The following excerpts are from the book Spiritual Relationships by Paramhansa Yogananda (titled How to Love and Be Loved in India).
To have friends, you must manifest friendliness. If you open the door to the magnetic power of friendship, a soul or souls of like vibrations will be attracted to you. You attract those who are like you. That is the law of vibration. The more friendly you become toward all, the greater will be the number of your real friends.
Respect and love grow among friends with time. The greater the mutual service, the deeper the friendship. True friendship consists in being mutually useful, in offering your friends good cheer in distress, sympathy in sorrow, advice in trouble, and material help in times of real need. Friendship consists in rejoicing in the good fortune of your friends, and sympathizing with them in adversity. Friendship gladly foregoes selfish pleasures or self-interest for the sake of a friend’s happiness, without consciousness of loss or sacrifice, and without counting the cost.
The greatest secret of preserving matrimonial life lies in the art of self-control. Learn to love your wife or husband more on the spiritual plane, and associate with her or him as a close friend, without constantly focusing on the physical plane.
If you can do that, you will win the greatest of all battles in keeping your spouse inwardly loyal, respectful, and loving toward you.
How to Select Your Life Companion
- Never marry for money or social position.
- Do not marry under the stress of emotion.
- Do not let love of sense pleasures rule over your wisdom.
How to Create a Lasting Marriage
- Give serious thought before deciding to marry.
- Seek complete unity—real soul marriage consists in an inborn, undying, unconditional mutual liking, which may be felt at first sight, or may be the result of protracted divine companionship and courtship. In soul union, unconditional love between married couples grows deeper and deeper.
- Seek divine love in human expression.
- Attract your partner by spiritual magnetic qualities of wisdom, understanding, thoughtfulness, presence of mind, true learning, and all-round efficiency.
The spiritual way to choose the right companion is to affirm deeply after meditation: “Heavenly Father, bless me that I choose my life companion according to Thy law of perfect soul union.” If you practice this affirmation for six months with deep faith, you will marry your right companion, or the Divine Father will bring about sudden unfavorable circumstances which completely prevent your wrong marriage.
Spiritual Family Life
Real family happiness has its foundation on the altar of understanding and kind words. In order to be kind, it is not necessary to agree about everything, but if you disagree, always remain calm and courteous. It is human weakness to get angry and scold, but it shows divine strength to be able to hold the reins of the wild steeds of your temper and speech. No matter what the provocation, behave yourself, and by calm silence, or by genuine kind words, show that your kindness is more powerful than the other person’s ugliness.
Parents should look upon their every child as an honored temple, where their conjugal love can be purified and expanded, to become reflected, in time, in filial love. Parents should never scold their children before others. If they are harsh or unkind to them, owing to lack of self-control or to bad habits in themselves, they will surely prevent God from expanding His love from those parental hearts to the hearts of their children.
Bringing Spirit into Home, Work, and Play
Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi, Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide
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