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Who Are You in Relationship With?
Karina: I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who really does love me and whom I love very much as well. He has done very well for himself and is financially independent; he is well balanced, kind and funny. He gives me lots of space and we both have our own lives and interests quite apart from each other although we share the same values and seem to want the same things in life. We have a great time together and can communicate very well on all levels, mentally and physically.
My only issue with him is that he does not have any interest in self-inquiry or in anything that could be called “spiritual.” He does not seem to have any psychological problems nor does he have complicated karma to work out. He is happy with himself and has no need to seek further.
The problem arises for me because of the way I was brought up. My interest in the spiritual path started as a young girl because of the way my mother brought me and my brother up. Our interest and view on life is oriented very strongly toward non-duality and this is how I wish to live my life. I would like to marry and have children (I am 29) and I would like to bring my children up the way I was brought up.
I am afraid that if I continue in this relationship and it leads to marriage, which it looks like it will, then I will be committed to someone who does not share my spiritual values. How will this affect our relationship in the long run or how we bring up our children? I have no doubt that he will make a very good father; he is very loving, caring and kind. But what will he teach them?
Also, because he is wealthy and things have been effortless for us as we get along so well, is this not just taking the easy route? Am I not fooling myself in thinking things are perfect between us just because I am too afraid to challenge myself?
Any advice would be welcome.
Sundari: Hello, Karina. First of all you need to ask yourself with whom you are in relationship. If your view really is non-dual then you would have to see that your partner is not separate from you; he is awareness just like you are. You say that he is well-balanced, psychologically stable, independent, loving and funny. You sound like you are compatible in every way. He loves you and is capable of taking care of you and a family. So where is the problem?
If you really love each other your partner is not threatened by your spiritual values and does not prevent you from living according to your dharma then there is no real problem. This means that he will not stand in the way of how you wish to educate your children spiritually. As long as your children are taught how to value themselves and are valued and loved by him you can teach them to have non-dual vision.
If you see him as the self and relate to him as awareness everything he says and does will not be a problem for you unless you expect him to change for you. It is usually the expectations that we project onto partners that kills relationships. See your relationship as your spiritual practice; see everything that happens in your lives in the light of self-knowledge and apply the knowledge to your life.
Ramji always says that he would take a normal samsari who follows dharma and lives a good life over a self-inflated ego based “self-realised” person any day. Vedanta says that if you are looking for moksa then making a relationship your primary goal is contrary to the dharma of self-inquiry. This is because Vedanta teaches that moksa is freedom from dependence on objects. Vedanta does not say that there is anything wrong with being in relationship per se. It is how we are in relationship and why that is important. It does not sound like either of you are dependent on each other or are looking for an object to fulfill you. It sounds like you have a partner who is pretty clear about who he is what he wants and why he wants it and is not looking to you to provide it.
Ramji and I are together because we do not need each other, we do not project onto each other and do not expect each other to make the other happy. This is because we are already happy and know that the joy is in us, not in the “other.” We also know that there is no such thing as the “other.” If your partner does not know that is his true nature is awareness what matters is that you do. If you relate to him as the self the self in him will respond because it always does. See him as Isvara, as your dharma field, and worship him as you worship and honour yourself. Apply karma yoga at all times, which means that all that you do, say and think will be done in an attitude of gratitude and love, knowing that the results are not up to you. Then take all results that do come as prasad.
As for your partner being wealthy, well, that is your good karma given to you by Isvara; why question it? Enjoy it as it offers you the freedom to pursue your life, career and desire to have a family without any financial worries.
Do not make the mistake of second-guessing Isvara by thinking that there could be something “better out there.” If Isvara has given you something which is valuable and values you, honour and respect it by seeing it clearly as a gift. My daughter knows who she is and has a similar outlook to you; I brought her up like you were brought up. She has just married a very wealthy man who shares her values, who loves her unconditionally and values and sees her for who she is. He does not have a spiritual vasana, he is a secular humanist who is a lot clearer about how to live happily than most so-called spiritual people. I am very happy for my daughter. I have no doubt that with their values they will weather whatever Isvara brings their way. At first though, she had similar fears to you; she was also afraid that it was “too easy.” I told her that the mistake is in thinking that something worthwhile should be difficult or challenging. Why should one suffer or struggle to win through to being valued and cared for? I told her that love is supposed to be effortless because it is our true nature and finding someone who loves themselves and can therefore love another is the way it is supposed to be. Love yourself enough to be loved for who you are.
There is a great saying that I really think is very true, from the point of view of the person, and it is this: “Show me who you love and I will show you who you are.” It sounds to me like this man is a rare gem, someone you can trust and love who feels the same way about you. So trust Isvara, embrace it without fear and allow life to unfold.
~ Much love to you, Sundari