance into our relationships, championing some things higher and more worthy than others.

  55. Discovering that true family is “not blood bound or placenta promised” opens the door to a whole new experience of family, and one that in truth is the whole of humanity

  56. True family has no boundaries, it holds no other less or more. It is not sectioned by blood, nor does it divide by name. It honours communication with transparency and speaks only evolution. True family is us all living in brotherhood moving to the breath of God.

  57. I love the fact that you can now feel the responsibility you have to love and hold every other person in your life in the same way that you have been held by these families. What a gift for the world that you have taken away.

  58. Thanks Michael, for me since I began developing relationships within the Universal Medicine student body I have begun to understand what true family feels like. It definitely transcends blood, age, gender etc and seems to be spontaneously there at times. As human beings we are designed to express our love and care and as we allow that to become our natural way it makes sense that others around us get to experience what true family feels like.

  59. Incredible blog Michael, what makes it even stronger is the fact that what you have written here are not just words. The integrity, love and care that I have experienced from the first meal I shared with you and Dragana have also been life altering!

  60. We often say in our house that family is love not blood. Which makes every person responsible for what they bring to the table, for what they contribute to the whole, and for every choice that they make. And what I have found is that love is a choice and no matter what any one else in my family chooses, my love is not to be compromised or reduced. No one is left out of my family because I have enough love to go around the whole world and back again.

  61. There is no greater act of love than to hold another in the equalness that love is and they are. For in that moment we honor and confirm the truth of all that we are, can live and are here be, as such representing the oneness of God that flows through our every cell equally so regardless of our race, gender, colour, religion, or family. What you have shared here Michael is a beautiful testament of how when we do hold another in equalness we learn, grow and allow more of who we really are to come to life.

  62. Michael, you have totally blown the long accepted belief as to what family is to smithereens, and as a result offering humanity the opportunity to understand what “true family” is. It may take a while for this understanding to permeate through society as it will be met by a lot of resistance but as far as I’m with you whole-heartedly as I too finally know what true family is and am now appreciating all the wonderful family that I have today.

    1. Yes Ingrid, humanity will need to adjust to this fact, and in time see the truth of where we have come from – and where we are going.

  63. What a gorgeous story to read Michael; a story of a young man taking full responsibility for his choices and inspiring others to do the same. Indeed, as you were inspired by the Benhayon and Walls families to live with
    love, appreciation, gratitude, adoration and respect for all, irrespective of blood family ties.

  64. Beautiful to read of your experiences here Michael, thank you. True family is all of us – the whole of humanity and certainly not bound by blood, culture, heritage or genes as you say.

  65. It’s interesting how we treat people in and out of our family differently, it’s almost like we see it as we can’t get involved with what’s going on for other people outside our own family. It’s inspiring that this family treated you with the same love and care and especially discipline as their own children. It’s a beautiful example of our how responsibility is so much greater than just our “own” family, but that our responsibility actually extends to well-being and evolution of everyone around us.

    1. Great point Meg – you have me pondering whether there are differences in the way I treat the family I have grown up with and the way I treat people outside my biological family…. Ah yes there is a difference, a lot of the time I have treated my biological family worse than anyone else! We often take our family members for granted, when we see them as people first we are blessed with an opportunity to truly connect.

  66. Family has become a place of tension instead of love these days. Teenagers being rude to their parents is normal, having fights with your siblings is normal, parents not getting along all the time is normal, tv dinners are normal, stress is normal, gossip is normal, putting up with abuse is normal…. and I could go on. But this is all not true family. True family is, yes, truly based on love and being loving and at least respectful with each other to the best of our abilities. It is a place of warmth and being deeply cared for even if this means to be pulled up for acts at some times, but never forgetting the love that we are in these moments.

  67. Thank you for sharing your insights into true family Michael. Your experiences are a stark contrast to the lie of family where we are told we must ‘stick together’ no matter what. I grew up feeling like family was an insurance policy meaning you weren’t left to be alone with no one to support you no matter what you do. I have seen that this isn’t a true way to be and it’s a failed insurance anyway as many are left to die alone in nursing homes when they become an ‘inconvenience’ to others or begin to reflect the uncomfortable truth of a lifetime of choices.

    1. And even for the ones that do “stick together”, in what quality to they stick? I have seen many families that would pride themselves on being close and family-like, but the underlying abuse is very much there and taking its toll on all involved.

  68. It is truly beautiful Michael to read your deep appreciation and love for the Benhayon family and the Walls family – having the experience of true family in life leaves an imprint in us that we are forever inspired and supported by.

  69. So beautiful to read Michael. I love that I no longer believe in the concept of family only being bound by blood. It makes no sense when we look around us with all the destruction in family violence – emotional and physical that that can be the representation of true family. Society has bastardised the meaning of the word which is a shame as many of us have not bothered to challenge the meaning, and instead continue to believe that treating family members badly is acceptable simply because they are related by blood and they aren’t going anywhere. Makes no sense.

  70. When we choose to be family with anyone we meet, family in its truth is reflected back for us to feel and the steadiness we choose life with, will be the consistency our life becomes.

  71. It is a common saying that humanity is all one family, which is true, yet today’s reflection is of a very dysfunctional one!

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