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Keeping the Company of Like Minds
Lana: Hello, Sundari and Ramji. My name is Lana and I was first introduced to Ramji on Salt Spring Island a few years ago by Darryl. I will tell you that this was a turning point in my life. I have since purchased and read Ramji’s book and listened to and watched many videos, most recently reading the satsangs online. I have even gone so far as writing a small book as a morning ritual to document my journey, validating my own experience in light of Vedanta’s teachings. I hope to share this with you when I feel it is complete; however, this is not why I am writing.
I seem to be at a place of confusion. As I sat for many months quite contented… I should back up… I am the mum of two children (a five-year-old and a seven-year-old) and I have a partner. I am inclined to take on a lot more than required (rajasic) and at 42 years of age do not have the same energy levels as I used to.
I have determined through my investigation into Vedanta’s teachings that simplifying my life would prove the most effective means of getting peace of mind (it has indeed). I home school and have two great kids; however, I am not in the least bit interested in socializing with other mums, families, etc. I used to be a very social person and used liquor or marijuana to bypass my shyness. I no longer drink or smoke and have a clean diet as I know this to be the key to peaceful parenting. I do enjoy a one-on-one visit with other families every now and then; however, I do not go out of my way to make it happen.
My question (without getting too much into a story about Lana) is about my ego keeping me away from others, or am I correct in the enjoyment of myself and my family? I find socializing exhausting and uninteresting. My kids are also very shy, do not beg to play with others as they have each other; however, societal pressures seem to dictate that one needs socializing. Of course, I know this it not true but I am at a confusing moment on my journey. The critical ego, the judging ego, is keeping it locked up.
Any thoughts would be helpful. It seems to be getting the better of me. I might also add that my relationship with my partner is not intimate.
Love to you both and I do appreciate and thank you with all my heart for sharing the teachings with me and so many others.
Sundari: Hello, Lana. As you have pointed out, all lifestyle issues must be addressed if peace of mind is your aim.
It is very normal for people who are qualified for self-knowledge to find mixing with others socially trying.
Whom we associate with and what these associations consist of will be determined by whether or not we have sattvic values. Once the mind has been purified by self-knowledge, mixing with very rajasic or tamasic people will be difficult, even with the karma yoga attitude. This is because rajas and tamas are painful for a sattvic mind, even when one is not identified with them. When rajas and tamas appear in the mind through association with others, the mind has to modify to accommodate these energies which are highly uncomfortable and contagious.
While this may be necessary in situations where one cannot avoid certain people, like family members or work associates, it is best if this contact is kept to a minimum whenever possible. Keeping the company of highly rajasic or tamasic people is called kusanga, keeping the company of impure minds, which is the opposite of satsanga, keeping the company of like-minded or pure minds. It is often difficult to control contact with family and work environments; however, friends and romantic relationships, because they are voluntary, are a good indicator or reflection for how rajas and tamas play out in the mind. There is a saying which captures this truth: show me who you love and I will show you who you think you are.
The reason for not fitting in with the social norm is very simple, really: when one is more interested in sattva and in freedom from bondage to objects, it is difficult to relate to people who are object-referenced and unconscious of the energies that run them. Your values are different. It is possible to relate to people normally when one sees everyone as the self but nevertheless it can be tedious at best and disturbing at worst. You need to go with what works for you. Most people seek the company of others because they are uncomfortable in their own company and so seek distraction.
We live in a world where entertainment is considered essential to happiness and the options available for this are mindblowing. I call them “weapons of mass distraction” which is what most entertainment boils down to because what most people are trying to achieve through entertainment is distraction from or a desire to end the sense of emptiness, loneliness, isolation and boredom, all rajas and tamas, ignorance. Again, it is not a question of making entertainment wrong or that having fun is contrary to peace of mind. It all depends on what one calls fun and if one has to be entertained to be happy, this is a sure sign of rajas and tamas out of balance with sattva.
Peace of mind is not something you can gain because it is the nature of the mind, which is revealed when the mind is purified of excessive rajas and tamas. You are clearly on the right path and the knowledge is working for you, but you have some issues to attend to on the personal level, as do most people. As much as Vedanta states clearly that freedom is dis-identifying with the person as your primary identity, this does not mean that the person stops existing. One has to unravel and understand the conditioning that runs the person in the light of self-knowledge in order to be free of it. This is why the teaching on the three gunas is so very important. Make sure you understand fully how these three energies play out and manifest in your life. There is much on the website on this topic as on many others.
It sounds like your relationship with your partner is not all that it could be; a lack of intimacy has many possible causes. Usually it is an indicator that something in the relationship is wrong or missing. Intimacy is a lot more than sexual intercourse; it has to do with paying attention to the person you are with and seeing them as they are and responding to what they need to feel loved. Love does not thrive if you have stopped paying attention to each other as one does not love what one does not pay attention to.
I hope this helps and please write again if you would like any further assistance.
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~ With much love, Sundari