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:
Family Love
My Brother – Not an In-Law

625 thoughts on “True Family

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Just lovely to hear the experiences so fully appreciated – no taking for granted here. And given that I’m sure that you will offer a similar opportunity to others along the way.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 .

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. In many cultures and institutionalized religions we are taught: “family is our highest good”. We then think about blood lines, Mums and Dads, kids and grandchildren etc. What if this thinking is our highest evil and prevents us from living as a true family globally?

  15. Thank you Michael, these photos of you with your other families are living testaments to true family and how the love that can be shared knows no blood or genetic boundaries.

  16. “And so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised”. This is such a blessing to know this especially at such a young age because you can now bring this to all of those around you and I think it takes the pressure off our blood families to be everything to each other.

  17. “allowed me growth beyond growth and learning that no training course or higher education facility could provide.” this is so awesome Michael, our best learning and growing comes from living life and not from any study or schooling.

  18. This blog is an absolutely beautiful sharing about true family. True family with no boundaries and bloodlines and being about connection, support and quality resonates strongly with me. The more I peel back the images of relationships and family and live the truth of who I am and what I bring – the more I realise just how entrapped we have become with ideals and beliefs as a society around these topics.

  19. Having this as your understanding and appreciation that the responsibility of being the Love that you are equally with all is one that each and every single one of us can be. That each of us have the power to reflect such grandness and then others will see that they too are just as grand. Beautiful how love is all encompassing.

  20. “…so when I reflect on what true family is, in my bones I know it is not blood bound or placenta promised…” – deep down, we all know this, that love isn’t bound by blood, it goes way beyond that.

  21. What you share here is changing the whole perception of family that is held in society today. It is the beauty of true family, that it isn’t bound by blood, but by the innate connection we have with everyone.

    1. And in truth anyone can be family. It is about our quality we are with each other and with ourselves first and foremost.

  22. There is no feeling like feeling part of a family. But family runs much deeper and wider than blood family. People who don’t have a blood family can still have family. We are all a part of the same whole, so cannot but be family.

  23. The more I consider my understanding of family, the more I realise that what I used to think of as family (those I was related to by blood) was such a reduced and strangled version of the truth; a reductionist view point that left me starving of the true potential of all the other relationships in my life. I now consider many people to be my family and I am richer for it.

  24. I was raised to believe that my blood family was my one and only family, and this pattern was deeply entrenched and totally considered as normal. It has taken a while to come to a knowing of what true family is, the question being first put to me and many others by Serge Benhayon at a Universal Medicine retreat some years ago. Exploring that question has been an amazing and revealing process, and has indelibly changed the way I now look at what a family truly is. Today I have a wonderful family that consists of not only blood relatives, but of many other amazing and supportive people, and I love them all equally so.

  25. Thank you for sharing this reflection on true family Michael. My true family is ever expanding and I feel how amazing it is to be open, transparent and welcoming of people into my life. There is nothing that I need to protect or hide, and if I feel that there is something to hide then this is for me to see if that thing (object, behaviour or activity) is really true for me. True family is so supportive in the evolution of who I am.

  26. Just recently I sat down for dinner with 12 other people who weren’t related to me, and we had a dinner with no alcohol. It was an incredible experience and blows out of the water the idea of what family is. Family for me now is anyone who I create a relationship with who is willing to develop that relationship and talk about meaningful things with eyes wide open to how the world is. I mention the no alcohol as the conversation steered to many topics and I felt the depth of the conversation could keep growing as it isn’t inhibited by the drinks that I have previously experienced would knock the conversation into silly topics or behaviours. Instead there is an honesty and a warm sharing that made the meal a coming together or family, a sharing of people regardless of who was born of whom.

  27. “…there was NO holding back in LOVE. I was truly welcomed and embraced as an equal member of the family”~ Michael these words are pure gold. I have spent most of my adult life struggling with boundaries. Boundaries within friendships and boundaries within the family. Now I realise that I have been holding back and if I let all preconceived ‘ideas’ of what boundaries are and let everyone in then true connections would be made and everyone would feel equally loved for who they are, uniting the bigger family of humanity.

  28. Family is so often thought of as our blood family, but when we open our hearts everyone is family, what is really beautifully expressed here is that when there is true family there is also true love and as a result there is no holding back, support comes with responsibility in allowing someone the space to grow and at the same time lovingly telling them the truth of their choices when necessary.

  29. Michael, thank you for your sharing, it shows how when we are open to being true family we are able to be anywhere in the world and equally loved and supported and at the same time we are equally able to love and support others in a true way of being.

  30. There are so many ways by which we reduce life to the point where we no longer feel connected to other human beings. The belief that blood is thicker than water is merely one of them.

  31. When we let go of the blood bound belief that these are our only family and open the doors to people that are just as equally loving and supportive as our own and sometimes even more then we have an opportunity where by our family are the ones we spend time with that deeply care, express and live responsibly the true Love that we are (not the emotional kind). To me this is real family and it is worth Gold.

  32. Michael- What an absolutely beauty-full and life enriching experience you describe having lived with both the Benhayons and Walls family- living what true family means, not needing to be blood bound. Very inspiring.

  33. Even I never lived with The Benhayon or Walls family I met the whole Benhayon familiy a lot of times in the Uk. And it is very clear to me what a true family life they reflect to the world. The way they satnd, talk, walk with each other is so beautiful. And it is all encompassing. All what is expressed between them is felt for all equally so. Nobody needs ever to feel left out. How possible? As they make it always about the whole which is felt by everybody on this planet and beyond.

  34. Michael to get to live and experience the fact that True Family is not bound by blood but by purpose and a willingness to connect with and have a relationship with another is a lesson for us all. It goes against everything I was taught or bought up to believe about family.

  35. Michael, you make such a great point in your blog, bringing our attention to one vital point, family is not about blood relatives and kin, it’s absolutely all about humanity and brotherhood and helping each other in love. if we are holding another more in love, how can that be true love at all?

  36. Gorgeous blog of appreciation Michael, and an incredible life lesson that family is about the care that is given, not the blood that runs through our veins.

    1. We do in life tend to rely on the physical as the be all and end all a lot eg. What family means, genetics, illness etc
      However we have a whole energetic world that we are and are part of that is always taking place whether we choose to be aware of it or not. And the physical is often the last or end result of what has already taken place energetically. If we all loved and lived from our true essence and energetically then our physical would reflect the truth of who we all are.

  37. There is no greater testament than expressing about the responsibility you feel to share with others what has been shared with you.

  38. The realisation that true family ‘is not blood bound or placenta promised’ opens us up to a whole new reality and wealth of support with each other not only amongst our friends but in our neighborhoods, workplaces, communities… there are no limits really.

  39. ‘yes ex-wife’ I don’t know of any other family other than the Benhayon s who honour everyone equally whatever the relationship is between each other. This has so inspired me to not hold onto old hurts or grudges I’ve had with ex partners but to always hold them in the highest regard.

  40. To not be prejudiced and held as an absolute equal in both of these cases is extremely rare indeed Michael, even though it ought to be far more common if not the norm. This is most definitely True Love.

  41. Breaking down the walls around the isolated units of blood relations, insular communities, social class etc. has opened my world up to true family, relationship and responsibility and this feels like it will expand endlessly…

  42. Having been brought up in a culture that true family is blood family, this completely was far from the truth. Over the years I have come to see how this is not true. This is an ideal and belief that was programmed into us, as it was programmed into our parents. As a family we broke away from this belief system.

  43. Such a beautiful account, Michael. I especially love that you feel responsible to share with others the inspiration of true family that has been shared with you.

  44. Letting others in does not leave any shortage of family, it’s up to me to stay with an open heart to all. It’s when I limit my relationships to my immediate family, waiting for love to fill me from there, that I then miss the connection to a love that is there for all to feel

  45. Like with Michael Brown, I also at first saw the relationships within the Benhayon Family as strange. I could not understand how there could be so much love and understanding between ex-spouses, new spouses and the like. Mainly because this is not what I had seen in my own family through divorce and remarriages. But what the Benhayon Family have consistently and without fail shown me is that love does not falter. Yes there are tough times and emotions can get frayed, yes there can be miscommunications and stressful times, life is life after all and no one is perfect. But when there is an underlying commitment to love this can see us through the tightest of times when even to breathe feels like a struggle. Because with love, every one is included.

  46. My family is increasing through being open to that occurring. I have more people in my life that I am truly connected with, than I ever have and what has changed has been my approach to considering that it is possible and that we can be intimate and open with other people. When I closed myself off, my family was limited, when I open my heart it is not.

  47. I have never in my life accepted more people as my true family,. I can sincerely say that when I walk out of my house I feel that people I meet are family. We connect, we are equal, we feel the divinity, we are family. I do not always get it perfect. I have children and a husband and sometimes I can get stuck in that focus, but I know in my body that we are all connected and divinely equal and we make up the whole.

  48. What you share here Michael of your experience of true family is magical yet real and I agree having the Benhayon leading and showing us the way to be as a family is super inspiring for all of humanity.

  49. A very powerful read for the truth that is shared and delivered in this blog. Thank you Michael for taking the time to write and share it with us all and showing us the bigger picture and the true meaning of the word;

  50. ‘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.’ I like this Michael, and it’s very true. Our responsibility to give back all that we have been given is what true family is all about.

  51. There is a reason for everything, and having had these very inspiring experiences of what true family is, you have a marker you are now able to share with everyone you meet… and to inspire many more to live as true family rather than as individuals… and in this way we change the world.

  52. Your blog is an absolute inspiration Michael calling us to deepen our understanding and love for each and every person, knowing that we are all indeed one big family regardless of our blood line or which country we live in.

  53. Letting ourselves know how much love we have to give, is a great way to feel how amazing we are and what we have to offer humanity.

  54. It is the example of the Benhayon family that inspired my to remain as friends with my ex-husband and his new partner – why should we be in antagonism and emotional unrest when a separation frees us to evolve? Anger is an old pattern that only serves to make us hard, and it is way better for our health to live in harmony with everyone.

  55. Did you ever experience that your parents loved one of your siblings more (or less) than yourself?
    Everybody might be able to feel how loveless this expression is in truth.
    Well, the same lovelessness is expressed, when my love (affection would be the correct word) is exclusively held for the ones of my own flock and less for ‘strangers’.

  56. True family, what you have described here is just such a wonderful example of that. Being able to join a family that isn’t your birth family and be held in such love and acceptance, is very beautiful.

  57. If we all held everyone in equal love we would not be able to harm another as we would be all one big true family not all about blood lines but about connection, love and respect for one another.

  58. Awesome to read this, a beautiful experience of true family and what we have to offer. Imagine if all children and young adults were held in this same love and acceptance, there would be far less alienation and social isolation that is the common experience of so many growing up. Responsibility would then not be a ‘dirty word’ for teenagers, and everyone really, but rather offers a joyful understanding of the interdependency and interactivity of us all. In this we can all support each other, as we are all from the one family, the one brotherhood.

  59. Isn’t it odd, how we hold people in ‘regard’ and say ‘I would never say that to my Mother’ or my father or brother. Yet it seems other people it is ok to treat with disregard? and isn’t it strange how we also fight and hurt those who stand the closest to us in life, in a way we would never be with somebody we meet just at work or in the street? What if these two things are linked, and that until we live knowing the true family you mention Michael, there will always be unloving behaviour? For the fact is everyone here deserves absolute equal care and consideration. I know in my heart, that I never want to hurt or harm any one of them again, or fight.

  60. I have learned so much in my time knowing the Benhayon family about what it means to have a true family – unrestricted by blood or name or kin, but bound by love and commitment to living that love.

  61. True family is such an amazing thing to experience – where dinner table conversations are full of purpose and love – no more silences or slamming doors or teenagers hiding in there rooms, simply a commitment to be together and build love.

  62. Michael I could have kept reading, this whole topic would make a great book. Family is generally exclusive, yet your experiences show it doesn’t need to be, that our love and care can be extended equally to everyone. If every blood family in the world did this the whole of humanity would be in a truly beautiful place. Because we all have the capacity to live like this, it’s actually an achievable future.

  63. I can feel how being attached to one version, interpretation of family, keeps us in separation, it prevents us from enjoying ourselves and other people fully, when we say this is our family and bring boundaries in of who comes in an out of that. It also happens with friends groups. Layers of boundaries and so protection, prevent true connection and intimacy.

  64. True family, is not about who gave birth to you. I am feeling more truly that we are all one family. There are people I meet everyday who I connect and who connect with me, it is a feeling of universality and a knowing of ourselves as part of something greater than the self. That Is what I feel in this connection, we are all family.

  65. Yes, encountering the Benhayon family for the first time is “absolutely ground breaking.” whatever one’s age!

    1. True, my experience also, observing how they are with each other and everyone else, challenged many assumptions I had made about relationships. They are inspiration concerning true family.

  66. It’s interesting how we cling to the traditional notion of family as an individual unit (which separates us from everyone else) and yet there is so much dysfunction within this unit. What are we actually clinging on to when we fail to understand that as a one humanity we are all one family?

  67. When we love our parents more than others because of all they have done for us we dismiss our parents for who they are. If we love them for who they are this love encompasses all.

  68. To be shown an example of true family Michael is definitely an opportunity to experience a key ingredient that we often mask as being offered through our blood lines only. It is inspiring to hear of a young man of your age understanding this potential and seeking to make a difference in your life.

  69. True family is that which allows us to be and express who we truly are and no holding back to the constant pull of evolution, it surpasses “blood family” as it is not based on genetics but the equality of the love that we all are.

  70. This blog offers a new meaning to what true family is about, an ever expanding truth about how family never needs to be about exclusion and that there need not be anyone in the world we cannot connect with.

  71. Thank you Michael, for such a sweet account of what a true family is. When everyone is treated and valued as an equal then there is no need to ever be alone, and as the Benhayon and the Walls family have shown, true family encompasses everyone.

  72. Often the worst comes out when families get together. It is like all the pent up tensions that we know are socially unacceptable are unleashed on those who we believe ‘have to’ love us and put up with it. There is nothing like this between the Benhayons, no taking for granted or dynamics. Instead there is the deepest love and respect, which is very inspiring.

  73. I agree that embracing every person equally, as true family is one of the keys to returning humanity back to our natural harmonious and joyful state. This is because humanity is our true family.

  74. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous story Michael. I loved what you noticed about how the Benhayons treated you like an equal part of the family even when you didn’t realise what true family is. I can feel from your writing that you will be offering this same quality to other people yet to know what true family means.

  75. It is truly inspiring to experience moments where there is true love and brotherhood for each other. The Benhayon family are great models for us to observe no holding back in love, so we can realise the possibility this is for us all as well. Why on earth do we choose anything less?

  76. Your story proves that we are much bigger and more universal than our biological family and that love itself is universal.

  77. When true family could be anyone, it completely exposes the limited view we have of family as opposed to what it really means.

  78. How grand it is to appreciate that True family extends far beyond blood, race and other divisive measures and to appreciate each and every person in our lives.

  79. ‘However, in the core of what true family stands for, lies the key to returning society to its joyous and harmonious state.’ We have a view that true family lies within our own nucleus…looking after me and my own, but what you share Michael changes this concept completely. The fact that we don’t have to be blood related to behave and care for others, as family is a game changer. What if every person was family? Would we not treat them differently? Society would certainly be different!

  80. I am forever inspired by the Benhayon’s love for each other and the love they share with everyone they meet. -“there was NO holding back in LOVE. I was truly welcomed and embraced as an equal member of the family” So beauty-full to witness such unconditional love not bound by blood family or religion & race.
    They epitomise what true brotherhood is all about- Love for self and one another.

  81. A beautiful qualifier of true family. I’ve heard many people say that our true family is one we choose, however, this idea of family is just as exclusive as that of blood family – that in nominating your ‘true family’ you are selecting people who meet your criteria for how they should be or how they should relate to you. However, as Michael explains here, we are all each other’s family and true family is in the embracing of the people around in the equal love to those with whom you share blood.

  82. The Benhayon’s are deeply inspiring how they hold this amazing love for each other and no matter who or what is going on around them this love is equally shared in every situation. No measuring or altering it for any particularly person – An Equal Love that has no boundaries. This is phenomenal to experience; to witness and feel, and I feel blessed to see that it is actually very possible. A choice.

  83. This shows the truth of family, that family is not about blood lines or ties, but rather the openness that we can be with all and that we can have a true connection with anyone and everyone.

    1. So true Lee and this openness starts with ourselves first – everything we are with ourselves is then naturally shared to that same depth and openness with others.

  84. It’s amazing to read about your first dinner with the Benhayon family in the context of how little you actually knew them. With most families or social situations, there is a ‘getting to know/trust you’ period. But true love does not enforce those kind of barriers or conditions. True love is 100%, 24/7 for ALL.

  85. If the beliefs and ideologies of ‘blood families’ did not exist, just imagine how different the world’s history would look like. Proof indeed of how destructive and separative the force of family is – and yet it is still held as almost sacrosanct by almost every one of us. Wake up time. This blog is showing us the true way for family to be lived.

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