Meaningful friendships



Over the years on the spiritual path, it has become harder for me to have friendships with other people. I don't judge anyone for being worldly or anything like that, and keep a friendly attitude towards everyone, but I can't retain meaningful connections except with my wife. I'm not even sure if it is a normal state or something to be fixed.

Thank you,


—Dm., Europe


If you don’t know anyone besides your wife who shares your values, then friendship is more challenging.

Still, a man whose only friend is his wife can become, as the years pass, increasingly contractive, isolated, and perhaps even a burden on her.

And what happens to you if your wife dies? Look around at long-married couples where the woman has remained engaged with people, and the man has not, and you’ll see a common end point of the road you describe. See if it looks attractive to you.

Of course, if you are floating in God, then none of this applies. But if you still have lessons to learn about expanding your heart, seeing and serving God in others, then perhaps you should try to form more meaningful connections with other people.

Yes, the devotee should seek his fulfillment first from God, but we also have to ground our spiritual practice in the cold light of day. It is difficult to see oneself objectively. Relationships are the mirror in which our faults and virtues are reflected.

Friendship is a way of purifying the heart, and blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Unless one is highly advanced, Sri Yukteswar says, one simply cannot attain this purification all on one’s own. That is why the heart is compelled, as he put it, to relate to others.

You ask if your lack of friendships is “normal” or something that needs to be fixed.

It is normal in the sense that a devotee may not share the values of many of the people around him. But to isolate oneself may not be spiritually beneficial. So if you can’t find kindred spirits, perhaps you can expand your heart through serving groups or individuals in need.

One way or another, I would encourage you to become meaningfully engaged with more people than just your wife. The spiritual path is a long distance run. And even though you feel fine now, the direction you are going may not lead, in the end, to your goal.