In this letter Swami Kriyananda answers questions about romantic love and how relationships help or hinder us spiritually.
For most people “relationship” implies two separate entities seeking and exploring an underlying oneness that still needs to be affirmed. In superconsciousness, “relationship” is not something to seek or to be created, but something to be realized on ever-deeper levels.
The unity exists already. The relationship enjoyed in that unity, like a great saint delighting in the worship of God, is no longer a search but something to be explored and enjoyed through all eternity.
What is romantic love? Remember, the only real lover is God. There simply IS no love, outside of Him. It doesn’t exist. Thus, romantic love is a colossal delusion. It promises everything, and gives almost nothing, and the little it does give melts away like snowflakes on a hot day.
Human love is a kind of emotional release—fleeting and disappointing. It is fulfilling only when it is self-giving, not grasping; when it seeks fulfillment in the joy of another, not selfishly in one’s own self.
It is fulfilling when it is based primarily on soul-friendship, not on bodily, emotional, or intellectual demands. And it is true only when it is completely unconditional.
Can relationships and the issues that come up lead to higher clarity and knowledge of the Self? Yes, indeed! Intimate relationships, especially, force us to face ourselves. Instead of blaming anyone else, we should think, “What does this inter-personal problem tell me about how I can change and improve myself?
As aids to knowledge of the Self, relationships serve when they teach us to stop thinking of ourselves and to realize that all relationships are reminders of that One Self of which all of us are inextricably a part.
The danger of relationships, spiritually speaking, is that they hold present experiences up so close that we are tempted to confuse them with reality. One of the main benefits of relationships, spiritually speaking, is that the more we can learn to maintain our hearts’ equanimity in the face of every test (and relationship tests are among the greatest that people experience), the more we can remain, as Paramhansa Yogananda often put it, “unshaken amid the crash of breaking worlds.”
Remember, the more we allow ourselves to be elated by joyful emotions, the more we are bound to attract, and to be susceptible to, the tragic emotions. In any relationship, fulfillment will come not in momentary “highs,” but only in calm giving from one’s inner Self to all.
In divine friendship