Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Contemplating Marriage

Sitting across from the dinner table, Liz looks up at me casually and says, “I don’t know if it is my path to be married but if I’m getting married I want Sadhguru to pick my husband.”

She takes another bite of her sweet and sour mock chicken and starts to explain that her guru would pick the perfect partner for her spiritual growth and she doesn’t necessarily know who that would be. “Sadhguru won’t pick someone easy for me but someone who is challenging,” she smiles effortlessly and goes on to pick up another piece of passion red mock chicken with her white chopsticks, “when he marries two people they are bound for life no matter what happens, neither one of them can escape!”

I cannot help myself and let out a burst of laughter while trying so hard to keep my mango milk tapioca not turning into an out of control sprinkler in my mouth.

Marrige?

Is Marriage Based Merely on Love? Can Marriage Become a Path to Our Spiritual Enlightenment?

Ack! Marriage. What a dinner table conversation killer! Next to the list of things NOT TO TALK ABOUT such as religion and politics. Nevertheless I feel fearful yet intrigued. Underneath all that naive pureness of a sweet young lady is an intelligent thoughtful woman.  How refreshing it is to hear a 23-year-old young lady speaking her truth so clearly! Liz understands that most people get married for the wrong reasons. Reasons such as societal structure, economic and social convenience, family pressure in the Eastern culture. Whereas lust, power, romantic addiction occur in the Western culture. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that “probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.” So what is the point?

Not often people use this partnership as a tool for self-transformation. According to Liz, her guru speaks of difference types of people. He preached that marriage is not for everyone. For example, some people, their spiritual path might lie within their creation such as Albert Einstein. Some might find their spiritual path by serving others such as Benjamin Franklin. Others might find their path by sitting underneath a bodhi tree to meditate like the Buddha. While there are distinctive individuals feel an inner pull for marriage at an early age for their spiritual growth. Liz tells me that she is not sure what type of person she is yet. It is difficult to form a partnership with anything or anyone when one does not know oneself fully. Once she can discover herself more deeply then she will know which path to take.

“Don’t pretend you don’t need marriage when your spirit tells you that you do,” sipping on her mango milk tapioca, she looks up at me from the corner of her eyes, “you must follow your inner guidance toward that you fear.”

Fear. That is the big cha-ching! I’m the someone who pretends that I don’t need marriage because I fear it. I fear it more than death itself. I fear that I will fail miserably. I fear that I am not good enough. I fear that I will loss myself. I fear my husband will see my faults. I fear… I want a blueprint for the perfect relationship before I will even consider walking into the marriage dojo. I want to know that I can do it perfectly before I will even allow myself to begin…

Liz somehow is bringing up these fears within me I must face just by her authentic conversation. Listening to her reminds me of interviews of Joseph Campbell. Professor Campbell spoke of A Hero’s Journey as an individual’s growth to self-realization and self-actualization. It is a difficult journey yet it brings such triumph once we take on the challenge and take one step after another. “When people get married because they think it’s a long-time love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity,” said Joseph Campbell. Professor Campbell believed that marriage in an ordeal, an ordeal so intense that it possesses the power to transform both individuals at a profound level. It is a tool for individual transformation.

To me, marriage is shugyo. It is a process of purification of the self toward true expression of the spirit. It takes tremendous courage to walk this path. Author and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fondly put it, “love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.”

“You are right Liz, it doesn’t help to pretend. Lao Tzu said ‘marriage is three parts love and seven parts forgiveness,'” as I gaze down into the last grain of rice on my plate, I let out a burst of laughter, “and I’m going to need a lot of forgiveness upfront!”

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September 7, 2011 - Posted by | Choices, Inner Growth, love, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. Superb piece. I agree that marriage should never be forced or manipulated by lust and that life partners are not for everyone. I would like to see you dig deeper into the derivatives of the subject as you have a unique ability to jump inside the situation and dissect it’s essence. What is the best way for one to come in contact with a life partner when it is known that is the right path?

    -Fan of your work

    Comment by Interesting | September 8, 2011 | Reply

    • Hello mystery fan! ^_^ Thank you for your feedback. It is definitely an interesting topic – where to come in contact with a life partner. From what I’ve seen and experienced, people on this specific spiritual path of such vigor usually will not find their partner at the bar, beach, school or other common dating places. In fact it is not about “finding” at all. When you are open, life will somehow present the person to you – usually at a place that is common to both of your core expression. Given you have already become realized and is in the process of actualization – therefore have a pretty good idea of what your core expression is. The fun part is to recognize that the person who triggers you the most could potentially be that partner. I know. Not an easy path. The key is to see where you might still be stuck – and that is the gift of that partner.

      My sensei recommended a book called “Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck to me years ago. It was very helpful for many and continues to be. I think you might enjoy it.

      Comment by Flo Li | September 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. Reading this Flo, I think you used the word “allow”. I think you used it. Thought I saw it….. Frank

    Comment by Frank P Seidl | September 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Good eye Frank! Yes, you got me. Allow…

      Comment by Flo Li | September 9, 2011 | Reply

  3. A wonderful and thought-provoking post, Flo. I feel like I want to say a lot about marriage…

    I agree that marriage is not for everybody and most people marry for the wrong reasons. One wrong reason in the western culture is marrying out of fear. I mean someone with a low self esteem or not having a sense of who he/she is tends to marry somebody to achieve a sense of security. It is not a healthy relationship to use someone as a “security blanket”. This is one thing that I have observed in my past dating experiences as well as through other people.

    I totally agree that it is very important that people need to have a true sense of who they are before entering into marriage. It includes not worrying about what other partner would think of him or her. Just be yourself and go live your life. The right person will be attracted to you at the right time and at the right place…

    In my opinion, I don’t think that it is good or healthy to have a guru to pick who you should marry. Marriage is a true partnership and a wonderful harmony that requires a very deep trust, commitment and love for others. This includes letting the vulnerable side of you to be seen by your partner and trust that your partner doesn’t hurt you or truly respects or appreciates your true self…

    Personally, I am not afraid of marriage. To me, I feel that marriage is a vehicle that is very empowering and can be a big life changer. It is where you can keep improving yourself and become a better person because of the deep and unconditional love you feel for your partner and wanting to have a best life as possible for yourself, your partner and your family. I feel that the key is keep improving and developing yourself as a person as a way to keep your partner attracting to you.

    Also, there is one thing that I have seen so often… What happens when you start to meet someone and see this person as a potential partner, you start to improve yourself to “impress” that person so you can win his/her heart. Each person keep doing something special for each other to keep this “love attraction” going and going. Until they finally get married, they stop growing and improving themselves… It is like marriage is their “final” destination that they are working towards. Once they arrive at this “marriage” destination, they feel like they have achieved the goal and not feeling like they need to work on themselves to keep that love attraction going. They just let the relationship slide into the abyss after they get married… This happens so often in many marriages that I have seen… I feel that marriage should not be the end of the destination. It should be the beginning of something big for the highest and best harmony of couples…

    I could go on and on… I would have put this to a halt and take off my “philosopher” hat for now…

    Comment by Brian K | September 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Most people do not understand what a guru is – he is a teacher or mentor of far spiritual vision. We in India see guru as nearest to God, who holds the wisdom we donnot see for ourselves. Many successful units have formed this way culturely in the East. It is a personal choice. I am an living example. It does not mean you must do it this way.

      Comment by salah dublin | September 9, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree Brian. Once we try to impress the other person it becomes a manipulation, it is no longer authentic. It is about “never ending improvement” and “never ending growth” for both. It is about the best and highest good for both.

      Comment by Flo Li | September 9, 2011 | Reply

  4. Advice is solid. I m contmplating marriage and am a bit scared nd fearful.

    Comment by Garrette Gordon | September 12, 2011 | Reply

  5. Have you seen the Match Matrix system of relationship compatibility? How it works isn’t stated, yet it boasts a high degree of accuracy for relationship success in four principal areas of compatibility.

    See: http://www.matchmatrix.com

    Comment by Lorin S. | September 15, 2011 | Reply

  6. Flo, I could provide some wisdom on marriage considering that i have been around the block once already! Spirituality and marriage are deeply intertwined. Fear of failure is perfectly understandable but hopefully that won’t keep you from whatever path is in front of you. And sometimes failure can lead to an even greater success!

    Take care!

    Comment by Paul | September 20, 2011 | Reply


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