What do you do when your spiritual practice shakes the very foundations of your marriage? What happens when you and your spouse or partner are not “on the same page” spiritually? Is there any relief for the sometimes heartbreaking distance that seems to grow between you and your partner, or even you and some once-close friends, when you deepen devotion to your practice?
How many times have I felt, if only my husband would practice with me…? There are so many great teachings available for couples who practice Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. All those amazing Venus Kriyas! I often think to myself, oh, imagine where our relationship would be and the kind of experiences we would have if only…
I own a copy of the book Divine Relationships by Nam Kaur Khalsa. It sits on my night table. Someday, he and I will read it together.
I see so many inspirational husband and wife teams of musicians and teachers out there from Aykanna to Mirabai Ceiba, or Gurumukh and Gurushabd. In San Diego, Meherbani Kuar and Guru Mantra Singh have been opening their home for decades to any yogi wishing to practice Aquarian Sadhana in the wee hours with community. All these yogi couples seem to have such enlightened relationships compared to the daily head and heart butting that I endure with my husband. He is an attorney who thinks rationally and works long hours. He has no time for yoga practice but maintains unwavering devotion to his legal practice.
I have come to realize that my projection that yoga couples have it easier or more enlightened is an example of my mind entering into its realm of fantasy. The soul knows there is no such thing as an ideal mold of a most healthy relationship that we should all fit into. Instead, as I have learned from my experience, the only growth, healing, improvement, and aspiration I should uphold concerns that of growing my own awareness. I can’t fix my relationship to my husband; instead, allow it to be and grow with my own heart’s light and peace growing into and around the relationship.
I pray he and I may continue to roll through life with all our conflicts out in the open to one another. We are not trying hard to change or improve each other or the way things are. After all, whether there is friction or marital bliss, it’s all energy. As any devoted yogi knows, all energy offers something to work with. Energy is energy, regardless of the positive or negative meanings the mind brings to the matrix.
Every day I re-commit to remaining conscious through the messiness of partnership. I am committed to deepening my awareness because it really matters little what the relationship looks like or feels like. It is how aware I become and how much I am willing to continue to grow.
Just like Yogi Bhajan once said, “It is not the life that matters but the courage we bring to it.” Similarly, about relationships, I would say this: It is not the relationship that matters but the consciousness we bring to it.
So, here are some things that, in my experience, have helped me grow in consciousness through my rocky relationship with my husband.
1. Become Aware of the Shadow Self and Hidden Agenda.
When he expects me to do something, but I do not get it done, whoops! Was I deliberately avoiding that task to create a conflict? Is there some part of my being that is actually longing for us to engage in this conflict again? Are we engaging in this conflict to find a way to finally actually escape it? Is there some good reason why this conflict is here? What purpose is it serving? What lesson is the soul learning and growing through now?
In this situation, I practice the Meditation to Break the Mask.
Practicing this meditation helps me become aware of the tricks my shadow self and hidden agendas play on my mind and in my reality.
2. Pray for and Bless the Loved One.
When he tells me that it is selfish for me to spend so much time meditating, I pray he will come to appreciate how the time I take to meditate serves all. When we get into this kind of tangle, I like to listen to Nirinjan Kaur’s So Purkh.
3. Forgive everything, even before getting hurt.
Practice the Gift of Forgiveness Global Sadhana taught by Krishna Kaur.
My husband comes to bed late at night, and I get up early in the morning to practice. Our schedules conflict. I understand that he gets frustrated, and there seems so little room for intimacy; but that doesn’t make it hurt any less when he accuses me of wasting my time in an absurd practice.
I call out in deep meditation for space to open up for us to spend time together and enjoy a project or outing that reminds us of our essential connection. I call out for strength to help me forgive him for saying hurtful things.
4. Master the Art of Deep Listening.
We’ve been married almost 18 years, so this one takes time. But when he speaks, I listen. Even if my ego and my mind regard what he says as bunk, I listen. When he is speaking, God is speaking, and I had best just sit and listen. Listen not just to what he is saying, but what he isn’t saying and what he has said, what he will say, what he could say, what he should say, what he refuses to say, and what he wishes to say. There are a thousand layers of sound and vibration to tune in to and grow sensitive to when listening to a loved one. Listen ever more deeply, and be neutral. Allow the energy to flow and figure out how to use it wisely. In this situation, I like to repeat the Suniai verses of Japji Sahib for 31 minutes.
May the wisdom I’ve gained from using these tools serve you in some way.