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Accommodating Your Spiritual Self or Your Ego?
Jane: Hi, James. I have a small disturbance, and if you have time I’d love your advice, please…
James: Let’s see if you love it after you hear it. ☺
Jane: I’ll be back at my parents’ house soon enough. One might wonder what a mature young woman is still doing living at home regularly…
James: Mature? Young?
Jane: However, I can’t see fit splurging on rentals that, truth be told, I can’t always afford. Luckily I have a friend I can stay with some of the time next year so I won’t be in my parents’ house full-time. I’m not sure if I have ever told you but I’ve had chronic respiratory problems since I was born. Anyway, I got over that and I am the limitless Self.
James: I’m not sure how you can be the limitless Self and have respiratory problems.
Jane: But my parents are drinkers and smokers. They are lovely people… but my mother likes to smoke in the house. It makes me so mad; it often prevents my sleep. I’ve tried telling her several times how much this upsets me but it doesn’t work at all. Okay now, must I practice accommodation due to the fact that she is ignorant and it is her house?
James: Yes. She’s ignorant? She just likes to smoke and drink, that’s all. She’s an enjoyer like you, the difference being that you enjoy different things.
Jane: Is there any way I can highlight what I feel is ahimsa and adharmic in this given situation?
James: Tell her that you think she is inconsiderate of your needs. Of course you haven’t had this conversation, because she is attached to this habit and will say that you are not considerate of her needs. So it’s a zero-sum standoff. There is no right and wrong in this situation, just different points of view. It’s visesa dharma, not sva or samanya dharma, so ahimsa doesn’t apply.
Jane: My practice right now is working on assimilating the sattvic values that give freedom and peace of mind, which allows me to be with my family, not judging them, bravely renouncing the rajasic and tamasic habits they love. And establishing myself as beyond the gunas. And enjoying life, whatever the situation may be.
Perhaps I’ve answered my questions, and you can just respond with a thumbs-up, as I appreciate the value of your time. And maybe my fears around my family life I have to stand up fight them and axe to shreds with the sword of detachment. But my God, cigarette smoke makes me furious.
James: How about renouncing the tamasic habits you love? Who are you to judge your parents? They are what they are. They love you enough to take you in every time you pitch up there. They are the saints, not you. Anyway, it’s hard to be brave when you don’t have to be brave. I’d say bravely get your own accommodations. Save yourself the trouble of not judging them by not living with them. Love doesn’t mean that you have to live with the love object.
At the expense of irritating your ego, I think tamas is at work here. Think of the following as tough love. It seems like you are guilty of the advaita shuffle, using a sense of virtue to avoid looking at the deeper issue. Can’t you see the self-righteous arrogance? Why not get a regular job, earn proper money and get a small flat? Your looks are only going to last for so long; the sacred portals of middle age are beckoning and the hippie yoga lifestyle wears a bit thin once you’re in your forties, fifties, etc. This issue is a consequence of the right livelihood dharma.
Karma yoga is right attitude and right action. The right attitude doesn’t work for long in adharmic situations. Actually you are doing an Arjuna, justifying the wrong course of action with noble ideas. So, if you value peace of mind, you should move on.
Why not marry, start a family and solve the itinerant lifestyle issue? Get a decent, hard-working stable guy and settle down. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Jane. It’s time to quit whining and grow up. But you don’t want to do that, because you would have to abandon shagging the exciting young counterculture guys with stiff dicks who don’t know what they want and knock about working for 300 dollars a month, sleeping on couches in communal flats and having their way with hippie babes. Think John and Frank, etc.
The other option is to become a proper sannyasi, not a lifestyle sannyasi, develop a thicker skin (titiksa) and a sense of compassion for others. That’s accommodating your spiritual self, not your ego.
Jane: I love you, James!
James: I hope you feel the same after this little rap on the knuckles. ☺
Jane: Love to you and Sundari. Wishing you much peace…