Help with Friendship
Hi, I always find it hard to progress with friendships beyond the first initial contact. How do you earn people‘s respect, friendship, and caring attitude? How do you learn which people are worth your time and which are using you? Or which are jealous of you. I am considered an attractive female and extremely sensitive and shy. This combination always makes it hard for me to open up discussions or immerse myself in conversations where people don't ask me questions or I am asking all the questions etc.
Our dear Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, wrote a wonderful little booklet called Secrets of Friendship.
My suggestions here are based on those “Secrets”.
First of all you must be a friend. You can do this by demanding nothing from others but instead showing appreciation. Don’t worry about getting friends to listen to you, actively listen to them. Take action when a friend needs help.
Next (very important) never belittle a friend’s enthusiasms. Hold kind thoughts even when there are misunderstandings. Be true to your word, your promises and commitments. Be respectful of the opinions of others even if you do not agree.
Last of all, try to feel God’s love behind the blessing of friendship and hold up the very highest in your friends. Try to see others as God sees you; with love.
Dating an Atheist
Dear Nayaswami Hriman, I’ve recently started dating a man, who as it turns out, is an atheist. We’re still getting to know each other, but I feel like this bit of info has thrown me off. It’s not that I feel superior because of my meditation practice (which he says he’d like to learn) but I feel like I am constantly looking for flaws in him now. Like a bad temper, unkindness, horns(!!) I am praying for help and guidance, but feel like something’s “stuck” in my heart! What should I do? :(
As Paramhansa Yogananda (and many others) have said, “Your beliefs won’t save you.” This is as true for religionists as for atheists! Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson once put it, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear your words.”
How often do we see orthodox believers who believe all the “right” things but who treat others unkindly or with judgment?
So, your friend may say he’s an atheist, but what he is in his character and consciousness are more important than his beliefs (or in this case, lack of belief). You are right to observe his behavior and attitudes, though one shouldn’t expect perfection in another person if you haven’t achieved it yourself!
The dividing line is on the basis of respect. If, as a self-proclaimed atheist, he is dismissive, antagonistic, and disrespectful of your (and others’) sincerely held spiritual practices and beliefs, I’d call the match finished! If he’s closer to being an agnostic (one who says, simply, he doesn’t know whether there is a God etc. etc., and may even be open to it but prefers to keep his distance from any assertion that, to him, is unprovable), and assuming other positive and compatible qualities, I’d say carry on and see how the relationship unfolds.
May the Light of Wisdom guide your steps towards truth and true love,
Meditation Can Help to Know Whether a Relationship is Right
When I fall in love with someone (It‘s a new feeling for me. My last relationship was 6 years ago, and this is only a few months old.) I have noticed I want to be around that person all the time, and I imagine my future with this person. How do I meditate to help me see my path of life I have chosen is right and true?
It’s interesting that you phrase your new relationship as “Falling in love.” In a new relationship of any kind I would suggest you use this phrase instead, “Getting to know you.” Whether it’s simple friendship or a romantic relationship, it’s best to take the time to get to know the other person first in a number of different ways, rather than assuming that something more is going on. I would assume an attitude of friendship as a basis, then try to have various kinds of interactions with that person such as working with them, enjoying entertainment, etc. Sexual energy can very much distort what is most important in a relationship, so it’s best to get through the initial energies of finally finding someone who may be “the one.” Take the time to see which direction this new connection is going in. Do you really like them as a person and is there good compatibility “chemistry” between you? Are you moving in the same direction spiritually? Do they meditate? How do you each feel about family life, social life, and spending time apart? Will you enjoy spending time with their family (because you most likely will!)?
Meditate on things such as this and try to be honest with yourself about how you really feel about this person, not what you wish you felt. Have a variety of experiences with them over time to see if there is something more there in the way of a relationship.
Regular, daily meditation will help you be more impersonal and discriminating about what is actually happening between the two of you. Each day in meditation hold up the relationship with this person in God’s light and ask that He bless and guide you in it.
Learning to Love Is Not a Passive Process
Hi Ananda Members!
By God’s grace I get to know the real intentions/feelings of people around me, no matter how hard they try to hide from me or others. And it so happens that time also reveals those things sooner or later. Now my problem is I am always silent and just watch everything instead of speaking out and I do suppress my feelings and anger which causes trouble to me in many ways. Please suggest how can I best handle such revelations and still maintain my calm. Thank you.
Dear A Singh,
Yogananda often said that we are here to learn to love. We are not here to correct the behavior of others. As we deepen spiritually we can often more clearly see the faults and selfish motivations of those around us. Our challenge is to learn to give them our unconditional, non-judgmental love regardless of their behavior.
Learning to love is not a passive process. You can learn to transmute your repressed feelings into action. Be of service to others with enthusiasm and thoughtful kindness. Do not ask yourself if they deserve your love. God loves us unconditionally. Love others with the same impartiality.
When we learn to love others unconditionally, we become channels for His love. As channels, we are deeply blessed by what flows through us.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Is Premarital Sex Wrong?
I know this question has been asked frequently. But is premarital sex wrong? If a man and woman love each other intend to marry — and do it moderately, and are have spiritual inclination.
A happily married man told me that he was spiritually inclined and had prayed to God to give him the right partner. He found her and indulged in it but not frequently and then married her and they are leading a happy life.
Perhaps the best way to approach this question is to put it in perspective of what is the ideal and then see how that plays out in the world we live in!
The ideal is to not let sex be a strong emphasis in a relationship, and even more so, before there is a commitment such as marriage. It would be better to have the emphasis on divine friendship with one’s partner which allows a deeper and more fulfilling relationship to unfold; one that merges the personal love for one another into the one love of God. If a couple can redirect their energies from sex to a more uplifting love then certainly that will help the couple grow spiritually.
But for many couples this isn’t an easy proposition! If a couple still feels drawn to have premarital sex then hopefully it is with an attitude of including God in that experience. A suggestion for any couple developing their relationship is to try to meditate together so the bond between them is strengthened at a deeper level; if that energy is strong then the magnetism of God’s presence will be with them and they will tune into what is appropriate from their own inner experience.
How to Live “Non-Attached” Wisely
How does one practice non-attachment with those that don’t, or can’t, understand the concept without getting drawn in to their drama?
If I understand correctly, your question is: “If I am non-attached, some don’t understand, but react emotionally. How should I handle this?”
Especially where close relationships are concerned, we have to learn to become mature. Swami Kriyananda established a Maturity Principle: “Maturity is the ability to relate appropriately to other realities than one’s own.”
A wife might need your signs of affection, sometimes often. Outwardly showing non-attachment might be the worst thing for her present reality. A friend might need to feel that you stand by him, and needs to hear it. Your outer signs of non-attachment may just make him feel that you are not really there for him, and he might react. Another friend may perceive nothing but lack of love whenever you outwardly demonstrate non-attachment, growing upset.
Renunciation is mainly inside, as non-attachment is inside. Outwardly we need to relate “appropriately” to people, just in the way they are.
True non-attachment is never cold or indifferent. Love is a higher principle than non-attachment and should infuse it. Yogananda stated, “I am divinely attached to all,” meaning “I really care for the well-being of all.” And he showed it, even though he was fully non-attached deep inside. If people feel your love, there will be no “drama”.
In divine friendship, Jayadev
Relationships and Renunciation
Hi there. I have what for me is a hard question. Is it falling to the desire of sex if its just my girlfriend who asks for it ? I have said no many times without haste but I don’t want to ruin this relationship because of sex. I feel God's love in her. What should I do? Because I don’t desire it anymore. But I can’t let her suffer, can I? I can’t. What to do? I follow these teachings of your Master very strictly myself.
It’s common for a sincere spiritual seeker to want to leave sex behind. However, when two people share a committed relationship, the needs of each person must be respected. Sex is a powerful desire, and if one of the partners has that desire, it’s quite normal, and the other person should honor it. It doesn’t have to be a constant thing, after all. Just remember when having sex to take God with you. Give love and make sure that the occasion uplifts both of you.
There Is No Conflict Between Meditation and Service
Is it all right for a person on spiritual path (who does meditation regularly) to neglect the wishes of his children, wife (like go for a movie and do activities with children which may not be of any spiritual value but may provide joy and happiness to them). I have an understanding that spirituality is to become one with God. Also, all Gurus say God is in everyone.
Your question is one that has been asked by sincere seekers for millennia: Does living only for God require one to distance oneself from all worldly activities?
Paramhansa Yogananda, and our line of gurus, stressed, especially for householders, the importance of nishkam karma (desireless action) or “being in the world but not of it.” How does one live in the world but be not of it? The key is to adopt an attitude of service, to perform ones duties lovingly, faithfully, and responsibly, not for self-gratification, but for the benefit of others.
Developing an attitude of service is as important as meditation. You might say service is meditation in action. Like meditation, serving others breaks down our ego’s hold on our awareness and behavior. Participating fully in raising children, with the attitude of selfless service, is a golden opportunity to learn how to serve and love everyone — an opportunity to discover the presence of God in all activity.
There is no conflict between meditation and service. Meditation and service go together naturally. A genuine attitude of service helps one go deep in meditation and deep meditation helps one’s service become ever more selfless.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
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