A Marriage Saved

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by an Ananda devotee)

I was with Swamiji and a big crowd of Ananda people in a very public place when I had the sudden intuition that my husband was infatuated with another woman. I turned my back to the crowd and walked away sobbing. Swamiji knew what was happening and after a few minutes he came over to where I sat crying.

He made no attempt to console me. “Remember, it is all just Divine Mother’s lila,” he said. Lila is a Sanskrit word meaning “the play of God.”

“I know, Swamiji. I know.” Intellectually I understood, but my heart was breaking.

Swamiji made no reply. I sensed, however, a wordless transfer of power from him to me. Suddenly I felt as if I were standing at the top of a five-story building looking down on the scene playing out before me. From that perspective I could see that my little “tragedy” was just a single thread in the vast tapestry of life. This image of looking at life from the top of a tall building is something I have used many times since whenever attachment and emotion threaten my inner peace.

That night, because of the consciousness Swamiji put into me, my husband and I were able to talk in a way I wouldn’t have believed possible. Swamiji had changed me from a child ruled by emotion into a grown-up who could talk impersonally about truth and dharma, even in a matter that concerned me deeply.

“Is it wrong to love somebody?” my husband asked me, referring to the “other woman.” Swamiji has often said sympathetically, “One can’t always control the feelings of the heart,” and I remembered that now.

“Of course not,” I said. “It is never wrong to love.”

The “other woman” was also a friend of mine, and she, too, was married. I went on, “The question, however, is not about love. It is about dharma. What is right for all of us in this situation?”

I was so grateful to Swamiji for not offering me any false reassurances. All marriages end eventually, in death, if not before. Only consciousness endures. From then on, I worked much harder at my sadhana.

Later I was even able to meet with the “other woman.” Through her tears, she assured me she had never intended to hurt anyone. Amazingly, I was able to discuss with her as calmly as I had with my husband, what might be right for all of us.

Time passed, and the situation was still unresolved. I began to grow impatient. “How long do I have to wait for him to make up his mind?” I finally asked Swamiji. “I don’t even think he respects me.”

Very seriously, Swamiji responded, “If it is true that he doesn’t respect you, you should leave him.”

Swamiji has often stated that the cornerstone of marriage is not love, as most people think. It is respect. Over the course of a lifetime, love may wax and wane. If there is respect, however, there is always a basis for cooperation and friendship. When respect is lost, it is very difficult to go on together.

Swamiji’s statement terrified me. I didn’t want the responsibility for ending the marriage. If a decision had to be made, I wanted my husband to make it. Swamiji was pushing me to face my fears.

I couldn’t think what else to do, so I just repeated to my husband what Swamiji had said.

“I don’t know how you could possibly think that I don’t respect you,” my husband said. He seemed genuinely shocked at the mere suggestion.

That was the beginning of our reconciliation. Swamiji had shown me the bottom-line condition for continuing the marriage and my husband was able to rise to the occasion. He resolved to renounce his infatuation and that opened my heart to him again. The marriage began to heal.

We are so grateful to Swamiji. Without his wise counsel I don’t think our marriage would have survived.

The whole time our marriage was in jeopardy – a period of several months – I lived in a state of awareness higher and calmer than my normal way of being. I would almost call it a state of grace. It began when I was crying and Swamiji transferred energy to me. It ended practically at the very moment it was clear our marriage would survive. I think Swamiji projected a sustaining force that I tuned into. I was able to see my life in the rhythm of eternity, rather than the passing moments of pleasure and pain.

“To all who received him,” it says in the Bible, “to them gave he power to become the Sons of God.” I had the good karma to receive for a time. After the crisis passed, I wasn’t able to do it in the same way. I am a different person, however, and a far better devotee for the experience. And it certainly whetted my appetite for the day when I can live always in that state.

No comments:

Post a Comment