Will My Relationship Last?


Am I with the person I will spend the rest of my life with?

—Dee, United states


Dear Dee,

There’s a footnote in Paramhansa Yogananda’s (now famous) life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, that says, quoting Buddha to the effect that the reason to love everyone is that, at some point in our past lives, we have known everyone. Now that’s a tough one to swallow, but those who speak of and think deeply about reincarnation are confronted with the likelihood, if not the simple fact, that we have in various lifetimes spent our lives with any number of people. This could be a marriage partner, a child, a parent, a neighbor, a co-worker, and on and on.

I remember hearing Ananda’s founder, Swami Kriyananda, comment at least once that “one should be able to be married to just about anyone.” Again, a tough thought to swallow, but it also points to a simple fact: we are not who we think we are. Nor is any other person in our life. In our energetic and conscious essence, we are each a spark of the Divine essence, however unique in certain ways each is. If we could see not the outer form or personality but the inner essence, it wouldn’t much matter who we were with!

Now, having said these somewhat shocking things, let’s get back to your question. We play many roles, harbor many opinions, and cling to many habits. None of these define us unless we allow them to, at least temporarily. In modern times when we are exposed to many lifestyles and attitudes, the frequency with which individuals change and grow is perhaps greater than in the past. The rate of divorce is the highest, I suppose, it has ever been in recorded history. Change is the one constant left in our lives. Our culture permits divorce and separation and has provided legal and social ways and means to allow people to go their own way with relatively little difficulty.

So how can any of us know “if I am with my life’s partner” or even whether it is “helpful to know if I am with…,” or finally, “Why do I want to know this?”

“Loyalty,” Yogananda taught, “is the first law of God.” Translated: you have to stick with your commitment to find where it leads. This is true with career, health, and relationships. He didn’t mean that commitments can never end. He just meant that you have to take a commitment as far as you can before you can say “It’s finished.” You have to try and make it work. If a couple separates, it is best that the decision be mutual, if possible. Best, too, if it is calm and harmonious, respectful and accepting. Those aren’t rules, just helpful aids so that the resulting karma can be as close to finished as it can be. How many times, one might ask, will I have to live with this person? Answer: until you work it out even-mindedly and cheerfully, seeing God as the Doer, not the limited self. A tall order, I grant you.

See your relationship as a cosmic dance: Shiva and Parvati, so to speak, dancing the drama of life — where differences exist yet harmony prevails. Love means respect and acceptance, as well as mutual service to one another. In the short span of one earthly life, see the longer rhythm of the ages and lifetimes. Dance with your partner so long as the music plays. I don’t mean to be flippant in regard to commitment, I just mean that our egos and bodies are evanescent, and we should avoid attachment and repulsion because these cloud our freedom and our perspective.

Finally: live in but not for the present moment. In truth, this moment is the only reality there is. The past is past and a dim memory; the future is unknown and never arrives, for it’s always just now. Maybe the rest of your life or his/her’s is going to be very short!

Blessings to you in your dance of life!
Nayaswami Hriman