A few days ago, we received an email by a lady who had come to me for counselling already a few years ago. In that time, she was facing some physical issues and I could help with some tips for yoga postures and Ayurvedic nutrition. This time however, she wrote me for another issue: she was feeling lonely!
This young woman is slightly over 30, has her work which she enjoys and regularly goes out with friends. She is however yearning for a partner. That is nothing surprising, every single around 30 will have such issues, male or female. That is practically just biology. The details however made me think that my reply might help a few more people in her situation.
She has been single for many years. There have been short-term relationships but more than that, there had been one-night stands or open sexual encounters with someone with whom she had an agreement: we can have sex but will never go further towards a relationship. Emotionally, she is not attached to this man very much, nor does she had any other such person whom she felt attracted to. But she wishes very much for this feeling of closeness. She is tired of being alone in the evenings and nights. A natural urge to have someone to hold and be held by.
Without wanting to tell a lot of details of her personal life, let me just say that she has had possibilities to be closer to friends or acquaintances in the past but had not continued down this path.
I told her to open up and let her fear subside. The fear of getting hurt or of damaging a friendship by starting a relationship. As long as you are showing the world that you are the tough single woman who faces life on her own and loves her independence, there may be few men who would dare making an offer. You don’t seem as though you would want them in your life! You are practically shutting your doors to such offers although you want people to come in and propose!
Being open does not mean that you let just anybody in and step on your feelings and emotions. It does however mean that you show the readiness for the right one to come. That you let it happen and start an adventure.
Don’t play safe. Life isn’t safe and good things happen the moment you let your guard down! Let it happen. Let the sparkle that you are dreaming of actually come until you – and you will notice that it is just so much easier than to fight with yourself all the time! There may be disappointment and sometimes pain as well – but more than that, you will have the chance to get what you are yearning for: love.
You are the one who decides what mood to be in – even with outer circumstances obviously influencing you! When an Ashram guest recently told us about a situation she had, I was reminded of this fact once more.
This young woman had decided to make her trip to India already a long time ago. When she told her family and friends about the plans and the booking she had made, she got mixed responses. Some people were happy and excited for her but others warned her that she would not have a good time, that it was dangerous and that she should not go.
It is mostly those who have not been themselves and know only media reports who warn others from going to India. That’s what our friend figured out herself, too, and she thus came anyway. She chose a good place to start at – our Ashram. Here, she had time to slowly get used to the Indian climate, time zone and of course culture.
After a few days, she was already fully enjoying her time! She did yoga every morning and relaxed in daily massages and treatments. She visited the town and made beautiful experiences outside the Ashram as well. That’s how our new friend decided to share pictures and stories on facebook and other social media networks, too.
The next day, she was visibly upset and she shared why: she had received a message by one friend, who had been to India herself and had not had a beautiful experience but had nevertheless supported her in going. It was strange – in her email, this ‘friend’ basically scolded her for putting her pictures online! She told her that she should enjoy the moment and share her experiences with friends later. She would otherwise spoil it for herself. It was a rude message and had really upset this young woman.
We talked about it and all agreed that she should not take someone else’s words to the heart so much that it spoilt her time there. On top of that, she knew that the other one was a rather negative woman who had on top of it not had a good time in India herself! So chances were that she was envious and just didn’t want our guest to have as good of a time as she was having!
Talking about it helped our new friend and it was nice to see that she took her decision: a decision to be happy instead of letting others put her down!
I sometimes wonder which effect social media will have on our society on the long run. It seems as though these networks which are supposed to connect more people with each other actually create loneliness.
How come I reach to this conclusion? Simple: I have seen how a lot of people react on what they see on their social networks! They have a very conflicting relation to them: they cannot seem to get enough of them and open them again and again but at the same time, they again and again close them with a bad feeling. This bad feeling comes from what they have seen: pictures of their friends, partying, having a good time and generally enjoying their lives. In family, with other friends, among people.
And you? You are sitting there alone, staring at your phone, tablet or computer screen. You are not part of the fun. The party is taking place without you. You don't have that perfect partner who surprises you with a candlelight dinner, just like a friend had posted. You don't go to hip parties where everyone is having a blast. And you also seem to be far away from all of your friends who post this.
Your social network, designed to connect you with people, just gave you the feeling of being completely on your own, alone and lonely. Without it, you wouldn't even have known about all the fun you are missing. You might have just been happy while reading a book at home or taking a bath.
Or, instead of staring at a screen, trying to think of something clever to write yourself or trying to find a picture of you having fun, too, you would actually go out. You would call a friend and talk to him or her in person instead of nearly stalking the other one online in order to see how much fun he or she has!
That is how social media can make you experience loneliness in a way that was not possible before the internet, before you were reachable at all times and before you were connected with all your school and university friends, colleagues from work and relatives at the same time.
You will notice this at the latest when you are in a bad situation and need help. When you have been in touch with people via messages but hardly ever met in person. Because when the world is crashing down on you, you need a real hug, not a virtual one. A real shoulder to cry on. Someone to come by and listen, someone to be there for you in real life.
Never forget that social networks are only a tool, something to enhance the real experience but not a substitute to replace it. Let it bring more joy to your social life instead of pulling you down!
Not every difficulty that we face in life is one of a financial nature. In yesterday’s blog, my main thought was rather on problems with business and money but of course there are issues that sometimes seem even worse than any money problem can ever be: problems in your relation with other people, your friends, family and most of all your partner. How should we handle these?
First of all, the same concept applies: calm down before you do anything. It is obvious that a dispute, a disagreement or an argument with someone you love can leave you completely unsettled. You may feel fully enraged or devastated, you may be in tears or shaking all over. You can feel right or regret what you have done but for any further thought or action you have to calm down and clear your head!
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel sorry towards the other one or feel wronged by him anymore! It means that you recognize your feeling and know where it comes from. Make an analysis: what exactly is the trigger of those feelings? Something the other one said? Something you did? What made you feel the way you do? Is it an action or just a thought or worry of yours?
I am myself an emotional person but while this may seem too much a process of the mind for some people, I believe we sometimes need to take this way in order to find out what the issue is. If I am so much in emotion that I cannot clearly recognize why I am feeling these emotions, my actions may reflect that.
The most stupid crimes are committed because people cannot control their anger. Afterwards, they often don’t even exactly know why they reacted the way they did. They were angry – but with a clear mind, they know themselves that their anger never justified their actions. That it was caused by an inner pain or injury which the other one may not even be responsible for.
So once you know why you feel the way you do, you can work on the solution of the problem.
If it is something you did wrong and you are sorry for, I believe it is never too late to apologize. You cannot expect the other one to accept your apology under every circumstances – but for yourself, you can take this step and make it clear to you that you did it. Even if not, you have tried and can move on!
If the other one did you wrong, you now have the chance to find out what you would like to do about it. You can explain the other one your feelings or you can take a decision on what to do next. It is the chance for you to act according to your deeper feelings, not only the momentary anger.
In the end, no matter what happens, the message is practically the same: whatever the problem, it won’t make the whole world break down. Be calm and find out what you can do about it!
Love is an important topic in my life. It has always been. I actually believe a lot of people should make love more important in their own lives because it would help them. Contrary to common belief among those who do make love a topic – which is mostly people in the spiritual scene – I believe there is no real opposite to love, one which cannot be there if love is there.
Opposites normally cannot exist together with each other, right? A person cannot be tall and small at the same time. Temperature cannot be cold and hot at the same time. Your hair cannot be long and short at the same time. In the same way, people think that hate or even fear are the opposites of love. Several people have told me: ‘where there is love, there cannot be hate’ or ‘if you love, there is no space for fear’. I don’t think these two statements are true.
It is my personal experience that love can coexist with every other feeling possible! Love can exist together with illusion, it can exist with obsession. Love can even exist with dislike, ignorance or indifference.
You may have seen all of these above but you cannot imagine love together with hatred or fear?
Have you really never seen a love-hate relationship? Have you never been in the situation that someone you actually love did something really bad to you? It doesn’t matter for how short that time frame was but when you were angry and hurt, was there not also some hatred as well? And for that moment, do you think your love stopped? How could this happen? No, I think, in that moment you had both inside you.
In the same way, I believe it happens with fear. It can both be there at the same time. You can love but at the same time be afraid of what will happen if you open up too much. Will you get hurt again? Will your precious feeling be taken advantage of? This won’t keep you from loving but you cannot deny that there is fear as well – at the same time!
So it is very simple: as great as I believe love is, there can also be fear or hate along with it. And these, too, are just natural emotions that we can accept as a part of who we are!
I told you yesterday about Apra’s first big journey without us: two nights and three days, off to Khajuraho with her uncle and great-grandmother! She had such a great time – oh, and what about us, her Ma and Pa?
I already told you that we had talked to Apra before she left about falling asleep without us. We knew that this would be the most difficult time for her. We explained her that we would not be there and she would not be able to come to us – but she insisted that she would not have a problem. While we thought she would not miss us during daytime at all, we wondered whether we could say the same thing about ourselves!
Once they had left, we had a very strange feeling: for the first time in three-and-a-half years, Apra was not with us! Only then we realized in how many little actions we take care of her and involve her! Of course she did not come into our office to distract us from work and of course it was rather quiet at mealtimes. It was however the small things that showed us how much we missed our little one: when you speak in low volume in the morning to avoid waking her up – while she is not even in bed. When you realize you changed the room for a telephone conversation although she was not even there to speak into your other ear while you are listening!
Oh yes, we missed her a lot. I know a lot of parents say it is wonderful to spend a ‘childfree weekend’, time without their children. We did not really feel like this. I think the main reason is that we don’t miss anything while she is here. We do everything we wish to do and we enjoy everything with her! There was nothing that we ‘could finally do’ once she was gone!
While we were obviously sad to see her cry the first night, much more than that we felt happy and tremendously proud that she had gone on this journey, that she had slept without crying or missing us the second night and that she had come back, bubbling over with all the adventures she wanted to tell us about!
She has learned so much on this journey! She can grasp the concept of distance a bit better, understanding that after a long drive in the car, you cannot just be with your Ma and Pa in the evening. She learned that she can ask someone for help when she doesn’t see her uncle around for a moment. She also learned that she should not walk off on her own without telling anybody about it… an invaluable lesson, I am sure every parent will agree! She has learned thousands of other small things, too, which you can just experience when you are not at home.
I believe it is the first step towards the kind of independence I want to give my child. I want her to know that we will always be there, no matter what, a safe haven to return. An anchor for security – but no chain that binds her to what she knows is safe! She should be free to go and explore this world. She should follow this excitement for a journey and new experiences. In this way, I believe, she will learn more about the world than we can ever teach her, just sitting in our Ashram! We will travel with her, of course, but there will be a day when she will not only travel with her uncles but also on her own.
I know I will be proud on that day – and I also know that I will miss her terribly!
I have definitely already written a lot about love and friendship, about closeness from the heart and physical closeness as well. I am sure that every time I have written about such topics, I have mentioned that it's more important to be close with the heart than with the body. Unfortunately I have recently noticed once more how important this fact is!
I have a friend with whom I have always been close. We have known each other for a long time and have gone through different stages of life while being friends, sometimes living closer to each other, sometimes spending long periods of time apart from each other as well.
Even while we were not together and didn't only not meet but even not talk with each other on phone for months, we were nevertheless close. There were years during which we only saw each other once in twelve months! Throughout this time I still had the feeling that when we met, we were connected and that closely.
Now however the situation is different. There have been a lot of changes in me and in life and now we are actually living close to each other, see each other twice a month but unfortunately I don't feel this closeness anymore.
I mentioned a lot of changes and of course one of these changes is a change in feelings. The topics that are important to me are those in which we have very different opinions. So different that we cannot agree at all and so we skip them. For a while, this seemed to work just fine.
Over the course of time however, one notices how a difference in the basic attitude and view on life influences every other topic you talk about. And finally, the meetings and talks seem to remain nothing else but a ritual.
A ritual which I will keep up for the sake of an old friendship.
I believe in expressing my emotions and I did not shy back from expressing this lack of closeness to my friend. His answer just showed me that I was right with my feeling: He said no, everything is fine, we both have changed, so it is normal and alright.
This means it doesn’t matter to him that this closeness is gone – or that I feel this way. This in itself proves that there is no closeness. And it does matter – but that feeling, too, will pass.
I have had a theory for a long while already and have tested it again and again. It always came out as true: trust your feelings when it comes to other people. If you feel like it won't work out with the two of you – in any kind of relationship – cut the ties. If you wait and try to make it, you will just waste your energy and finish it in the end anyway!
Let me explain you exactly what I mean. I have many times in my life met people with whom, after just a short time, I felt that we won't fit together. It is a feeling that you can get from their actions, their words, their looks and just their energy. It gives you the impression that you won't be able to be friends with that person.
Sometimes the feeling gets a bit more intensive and you even feel that you have to be careful not to get into an argument. Your opinions are just very different!
You don't see a real reason to stop communications however and also really would like to be friends, be nice and have a nice time. That's how you make it work. You ignore comments that you would normally object to.
After some time however – and that can be weeks or even months – you will reach the point where you cannot anymore keep it up. A point where you, if you want to stay yourself, honest and real, have to create a distance.
That is the point when such relationships break. And when you actually feel better afterwards. For a long time you kept it up but had to invest a lot of effort and energy into this! When it is then finally over, when it is clear that it won't go on like this, you will be relieved. Relieved that you don't have to have this energy anymore.
Maybe you will even feel some regret that you did so much effort, for such long time. Don't worry though – it is best just as it happened! You have got to know the other one and are sure now that it doesn't fit. Just next time, you can listen to your feeling a bit earlier and act quicker as well!
A while ago, an acquaintance expressed his view on porn movies to me, mentioning that in his opinion these films create lust in people which is then in consequence the reason for an increasing number of rape cases in India. In short, he thinks the more porn people watch, the more women will be raped.
First of all and before going into further detail, I have to clear one thing here: lust is nothing bad. It is a natural sensation, emotion and feeling and we all have it. Men and women, physically able or not, from children to old people, it exists in every single one of us. Each of us has lust – in fact, if you don’t, something is wrong with you! We have varying levels of lust according to our physical situation due to various hormones in our body and of course our mental situation as well.
It is in normal circumstances also easily accessible. Actually, even a simple thought can bring lust. You don’t need a movie or even a picture for that! You can create that all on your own! Also a regular Bollywood or Hollywood movie can create lust – or just an idea that you have while sitting in your office, working on something completely different! At the same time, if someone has a problem and doesn’t feel lust at all, he can watch hours of porn without ever reaching to the point of lust!
Lust is not only natural, it is really beautiful as well! With your feeling of lust and especially when you have satisfied it, you are automatically drawn into feelings of happiness, of fulfilment and love. It gives you a joy and relief which, in my eyes, makes it impossible to be the reason for rape! There is no room for rape with this happiness. But more about this aspect tomorrow.
Lust has always been a part of this world. It is everywhere – from literature to art, from sculptures in homes to paintings in places of worship. With technology, such imagery has become available to everyone by just a click of the mouse. Unfortunately however the image of lust has still not changed that much.
Still today, a lot of people think lust is wrong. The more radical they get, the worse they think of lust, sex and everything around it. Being lustful is the proof of a sick mind. A healthy mind doesn’t have such thoughts and a pure body shouldn’t have such feelings, longings and desires either. You have to feel guilty if you enjoy sex or think of sex. Any feeling of physical desire has to be suppressed. That’s how very religious people believe in celibacy. Trying to achieve purity by asceticism.
I think this is what is really sick. Religion has put the idea in people’s minds that lust is wrong. It is a mindset which makes people sick, mentally and physically! Celibacy is completely unnatural. Any suppression of physical love-making, claiming to have the purpose of purity is totally unscientific but religion doesn’t care!
Suppression has inspired men and women to explore it even more, although in hidden, and then it bursts out in the really sick ways – as sex crimes which were committed because there was no other outlet to a natural urge!
Lust. For centuries it has had a bad reputation and I think it is about time to change that!