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July 15, 2021

Relationships and Spirituality - Can You Commit To Both?

Relationships and Spirituality - Can You Commit To Both?

In this episode, The Bearded Mystic Podcast discusses how one can be committed to a spiritual life as well as living a fully-involved family life. This episode gives hints on what one can do to maintain balance and still excel in spirituality. 

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Transcript

Hello and welcome to the eighth episode of the Bearded mystic podcast. And I'm your host Rahul N Singh. Thank you for joining today and taking out the time to the listen or watch this podcast episode. today we're going to be discussing about spirituality and its impact that it has on relationships. Now, because we have to keep things in a more balanced approach. We're going to look at the positive impacts and we're going to look at the more challenging impacts. We'll try to understand the true impact that it has. What are the positive impacts? That spirituality has on family life or relationships. Well with your family and your loved ones, your friends, your work colleagues, they find you a bit more calm. Yeah. You're more composed, you know exactly what to do in this situation. They can trust you to be the one that won't get angry or agitated or nervous, or will have fear. You'd be someone that would be calm, collected, and someone who would just be a great stabilizing force within either the household or the friendship circle. You're one of those type of people. You lose a lot of anger. Now, that's my personal experience. I can say this because when I was growing up, if you ask my parents, I had a very short temper. I used to moan a lot and yeah, not a great person, in my opinion. I've seen a lot of difference after I've been more intense through my spiritual practice. I've noticed that a lot within myself that I tend to be more calm. I'm not saying I don't get a temper sometimes I do, but it's not as frequent as it used to be. My parents can be testimony to that. And then today, my wife can tell you if I'm as calm as I, as, as I say. You do lose a lot of anger. You do lose having a short temper, it seems to just dissolve away. When you meditate or when you inquire into who you are spiritually, you're able to just calm things down. time slows down for you and that's because we're giving a lot of attention to the present moment. When we're doing that, we are actually rewiring, in my opinion, I think I am rewiring my mind. To respond whenever a certain emotion arises. It's not that I don't feel anger at something or a situation or something didn't go my way. It's not that anger doesn't happen, it's there, but I just choose not to be angry. Sometimes I do get angry because I think that's the best choice to do. As most of the time, probably isn't still, but I still do get angry, but that's now my choice rather than saying, oh, I don't know why I got angry. There's a lot more time taken with every emotion. You're seen as someone that people can trust as well. Some people may have secrets or some people have gone through certain trauma and they feel they can speak to you. They feel that they can speak to you openly about what they feel and that there won't be any aspect of judgment or you will not condemn them for anything. You'll be that person who will listen, attentively and people will trust you with whatever's going on in their life. That in itself is a great service to others because you're helping them deal with their issues by making them talk about it. Until they talk about it, they won't know the reality of the issues, right? At the moment, it's all been here in the mind and they'd been talking about it constantly and consistently. Now when they talk to someone else, they're able to see it from a different perspective. Another one is you gain an awesome sense of humor and that's because you're very observant of everything around you, you're very observant of what's going on within you at the same time, and that makes you more present. So when you're more present, you notice things a lot more. Due to that you tell jokes and stuff and you find things funny. I love watching comedy standup because I just love the way they raise an observation about human beings and those situations are so funny because they're relatable. These positive impacts, I don't know if they're for, like, for others, but definitely when I look at that, I can relate that to my own self. Again, with all humility, I still have a lot of work to do. Another one is that you're more intimate with your better half. What I mean by that is you're more present with them and you're more involved with them in terms of just being with them. I'm not saying that you're involved until you have to check their phone or all that stuff. I don't mean it that way. I mean, you just more loving and more caring and you do things just because you want to do them out of love. There's nothing in return. There's no expectation of a reward or anything like that. So you're more intimate in that way. You're also able to witness your ego a lot more. This is one that has really helped me in my spiritual practice is when I witness my ego right in front of me and it is doing the silliest things and I'm just watching it. Sometimes I do go with the ego and I travel where it takes me, but sometimes I'm like, what are you doing? Why are you even doing this? Are you really me? One of the positive aspects is that you're able to witness the ego. Therefore you're able to not commit to so many egoic responses or reactions, which again, harmonizes relationships , which is really important. And you understand your desires better. This for me has been a tough one because I have felt that the more I've entered on the spiritual path, the more I've lessened my desires. My desires have seem to be minimalized, but I will say that I do have big desires, but if they're not met, I won't feel that I've ruined my life or my life has now been broken into many pieces. Or my life is crap. I don't think that at all. I think if I get what I want. Nice. If I don't it's okay. I'm not spiritually bypassing. I'm just understanding that that desire doesn't make me who I am. Yeah, those are add-ons to me, nothing more. They do not become me if I get those desires. So desires, you understand them better, you want less. It's interesting because in the culture today it's like a lot of people want to hoard things and grab as much as they can. Just have a look at what happened when the pandemic hit and people thought they wouldn't get toilet roll. People's desire was to get a lot of toilet roll frankly. My thing was well, to be honest, I think we're okay. We've got enough supply , it's going to be fine, but we don't want to hoard. The less you have, the more you can concentrate on your spiritual journey. This is what I felt because there's less things taking your attention. If you have a lot of things you have to then put them away, you have to then tidy your rooms all of a sudden, and I find whenever we get more things, you know, I cleaned the store room downstairs , I tidy everything up. Me and my wife was sometimes put things in the right place and then a week later, because we've gathered up more stuff, it gets messy again. And that's why it's very important to just be minimal. Keep your life simple. So you're not spending time having to clean the store room again, and again, when you can just concentrate on spirituality, which is more important. I remember one thing that Eckhart Tolle said, which was very, very, insightful. He said that if you want to check, if you've still got an ego, or if you want to check, if you're enlightened, spend a weekend at your parents. And it's very funny because I can really relate to that, that if you spend time with not just your parents with anybody outside of your comfort zone, because at the time, if we look at that in terms of most of the time, you're by yourself or with your partner or with your family. When you have to involve someone else from outside on the day-to-day level, it gets very challenging, especially if that person has an ego. So because they have an ego, you will react if you're more invested in your ego. Therefore, if you really want to check, if you have an ego, just spend time with someone outside, it doesn't have to just be your parents. Sorry mom and dad I don't mean you. What I'm trying to say is anyone outside, not just your parents you will find that they will really test your ego. You have some friends who may press the wrong buttons. Those are the type of people you want to be around because they will show you how enlightened you really are. It's very nice to sit at home and meditate and then go to someone who will really disturb your peace and then see if your peace remains or is it gone into pieces? The challenges. There are challenges when it comes to relationships and spirituality or progressing on the spiritual journey. One is that you could have different beliefs, and they can create conflict. Now, even with myself, I was say in the last 10 years, I would like to think I've evolved in my journey. Therefore, my beliefs have also evolved. What I believed in 10 years ago, I don't necessarily believe in today and what I believed a year ago, I don't believe in today. Maybe what I believed yesterday, I don't believe in today. So our beliefs change and because our beliefs change, you may feel that somebody else has changed. Often we hear, when someone says, oh, you've changed. People say it negatively, mostly it's negative. We get into conflict. It creates barriers. It's really important, if you are really evolving in your spiritual journey to understand the impact that is going to have on other people, when you change a belief. Sometimes I think it's better to keep your beliefs to yourself and not tell anyone because these beliefs have to take their own journey and the end destination, isn't where you are right now. It might need a bit more work, so best to just take it easy when it comes to different beliefs. But if there are really obvious, differing beliefs, then just be accepting of what other people believe in. That's fine. That's their journey. That's what they find is to be useful. If what they find to be useful is good for them. Encourage it because you want to encourage their spiritual journey. The more you encourage the better, in my opinion, there's no point discouraging something. For example, a lot of times we may tell people to, not do certain things because it's against our doctrine. W if it's really helping them, what if actually it's been positive? Doctrines should not be set in stone. Be open. Sometimes a reaction is sought, but none this given. I'm sometimes very guilty of this. Very guilty of this and my wonderful wife has sometimes got annoyed with me because I don't react or I just stay silent and don't respond. Sometimes I think that I should respond and that would be better. However, I also noticed that if I respond, it may cause more anger and more hurt. So it's better to just stay back a bit, but that can be misinterpreted as not caring. So there has to be a balance. That's the tough thing is to try and create that balance. It takes work. It takes practice. You're going to make errors. It's fine. Be with it. Don't worry about it. This is one that I find quite funny, but it's true. Some people might just find you boring now. I mean for a lot of people, their good time is going out for a drink and getting hammered. Fine. But to them I may be boring because I just sit at home and meditate. Or record a podcast. Or just reading books. People may find you boring because of that. Actually, I do think that people will end up finding you interesting anyway, when they start conversing with you. Also the challenge can be trying to find time for spiritual practice because family life can be busy. When family life is busy, you have to juggle a lot of things. Therefore spending time to meditate or to focus on your spiritual practice requires you to take out time. Now, if you don't do the spiritual practice, what you may end up feeling is anger. That's not good either. That's the challenge you have to face. You have to look to adapt and see what works for you. If something isn't working, you have to raise it with your family or with your loved ones because if you don't, they don't know that you're at loss. So communicate. Alot of the challenges are communication based, which is quite obvious. Most Mystics are actually married. A lot of people think when they want to be spiritual, it's probably easier to be a monk. Run off to a monastery and just sit and meditate all the time. However, these mystics has shown us a more interesting way. And one that requires you to go into the fire and they were mostly married. Yeah. They all lived, householder lives. They didn't live a life over renunciant. Most of them were married with kids and they had to deal with the day-to-day problems of family life, they had to go out and earn a living. They probably had certain desires that they had to keep a maintain. You have the odd exceptions, like Swami Vivekananda, or Osho, or J Krishnamurthy that didn't get married, but most of the others were pretty much married. Yes, the mystics, although this is where a challenge can come in for their family is that they see the whole world as their family, the whole universe as their family and this can be a challenge for the family itself. That's natural, and this is where it's very important for the mystics to be understanding of that. If you have a look at guru Nanak dev Ji, if you look at Kabir Ji, Tukaram Ji. If you look into those lives into their lives, they're very compassionate towards their family. They understood why their family felt it was difficult to have outsiders love that person. Spirituality is best practiced as a family. Even with the different beliefs, I bet you, there is one common practice you can all do together. That can be as simple as eating together. I do find that when we do things as a family, it has a lot more power. Find that commonality, even if people in the family have different religions. Different spiritual beliefs. They may believe in a different guru. That's fine. Just find that one common thing between them, the common thread and go with that if we want to keep harmony in the household. Living a life of non-duality within family life, brings in a certain aspect of ethics as well. This is really important to discuss because it means that you have to be responsible. You have to earn a living through rightful means, without cheating others. You have to be fair to all family members and remove any hypocritical traits. This last one is the most important one getting rid of hypocrisy. The one thing that I love about family life is that it is a mirror. It will tell you where you are, even if we're not ready for that truth. Your loved ones will tell you when you're messing up. Or they will tell you what they don't agree with. You can then make the choice, whether what they're saying is right or wrong, but they will always be a mirror. That's why we should always honor the people we live with and always respect the people we live with. It's very difficult to do. I say this, knowing that I have failed multiple times, millions of times, I probably failed at this. The one thing I've learned is that if you are a hypocrite, no one's going to believe your spiritual practice. No one, No one's going to believe that you've achieved anything or attained anything. We may say whatever we want. We may talk about going out to the body and experiencing divinity everywhere. Yet if we scold our partners kids just for nothing. If we cheater there's in business deals, if we 're evading taxes, that's being a hypocrite. We have to do as much as we can to be real and honest with our spirituality. To recap this episode , there's positives, we're more intimate with our loved ones,our family, we can get a good sense of humor. We lose anger. People find us trustworthy and more calm and we're able to work on getting rid of our ego. That's a positive aspect. The other one is get rid of our desires that will cause us disturbance if we don't achieve them. The challenges we may face , different beliefs could cause conflict. Sometimes we want a reaction, we don't get a reaction. People may find you boring because you prefer to go to a silent retreat or, finding time for spiritual practice could be a challenge. The one point that I want to emphasize is that hypocrisy has no place in the spiritual practice. We have to be as clear as water as clear and test for this is that we see that people are more trusting towards us. They trust us more. They're more open towards us. This is the one way we can check that we're not being hypocrites.