Most of us value partner companionship, love and intimacy, but how do these relationships affect our efforts in spiritual development? Those of us who take a spiritual approach to spirituality and use a particular cultivation or yoga technique have certainly come to debate the temptations of sensual pleasure, vitality control and karmic bliss.
Many spiritual figures, such as Jesus, the Buddha, and other proclaimed Enlightenment figures, are often portrayed as monks who are cut off from worldly engagements. The Buddha was once married, but left it for the witness of the Godhead. There are other accounts that suggest that Jesus was actually in love with Mary Magdalene, but he clearly fulfilled his calling of life. We learn that Mohammed had many wives, who had thus far formed a new religion and that Krishna was often associated with his beloved Radha.
Most religions promote the principles of substantial self-restraint in the worst cases, or in the best cases of sex. So why do people seek for mental and physical intimacy from others? What is a healthy balance of intimate physical expression and self-control? Do we help our romantic relationships grow spiritually?
In fact, many argue that romantic relationships are the best catalyst for spiritual development. When we engage in love with one another we leave our guards weak. Sometimes it can seem like a bad thing if we end up with a sad or broken heart. For the second time in the exchange of love, this may seem the best thing in the world. But does that kind of “soul mate” love help us grow spiritually, or does it become a distraction and perhaps an obstacle in our growth?
I think this can only be considered case-wise. In most marriages, their relationship has three parts, namely, two spouses and God. It is safe to say that if a relationship consumes your time, attention and energy, it may not help you grow in a positive way. One might argue that the negative relationship also teaches us and all the wrong things about us, but it becomes a valuable lesson in the big picture.
Many times you can tell a lot about a person by your chosen partner. Flocks of birds come together as they say. Other times the opponents will definitely be drawn. “How did those two hook up?” Or “In the world did they see each other?” As most of us have heard, some people enter our lives for a reason, season or lifetime.
The bottom line is that each person is ultimately responsible for their own spiritual development. Another person cannot make you “more spiritual,” even if they are the main reason you go to church every week, read spiritual books, or practice yoga. Regardless of your actions, it is not a true spiritual development if it is not in your heart. Similarly, another person cannot make you “less spiritual.” If you hang out with the wrong crowd and get into a horrible life, you will be held accountable for making bad decisions and lacking the will power to change yourself.
The real possibility in romantic relationships, and for any relationship, is to allow yourself the opportunity to “look in the mirror” based on the dynamics of that relationship. If a relationship is fulfilling and helps you reflect on your highest self, it is a meaningful and meaningful relationship.
On the other hand, if a relationship is causing you constant negativity and frustration, you should not blame the other person, but rather see yourself as contributing to bringing about an unhealthy relationship. If you can truly and sincerely say that you are “not the culprit” then you must ask yourself “Why am I continuing to engage in this relationship?”