Enlightenment Can Never Threaten LoveI do not, under any circumstance, wish to risk hurting my wife or our relationship by my interest in spiritual fulfillment.
I am in a very happy relationship with a woman I shall be marrying this year. We think we have finally (we are in our mid-50s) reached the plateau of understanding and happiness after the decades of usual mistakes and consequent difficulties. Before I knew her, I was pursuing spiritual fulfillment in a rather random fashion but since I discovered the direct path things have come on extraordinarily rapidly and I have experienced a number of breakthroughs. With this development, my wife (I call her my wife) has suffered from an increasing sense of worry that our relationship will suffer. She says I have an innate independence and need to look inwards (true) and that when I achieve enlightenment this will manifest itself increasingly to the point, I suppose, that I will not need her and will be quite content in my own head and heart. She suffers easily and is very fearful of the prospect.
Neither of us has any experience of enlightenment in others. Can you make any comment that will reassure us? I do not, under any circumstance, wish to risk hurting my wife or our relationship for what she construes as a selfish motive.
Thank you for your thoughts.
A relationship between entities is, by definition, always a fragile alliance, no matter how well we may try to disguise or avoid it.
Sooner or later we have to have the courage and the intelligence to face that fact. In the absence of such courage or intelligence, life tends to have more astringent ways of delivering the message.
Having said that, there is no reason to be discouraged. The love we experience in friendship is precisely the recognition that we share the same Consciousness, that is, that we are not separate entities. We may not recognise it, but that is what the experience of love is.
Even in everyday parlance we all have the sense that love is somehow the dissolution of all that keeps us separate, apart and distant from one another. That is precisely why we like love so much - it relieves us of the burden of separation which is alone responsible for our unhappiness.
So enlightenment or the true pursuit of enlightenment can never threaten love. On the contrary, it is enables love to truly flourish.
In fact, the only thing that can threaten love is the belief and feeling that we are separate entities. It is this belief alone that generates psychological fear and need.
A relationship between entities is, therefore, always based on fear and need, that is, on the need to maintain the sense of separation, and it inevitably leads to conflict.
How ironic that we should resist this interest in Truth when it is the one thing that exposes and gently dissolves the fear and need that spoils the love we prize so highly.
Therefore, if the relationship between you and your wife is based solely on fear and need, it will be threatened by your interest in enlightenment.
This does not necessarily mean that your relationship will fall apart as you grow in love and understanding. There will be a choice at some stage: either the relationship grows with you or, in due course, it will probably fall apart, unless there are external factors, such as children, illness etc. which may provide other reasons for staying together.
However, from what you have told me, there is nothing to suggest that your relationship with your wife is based solely of fear and need, although there may be elements of that present.
My intuition is that you have a genuinely loving relationship. The love in your friendship can only grow from your interest in Truth. Interest in Truth, for want of a better word, is the least selfish of all possible pursuits, although it may not always appear so from the outside.
I understand that you do not wish to hurt your wife and I also understand that she doesn’t share your interest. In fact, she does share your interest
because interest in enlightenment is identical to interest in love, but she has not recognised this yet - there is absolutely no judgement in that.
In some ways you have the broader perspective so the onus is on you to understand her fear, to help her to understand its nature and above all to help her see that it is fear and need, not enlightenment, that spoil love.
So I would try to show her that your interests can only serve love and happiness.
If she has no overt or formulated interest in these matters, this may not be possible through words, but your own lovingness, peace and happiness, as it grows, will be the surest and most effective ways of communicating this to her.
Your innate independence is the finest thing you can offer your wife - she may not realise this now, but in time she may.
I understand of course the delicate nature of the situation but the fact that you have asked this question shows that you have the sensitivity to handle it lovingly and skilfully.
I wish you both well.