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Tony: Dear Ramji, thank you for your frank talk to me. I needed that. It’s true that women issues are difficult for me, but I want to learn and solve them. I want to fully understand what you are saying, so please be patient with me, if I just tell you what I am hearing and ask you to clarify your statements further if I’m not on target.
You are saying:
1. As long as I am looking for a woman’s love and sex, I am subject to a “false god.”
Ram: Yes. It is a matter of priorities, Tony. If freedom – which is the point of the spiritual life – is your first priority, then sex and human love will be secondary considerations. They can easily become obstacles, but they need not be. The way you see women is an obstacle. You think you need them. This is why you are conflicted. You need freedom from the need for women. This is not to say that you should not have a woman in your life, only that your relationship to your need for the woman is clear.
Tony: 2. I need to be stronger in my dealings with women and stick to my guns or else I will be eaten alive.
Ram: Yes, because you are an innocent. You do not understand this about yourself. You need to protect yourself. Women love men like you, Tony, because they can use you to get what they want. You are easily manipulated. You have doubts about relationships because some part of you – the spiritual part – knows it isn’t right to let others walk all over you. It is important to know that you can’t blame the women. This kind of behavior is an unconscious program. Mostly it is their desire for security. If you were a working-class stiff in a trailer home they would not be knocking at your door. Or maybe working-class women would come calling. ☺ You need to protect yourself by saying what you feel. You are a very sweet man and you would not hurt a flea. I rarely have this kind of problem because women can tell I have balls. I am terribly kind and patient and I give people – and I see this as a people problem, not a woman problem – a lot of room to be themselves. But I do not tolerate manipulation.
You are afraid of hurting their feelings because you want something from them, yet you will hurt yourself by not saying what you feel and sticking to it. You are not here on earth to make a woman happy. This is not your job. You can give others everything they want and they will not be one bit happier. You make yourself happy by doing what is right for you. And you make others happy by being happy, not by giving them what they want, although there is no reason why you cannot work out some things for others – assuming your discrimination is intact.
You need to tell Cindy that spirituality is not about a relationship with someone else. It is about a relationship with oneself. If she can respect that then she is a good match for you. Her statement about coming to see me on her own is manipulative. She is trying to control you. Her wants supercede yours in her mind. If you are meant to sacrifice your wants, why should she not sacrifice hers? When you want love, common sense does not always operate.
If you give in to her you will be totally miserable in a short time. Cindy is very spiritual, but her conditioning is strong. If you run afoul of it, you will suffer. Mark my words.
Tony: 3. It makes sense for me to lower my expenses by reclaiming half of my building from my ex. I think she will think I am flaunting Cindy if I do, but this would not be the reason.
Ram: It is not “flaunting” anything to be practical. It is just common sense. She’s being very practical by using your guilt to get cheap rent. What kind of hold does this woman have on you? I suspect it is guilt. You can absolve yourself of this guilt by doing what is right for you, not by cottoning to her attachments. You do not need the stress of extra expenses when you have an easy solution at hand. You should move in and do your work there. You will show respect for her because you are a respectful person. You don’t have a mean bone in your body. If she doesn’t like it she can find somewhere else to work and someone else to project her dissatisfaction on. If she decides to stay it means she has got over her feelings – which I do not think are very healthy – which is good for her and good for you. If she leaves you can easily rent it for the same money or even more. You are giving her a good deal. If she stays she will be grateful for the good deal because she has realized that she cannot manipulate you anymore. So it is a win/win.
Tony: I imagine that Cindy will want to assert her territoriality with Marsha even more aggressively if I move back in. I will need to learn how to deal with that. When I mentioned to Cindy about possibly going to visit you, she immediately assumed that she will go with me. When I said I may go by myself, she immediately counteracts by resentfully saying that she would then go to visit you another time with other people. She says she doesn’t understand why I would want to go alone. I am thinking I may need a push from you in this department.
Ram: My God, you Italians are such a bunch of emotional saps, Tony! She is not your boss, your mother. You are always welcome to come, Tony, but it is best if you save your money and sort out this love business properly. If Cindy dumps you and if Marsha leaves because you looked after yourself – it is called svadharma and is an absolutely essential qualification for freedom – then you are lucky to be rid of both of them. You are a man. You need to do what is appropriate for a man, man dharma. The whole society is screwed up these days with this blending of roles. Anyway, I feel a rant coming on but will spare you.
This mousing around for the in-and-out and a little pillow talk is not becoming. And you probably will not believe this, but women will love you for taking care of yourself. I had to decline the offer of a relationship a few years ago and when I did it in a polite and friendly but firm way, the woman said, “I love you even more for the way you dumped me.” This desire for love from outside is “natural,” but it is not good unless you follow dharma, because you will hand away your power, your freedom and independence for it. There is a war going on in you between one part and another. Take a stand on the right side. As Krishna said to Arjuna, “Stand up and fight!”
Tony: So Ramji, please be patient, assume I am really stupid in these matters and please make it all clear to me. I want to choose the path that will allow me to live out the truth that I see.
Ram: I know that, Tony. I love you totally. This is tough love, but it is good. I mean no disrespect toward women or toward the women involved. It is all unconscious on their parts, so they cannot be blamed.
Tony: Thank you for being this friend and thank you for taking the time to answer this.
Ram: You are most welcome, Tony. I think you understand that I am going the extra mile with this life counseling. It is not really part of my job description. ☺ But you are worth it, Tony. And you will not be disappointed if you take my words to heart. If you don’t, then I get a good real live soap opera to watch. So it is a win/win for me.