One Couple, Two Spiritual Paths?
One Couple, Two Spiritual Paths?
“If you are practicing one spiritual path and your significant other is practicing another spiritual path, it does not mean both of you are going to fight. If you fight, you belong to two different religions, not two different spiritual paths.”
Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. If you are married, how important is it that your significant other is on the same spiritual path?
Sadhguru: A spiritual path is neither a certain following nor a particular belief system. A spiritual path means you are a seeker – you want to know. You take up whatever method you have found to be effective. Whatever I give you are tools to dig for what you are seeking – they are not the goal. If your husband, your wife, or anyone for that matter is not a seeker, naturally, he or she becomes an asker. The whole world is like that – all the time, they are asking for something more. If you are seeking, your asking will become less. You will only shop when you need certain things, not for satisfaction or fulfillment.
Whether someone is a shopper or someone is a spiritual seeker, both are seeking fulfillment. As a spiritual seeker, you have realized that shopping does not bring complete fulfillment. You have realized that by asking and acquiring, you will not be fulfilled. You shop for your requirements, but you have stopped shopping for fulfillment, because you know it does not work.
Once you are seeking, you still do not know the ultimate way of fulfilling yourself. When you do Shambhavi or any other yogic practice, it is a tool to find the way – it is not an end by itself. You have to do it with total involvement – otherwise, it will not work. Almost everything in life is like that. Unless you entirely put yourself into something, even the best things will not work for you. Without the necessary involvement, everything will bypass you.
Stop missing the Divine
If you are not involved, if the Divine passes this way, you will miss it. And what makes you think the air that you breathe is not divine? You could make an experiment. Let’s say we hold your nose for two minutes and ask you if you want God or you want air – what will you say? Air. That means you are holding air above the Divine. Why is it that you do not experience it like that right now? The Divine always bypasses you because of lack of involvement. Many of you have been through advanced programs, where simply sitting and breathing, tears of ecstasy were flowing. Even now you are breathing, but you are not experiencing it the same way, because the same involvement is not there.
The whole spiritual process is about bringing a deep sense of involvement, a level of involvement where you go beyond yourself, an involvement that is so absolute that the breath that you take, the food that you eat … everything is an explosion, and it is. If instead of looking at food as food and you as you, you look at everything on the level of subatomic particles and you see what actually happens when you eat – when this came into my experience, it just blew me away. It blew me away in such a way it took me weeks to recover from just a morsel of food in my mouth.
If you could witness either consciously or at least visually what happens when you put a morsel of food in your mouth, when you take an inhalation, or when you have a drop of water – the level of interaction between what you consider as “myself” and what is outside – you would not believe what phenomenal things are happening there. But since the necessary involvement is not there, everything bypasses you. I do not know how many times you bypassed heaven. Not only once or twice – every step you take, you are missing it, because it is not somewhere else – it is within you.
If you are practicing one spiritual path and your significant other is practicing another spiritual path, it does not mean both of you are going to fight. If you fight, you belong to two different religions, not two different spiritual paths. How beautiful a home would become if two people had two different spiritual paths and they lived together and practiced! A spiritual path is an experiential process, not a physical thing that is in conflict with anything around. But if you have concretized belief systems in the name of spirituality, of course there will be a significant clash.
Compulsiveness to consciousness
Conflict happens because you are inebriated with compulsiveness. People do so many things out of compulsiveness. You must clearly identify in your life the actions you perform because of compulsive needs and the actions you perform consciously. Write it down for yourself, look at it and see to it that at least once in six months, you can tick off one compulsive action and make it a conscious action. Periodically, tick off one thing and move that from compulsiveness to consciousness. If you keep doing this, in a very short while, you will be fine.
What is beautiful in India – in the same home, five people can worship five different gods, and no one ever thought of it as an issue. Even today, in the same home, in their pooja room, there will be 25 gods. The man will worship one particular god. The woman will worship half-a-dozen of her favorites. The children will worship their own favorites. And there will be some gods that no one worships, but still they are there, because the neighbors gave them to them. All this would be impossible almost anywhere else in the world. In certain nations, if you worship something other than those who have the power do, you are dead. It has been taught there for a long time that if anyone worships something else, they must be killed.
If you and your husband are following two different spiritual paths, it is not a problem. But if he is an “asker” and you are a “seeker,” or you are an “asker” and he is a “seeker,” definitely, there will be problems, because you want to go to the sathsang – he wants to go shopping; you want to go walking – he wants to do something else. Even that need not be a problem – contrast is also nice. If people are mature enough, they can adjust to this, but most make a problem out of it.
Two spiritual paths are never a problem. If both are seekers, what is the problem? Suppose you find that something truly works for you, you can offer it to your significant other. If he or she finds something truly wonderful, they can offer it to you. I do not see any problem in that.
Do not create problems where there are none. It is a certain unawareness that causes commotion. It once happened – Shankaran Pillai and two of his friends went to the railway station. They were totally drunk and were having trouble getting onto the train. The train was just beginning to move, they were trying to rush, and a concerned good Samaritan got two of them inside. But before he could get Shankaran Pillai in, the train had picked up too much speed. He looked at Shankaran Pillai and said, “Sorry I couldn’t get you in.” By then, Shankaran Pillai had recovered, “I am sure even those two guys are going to be really sorry, because they only came to see me off.”
Do not think in terms of who is better – this can be a big problem. But it is good to think the other one is significant. If both people think the other one is significant, it will work. If a few days into your marriage, you start thinking that you are more significant, it will go somewhere else. You must maintain this every day of your life that the other is more significant than you. Then it will work.