I’ve avoided the topic of love on this blog like it’s a plague. Not transcendental love (prema), but the romantic relationships formed here in this material world. This is the one area where I find it hard to maintain objectivity. So I will try to keep this as level-headed as I can.
What love is not
When you fall in love, do you go “This person will serve my sense gratification well !” But isn’t that really what lies behind falling in love? If you don’t think this way, does your partner? We put a lot of expectations on our partner and how a relationship is supposed to be. You may want the partner to love you more than you love yourself. Then you need to begin loving yourself before entering a relationship, because the likelihood that it’s the wrong way to go is high. Do you need to relieve the loneliness? It’s very likely you will feel lonely even in the relationship. If there is some part of you that you don’t like or find difficult, a relationship will not mend it in the long term. It’s excellent in the short term, but then slowly something else happens that brings out what we don’t want. On the other hand, relationships are excellent opportunities for self-work. We will see that relationships doesn’t automatically heal what’s broken before entering it, and the stakes are usually a lot higher while in it.
Know thyself !
If you don’t know yourself, it will be hard to find the right partner for you. We are spiritual seekers, and what does that entail in real life? For me this comes as an insistent nagging. I need time alone/space to do some mental maintenance. I need space for my spiritual practices. If I don’t get it, the result is….. not good. Exhaustion, fatigue, irritability, anger. So when I (an introvert) was in a relationship with an extrovert, I was in trouble. He didn’t understand my huge need for space and time, and therefore he was unable to give it to me. Even flat out telling him I needed alone time, didn’t help.
And the insistent nagging just became stronger and stronger. We can’t turn off the spiritual side of us, it’s there and it needs to be fed. In the end I knew that this relationship was poisonous to me and I’ve concluded that most relationships fall within this category.
It’s so important to understand our needs and then have a partner that can respect and help us maintain that need. Relationships are hard, even if both are spiritual seekers. I don’t think it’s an easy walk.
Relationship isn’t (only) about love, it’s about personal growth
Do you have the ability to take a problem, and ask yourself, how do I solve it? Then do it.
Do your partner have this ability? Does the partner understand that if you have a problem, then (s)he has a problem?
If I’m the same person in five years as I am now, I have failed. The test of development is if you have changed (to the better). As a spiritual seeker, we are dedicated to change. Especially change of ourselves. If we enter a relationship with a person who isn’t spiritually inclined, then chances are we will outgrow the other person. We will not necessarily carry what the other person lacks, it will only make the distance much more obvious.
Even if the other person is dedicated to change, my impression is that if you are serious in your spiritual life; you will change so much more and so much quicker than the average person. You have Krishna on your side, hard at work on changing you. If you’re not in awe over the changes He has done with you so far in life, then you’re not serious enough. But that doesn’t stop Krishna.
I don’t know what a spiritual relationship is, but I bet it’s one where you both will increase your devotion towards Radha-Krishna. Imagine being in a relationship where both brings out the best in each other. Imagine both understanding that your partner actually isn’t the most important person in your life – RadhaKrishna is. Imagine both having this understanding, and then both taking joy in serving RadhaKrishna together. Imagine appreciating and serving the spirituality in the other person. And getting the same in return.
I have never experienced this, but this is how I think it should be. Relationships in this world has pretty much made me uninterested in entering a new one. I’ve learned by experience, but unfortunately I also know that the simmering interest isn’t scorched out of me. It’s there somewhere, but well out of view. If I never enter a relationship again, that will be fine with me. I can’t see how a romantic relationship in this world in any way will serve me. Though I do hope that Krishna aims to help me get closer to Him, so this need will not manifest again.
That is the only way I can imagine this working out. By letting my relationship to Gurudeva and RadhaKrishna go deeper.