I fear I am becoming increasingly attracted physically to a friend of mine who is not on the spiritual path. However, I don’t want to pursue this relationship as my goal is to seek God.
I cannot stop thinking about this individual as the desire is strong; it can therefore be distracting and even upsetting at times.
How can one, in a sense, "fall out of love"? God is my priority; thus, I want to either remain single, or, if it’s right, be with someone whos desire is to progress on the path.
The magnetic attraction between men and women is fundamental to creation itself.
Inevitably, if men and women freely associate, sooner or later that magnetism will spark. That is why renunciates of all orders are extremely careful about their relationships with the opposite gender. The danger of attraction is always there.
I am talking about more than the propagation of the species. The soul longs for the pearl of great price: union with God. The body and the ego are willing to settle for much less!
Fortunately, relationships can be a learning experience. Alas, many people learn only from suffering. Ideally, though, human love, selflessly expressed, can be a gateway to divine love.
For that promise to be realized, however, one must be guided by God, not merely overwhelmed by emotional and physical longing. Patience and self-restraint are needed. Not popular concepts these days!
The answer I am going to propose is radical and perhaps not what you were hoping to hear. The way to overcome this kind of attraction is to starve it to death, to remove all opportunity to fan the flames.
You haven’t described the circumstances of your friendship. Do you work together? Is he part of a larger circle of friends? How awkward would it be suddenly to have no contact with him?
Awkward or not, however, I urge you seriously to consider it, or at least go as far as you can in that direction.
Don’t be alone with him, don’t talk intimately with him, don’t flirt or accept flirtatious interactions with him, don’t fantasize about him. You have to be very stern with yourself. If you fail at times, don’t bother to feel guilty. Just start over and try again. Sooner or later you will succeed.
Pray to God and Guru to help you.
The kind of casual alliances that men and women often make these days have a profoundly disruptive effect on their individual magnetism. Through sexuality, and other kinds of emotional intimacy, their auras blend.
If there is commitment and compatibility on a higher level — and not merely physical attraction — then that blended aura strengthens both individuals.
If that compatibility is not there, such as this case, where you are serious about your spiritual life and this man has no spiritual life, then each individual “signal,” so to speak, is clouded by the presence of the incompatible other.
This is especially unfortunate if you are trying to attract a soul companion. Your magnetism, which determines your karmic destiny, is now a combination of your spiritual energy and his non-spiritual energy.
Your ability, then, to attract a true soul companion is diminished.
That is why in order draw a high level relationship, one should practice “perfect celibacy.” This is more than chastity. It is keeping one’s consciousness uncorrupted by inappropriate liaisons.
Ah, for such a perfect world.
Now, back to reality.
It is interesting that you speak first of physical attraction, then about wanting to “fall out of love.” Many people consider attraction and love the same thing. Far from it.
Attraction is based on desire. Love is based on respect. If your life is built on spirit, and his is not, as time passes you are going to find it more and more difficult to respect him.
If you want to “control the feelings of the heart” forget about romanticism and concentrate on stark reality.
Imagine in concrete detail what it would be like to bind yourself to someone who does not follow the spiritual path.
Imagine yourself wanting to get up early to meditate while he wants you to stay late in bed with him. Imagine the television blaring with shows that emphasize nothing but sensual and material values. And him unwilling to turn the TV off, bewildered even as to why you want it off.
Imagine deciding with such a person where to go on vacation. To be extreme about it, shall it be Las Vegas or a spiritual retreat? How shall you spend your Saturday nights? Who will you invite over for dinner? Will you serve meat or eat vegetarian? How much liquor will be consumed in your home?
Then bring children into the picture. See yourself trying to guide them to meditate while your “life companion” shows by example, and perhaps also by precept that it is not a pursuit to be taken seriously.
Think about trying to take your children for religious education, or spiritual inspiration, and their father refusing to go along, or making it clear that he is only doing it to avoid a fight with you.
Well, I could go on and on.
I am not meaning to be unsympathetic. I understand that one can’t always control the feelings of the heart. But one can make a valiant effort not to act on those feelings, to do everything you can to cool the fires of attraction rather than letting those flames consume you and your spiritual aspirations as well.
Above all, of course, pray to God and Guru to help you.