Question

I would like your thoughts on polyamory in some detail. From a spiritual view, I don’t think it’s the ideal setup for a relationship, but I have trouble justifying this beyond it being a mere opinion. People still oppose homosexuality because 'The Bible says so'. But I see gay relationships as legitimate before God because orientation is not a choice, and love and commitment is still possible. If, hypothetically, non-monogamy is consensual with mutual love, should it still be ill-advised?

—Nirmal, UK

Answer

Dear Nirmal,

Trust your own intuition and don’t get caught up too much in reason and logic alone. By contrast, your explanation of why you see “gay relationships as legitimate” is based on your own inner feeling whereas you say yourself that in respect to polyamory “I don’t think it’s the ideal setup for a relationship!” Trust your intuition on this. We live in a time where we must re-discover and re-define what is true and what brings happiness to the human heart. We reject dogmatism and “bible thumping” sectarianism. But, as you ask, how can we know in regards to polyamorism? Your feeling says one thing but logic questions your feeling. This is a good dialogue to have. Except for the risks to one’s emotional life, I’d say, “Try it and see for yourself what is true!” I don’t think that is necessary. Let others try that lifestyle and if they say it works for them, well, fine: (as we like to say in America), “It’s a free country!” But that doesn’t mean it is right for you.

Nor does your reluctance to seek a polyamorist lifestyle matter if it is based on your upbringing or the way you were taught or some maybe “false” notion of right or wrong. You still have to be true to yourself and if “the shoe doesn’t fit,” why wear it and hurt your feet?

My own opinion, and it’s only that (as I have no personal experience in such matters), is that a polyamorous lifestyle would be unsatisfying to all involved. Intimate (romantic and sexual) relationships are necessarily a mixed and complex “bag” of subconscious, conscious and soul-inspired impulses. Life in human form, from a spiritual perspective, is an adventure of Self-discovery: learning, bit by bit, that we are NOT a sexual or romantic BEING, neither male nor female, but, instead, we are the eternal soul made in the image of God. We are, essentially, androgynous. We are drawn into romance by urges implanted in us from many lifetimes in lower life forms (obviously well suited for perpetuation of the species!) and then through many human lives by close relationships that may take time and patience to work out into increasing harmony. Therefore to have, let us say, TWO such relationships simultaneously is to commit a large amount of one’s psychic, conscious, subconscious and spiritual energies to such a degree that would be confusing, complex and likely generating even more karma rather than working OUT karma. Again, one cannot say this with certitude but I would simply say: Why? What’s the point? Is it about sexual adventure? Constant romance? How wearying all this would become either quickly or over time?

The natural course of human love is to start with excitement (romance/sex) and move steadily towards friendship, calm, steady, partnership: mature and respectful. The end game of romance is friendship and respect. Both God and nature seem to have implanted this natural cycle into human life. The only historical parallel (that I know of) would be men with concubines! What a sad and dreary testimony to maturity and human longing for love THAT is!

Well, anyway, “stick to your guns” as an American might say. Trust your intuition on polyamorism (sic?). If it doesn’t appeal or make sense to you, you don’t need to consider it an option! One simply CANNOT judge it spiritually speaking because it’s individual. Human lives have plenty of “triangles” but these are not the same as consensual “triangles.” In all cases, however, there’s karma being created or worked out or both. So, there is no LAW only your own inner moral and intuitive feeling. And, if you make a mistake, learn, and move on.

Ultimately human love is an incredible compromise with divine, unconditional, and eternal Love. In the beginning human attraction promises much but can only be depended upon to disappoint us. In this we can trust the words of Jesus (repeated by all the great spiritual teachers down through the ages): “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and will; love thy neighbor AS thy Self!” Human love impulses are implanted to awaken the soul with the memory and desire for perfect divine love. Apart from perpetuating the species on earth, divine love is not only the ONLY answer to our need but the only, real purpose for our deep seated impulse to love and be loved.

Blessings to you!

Nayaswami Hriman