When your Hosts are in a constant Fight – 22 Jun 14

Last week I told you of a time in 2006 when Yashendu and I came to an organizer that had promised much more than she could fulfill – and that we had accept it as it was. We had some more such situations in that year, too, one of which was actually more uncomfortable for us: when our organizer and his wife were constantly fighting!

Yes, it was a friend, a man whom I had got to know a year ago in another program. He had been very interested in organizing in his place as well and as I had not had time on that previous journey, we had agreed on a date in 2006 for doing program in his place. Yashendu and I arrived as agreed – and were heartily welcomed by his wife and him. It was a wonderful first evening with a meditation, programs were planned for the next days and several people had already booked. So we were looking forward to a nice week with them – but in the morning, when we had just got up, we heard someone shouting in the other room. It was my friend’s wife.

Well, we did not pay much attention to it, just hearing someone disagreeing – even if loudly – was nothing very unusual for us as we usually stayed in people’s homes. We did not understand German and knew better than to jump to conclusions. Maybe she was just very upset about something. We forgot about it – until we heard screaming in the evening again, this time both screaming at each other!

For the next days, the two of them were on and off, shouting at each other and definitely having bigger fights. At first, they were trying to hide these scenes from us, going into another room with the door closed. Once however, I was just on the way to the bathroom when my friend came from downstairs, a sourly expression on his face. His wife shouted from downstairs. He noticed that I must have heard that – and his expression changed to one of sadness.

He apologized to me with many words, telling me that he had hoped it would not be as bad this week. In fact however, this had been normality for him and his wife for many weeks now. They would fight daily. Several times a day.

Obviously, I offered my help. I offered that I could have a partner session with both of them and we could maybe find a better way, a solution and help. He was happy about my offer and told me he would ask his wife.

The next day, he came to me, very sad, saying that his wife had refused my offer to help.

Well, you cannot help if someone doesn’t want to. I heard his side of the story and could give him some support on how to deal with it – but we left his home with a feeling that this relationship will not work out. And if they stayed together, they would only keep on fighting!

I hoped I would not come to a home with this situation anymore – and wished none of my friends would have such problems!

Relationship Problems: Completely different Interests than your Partner – 18 Dec 13

Day before yesterday I described how it may happen that your friends or family members have a completely different opinion than you do. Yesterday I wrote that you may just need to accept that, even if it means that your friendship cannot go as deep as you would like it to be. When you change, people may not change or change in another way. The worst case however is if your life partner is one of these people. What can you do if that person with whom you really want to spend the rest of your life doesn’t change the way that you do?

I unfortunately know many friends who are in this situation, whose thoughts have changed over time but whose life partners did not develop in that direction. Then you have this person by your side to whom you vowed that you will be together until the end of your lives, whom you really wish to love more than anybody in this world, whom you want to devote your everything to – but your thoughts and emotions don’t match!

You both have the intention to love each other, but there are just so many topics that you cannot really talk about because you know that the other one won’t like your ideas, would criticize your actions and not support your emotions. You don’t feel like sharing and feel how you are drifting apart with every day that passes.

Obviously, you cannot make a system just like with your friends, to call once a week or meet once a month. You are very close to each other physically and you want to be, too, but then there is the question what to do with each other? The connection of your hearts got disturbed, you cannot have long or deep conversations and only talking about weather and politics just won’t do in a relationship!

You can imagine all the problems that follow. Disagreements, fights, silence, no wish for sexual intimacy, maybe after a long time even the desire to have sex with someone else, anger, frustration and unfortunately for many people at the end a separation, if they don’t manage to find a way of closeness together.

If you are in that situation, I just can ask you to talk and talk and talk to your partner, open your heart and pour out all that you feel and why you feel it. I hope that the one that you love and who loves you will be able to understand you. Even if he or she doesn’t completely feel the same, maybe it is at least possible to accept and know your feelings and motivation for what you are doing. Be open and never hide.

You, too, need to do effort to understand why the other one is unable or unwilling to follow you on your way. You, too, need to respect another view and you have to give support to your love, even if that means finding a way in the middle. Find something that you both care about and emphasize those areas of life where you both think in the same direction. Create passion together – and you will find passion for each other again.

We all are different but when we love someone from the depth of our hearts, we need a small point of similarity and be it just that we all are human!

Strangely enough, Communication works better with different Culture and Language – 21 Oct 13

When our friend Sylvia was at the Ashram, Ramona had a conversation with her which she told me about and which I thought was quite interesting. It was about couples who come from different countries and cultures, especially when they also speak different languages. Sylvia had read a study which had found that such couples last longer.

As one of two parts of such a couple, this was of course interesting to me as well and we talked further about the reasons why this could be true and made sense.

The first argument could clearly be that people who are in a relationship with someone who is not originating of their regular surrounding are more open towards people, things and thoughts that are not ‘normal’. They may like an adventure and get excited about new things or they simply don’t refuse something which is different right away but consider it at least. In a relationship this can mean a lot because as the years pass by, both persons will change. It is natural that new things appear in the personality of one or the other and there has to be a certain flexibility and openness in order for the relationship to last!

In an intercultural relationship, both partners are aware of the fact that the other one has made fully different experiences while growing up, was surrounded by people who thought very differently and probably also thinks at least slightly different himself as well. This is something that even happens within one country and culture, as the culture of two homes only two meters apart can be very different from each other! The benefit of the international couple is the awareness about this fact! They don’t just assume that they know what the other one means! They don’t just put an opinion into the space, thinking their partner would feel and think the same. They look back to confirm, they wait for the reaction and they are ready to explain if necessary.

This is where the next aspect comes into the picture: the language. Due to the difference of culture, an intercultural couple is ready to put into words what they want to say. A bilingual couple however puts even more care into their words because they know that it is either not their own mother tongue they are speaking in or not the other one’s mother tongue or maybe even both! A word can mislead so much when it is understood in a different sense and those couples often have to get a hint for the real meaning in the eyes of their partner, consider their feelings for each other and thus understand a word, sometimes even completely in the opposite way than its literal meaning.

In general, a relationship with someone from another country and culture and maybe even language forces you to do what some people try to achieve by meditation and other mental or spiritual practice: to be more aware of what you want, think and feel, act accordingly and express exactly the same. You are more conscious of what you do and say and what impact this has on the people around you.

While your love for a man or woman of another nationality may get you to do that, I believe it would be good if you considered actually doing this in your relationship with a partner or your own nationality as well. No, actually, I would suggest even doing this in all your relations of your life – be aware of your expression and not only your relationships but also your friendships will last longer!

Fighting your Ego – a continuous Struggle with yourself? – 2 Oct 13

I yesterday described how most people one time or another get into trouble because of their ego. While I was yesterday focusing mainly on quick reactions that were not well thought through, I would like to write about such actions today which are taken after a longer time of consideration and for which you know exactly that you are actually acting out of your ego.

I am sure that you know such situations as well – either when you yourself react in this way or someone whom you know. There is a decision to take, something needs to be done and there are at least two options: either you insist that things go your way – the way that pleases your ego – or you manage to take your ego back and do it the way that is most beneficial for a higher purpose. It is a conscious decision – and if you decide for the way of your ego, it is a conscious decision.

That does not mean that you are happy about the fact that you let your ego win. No, you are fighting to be able to take another decision, you really don’t want to let your ego win but in the end you lose. There is an inner blockage, an obstacle that you just cannot overcome! This situation is much more problematic than the spontaneous ego-filled reaction I described yesterday because it shows that you are ultimately reigned by your ego. If it overwhelms you in a second and you have it in check in the next, it is fine. If you struggle for days with it and you lose – it is much more difficult, both to revert and to work on avoiding such situations in future!

You regret your decision but each time when this situation comes up again, your ego simply makes you blind and lets you forget what you learned the last time. You repeat it again and again, creating one prestige issue after the other and wondering what you can do in order to break this chain.

Unfortunately I have to tell you that there is no easy solution for this problem. There is no magic pill to take and there is no surgery with which you could cut down your ego. You have to work on yourself. Instead of fighting and struggling however, I would say, you should have a positive approach, observe your own actions deeply and appreciate even small improvements. You can make it if you set your mind on reducing your ego!

The only recommendation I can make is that you stay awake and take conscious action when this situation comes up. Ask yourself some questions: what would be the benefit to others if you didn’t do it your way, if you went against your ego? What good would come out of it if you satisfied your ego? Usually the answer is nothing, you will only be seen as a person full of ego. You lose nothing if you decide against your ego – on the contrary, people will often appreciate this much more! So why not go this way?

What to do when two of your Friends have a Fight? – 24 Sep 13

Yesterday I started writing about friends and mentioned how wonderful it is that you can have friends who give you the same supportive system as a family could do. There are however situations with friends that can get quite complicated. When two of your best friends suddenly have a fight for example and you are standing in between. What are you supposed to do?

I guess it happens in every person’s life at some point that two people who are close to you have a difference of opinion and get into an argument. Or one of them does something that disappoints or hurts the other one. In any case, you are not directly involved in the problem and thus standing in between these people who all of a sudden don’t want to have anything to do with each other anymore while still remaining friends with you. You feel torn – should you make an effort to mediate and reach a reconciliation? Should you take sides and thus risk losing one of them? Is it possible at all to stay neutral?

Staying neutral may seem to be the nicest option to you because you really actually had nothing to do with their argument and don’t want to be drawn into it either. You just want to be friends with both of them. Sounds nice but can be very difficult to achieve!

What will you do with activities at which usually both of your friends took part? Do you go to the cinema with only one of them for example, making sure that you go to see another movie with the other one soon after? With whom do you stand one events at which both are present? Do you try splitting your time equally, feeling awkward each time you change sides? And what about a celebration at your own home? Do you invite both of them? Yes and you probably expect them to behave as adults should and be kind to each other or at least ignore each other – but won’t that make a huge difference to the atmosphere? Won’t it just be uncomfortable for everyone around?

Apart from your own feelings, there are two further person’s emotions to be considered. Does any of the two expect you to take his side and cut ties with the other one? Will one – or maybe even both – of them feel like you betrayed your friendship if you don’t react in his favour?

There are a whole lot of questions on the mind in such a situation. I believe there is no ‘right’ way to treat this problem and one cannot say that you should stay neutral or take sides. It depends so much on the individual situation that nobody has the authority to give you a general advice on this subject. I would recommend one thing however: find out what your feelings are. You know about the reason for their argument – did any of them really do something inacceptable or was that something that happened from both sides? Do you feel anyway closer to one of them and would rather lose the other one than disturb your relation to your better friend? Do you think you could mediate and it would help or would it make things worse?

These all are questions that nobody else can answer for you. I gave you a few ideas to think about – in the end, you are in this situation and have to decide. Just remember one thing: whatever you do, stay true to your feelings and act accordingly. Then you will never have to regret your actions in future.

Arranged Marriage means that I have to cope with you – but I cannot bear your Family! – 29 Apr 13

Last week I explained why there were, in my opinion, so many problems in Indian marriages – because they are usually arranged marriages. Young people have their dreams and it is a big disappointment when they get to know their spouse after their wedding and realize that he or she is absolutely not according to their dreams. A lot of problems follow but while they usually arrange themselves with their marriage partner, the biggest fights and arguments take place with other family members – and as it is usually the bride who moves in with the groom and his family, it is she who faces the problems with her husband’s family, most commonly with her mother-in-law.

There is a reason for the fact that the fights are always worse with the rest of the family than with her husband himself. In India, divorce is still something that happens rarely. In most cases both, husband and wife, don’t even think of going separate ways ever in their life again. They accept that they are married and that’s it. In many people’s minds there is no alternative than coping with whoever you got on the marriage market.

This means that a husband will accept the wife’s actions and attitude and the wife will accept her husband’s opinion and what he does as well. If she does something he doesn’t like, he may tell her not to and she will oppose and they will have a fight. In the end, no matter what the outcome of the fight is, they both have to accept that they have different opinions and ideas. If she does it again, or in an altered version, he may just accept it, saying ‘Well, we have to live with each other’. In the same way, if she doesn’t like an opinion he voiced, she will confront him with this and they may fight again. In the end, if he doesn’t change his mind or only slightly, she will accept it and say ‘What can I do? He is my husband after all.’

What about his family though? For them, the situation is different and again, it works both ways. A woman may be able to bear strange behavior and opinions of her husband but she may not be ready to deal with such actions by her in-laws! If her husband says something wrong, she will in the end shrug her shoulders, accepting her fate. If her brother-in-law or her mother-in-law says the same, she won’t agree that easily! Why would she? She is married to him, not to his family! While she may try to avoid bigger confrontations, the anger which she suppresses in this way accumulates until it bursts out.

I said it works both ways and it does. The husband may accept his wife’s funny attitude towards certain topics but his family may not! If she says something bad to him, he may soon forgive her and forget about it but it will hurt his parents and siblings more and they won’t like to forget it as quickly! They remember and keep a grudge. If she then even talks to them in this way, they won’t hold back anymore!

The result is huge fights in homes which can even lead to a breaking of the family – when those tensions get so big that the husband decides it is better to move out than to bear such fights again and again.

Unfortunately this is happening often in today’s joint families and again arranged marriage is to blame. If you love someone and marry him, you care about his feelings and know they are connected with his family, so if you move in with them, you have a very different attitude towards them than if you get arranged and ‘placed’ into the family. For the family members it is the same – if their son or brother loves a woman and brings her home to meet them, they will be happy and more ready to adjust. That all however is only true when there is not the mindset of arranged marriages – and when there is a personal willingness of all persons concerned to create a loving atmosphere at home.

The main Reason why People are not happy in their arranged Marriages – 26 Apr 13

I yesterday described the situation of marriages in India as I have seen it with many couples of all ages. They have tons of problems and I can say clearly that the big majority is not happy in their relationship. No, a happy couple is a rare exception. To me it is clear what is to blame for this situation: the Indian concept of arranged marriage.

The arranging of marriages creates endless problems. There may well have been a time when it actually worked. I have described before how in the time of my grandmother parents would decide upon the marriage of their children very early, when the children were still young. The boy and the girl would then grow up in the knowledge that they belonged together. There were anyway not any plans to leave their village, there were no such possibilities as there are today and that was a way that created a love that was based in growing up together.

It is not possible to do this today anymore and that is why the efforts are failing! Nowadays parents urgently search for a match for their 25-year-old children! You cannot just marry any two adults and expect them to love each other! They have been to college, have travelled in their country or even abroad, have seen the world and have of course developed their own dreams. They have their imagination how their partner should be – and they get presented with a random person whom nobody of their family actually really knew before and are told to spend the rest of their lives with that person, whether he or she matches their dreams or not!

If these children, actually young adults, had the freedom to look for a spouse themselves, they would go and search for someone matching their dreams. If they have unrealistic expectations, this would be the time when they could make adjustments in their imagination because they would get to know reality. With an arranged marriage however, they only have their dream world, which was partly created by the fictional Bollywood characters whom they saw in movies. It is no surprise that those dreams shatter when they have to live with their arranged partner. They did not have any chance to see the reality and adjust their expectations!

In this society however this is exactly what is happening. Young people are married like on a deer market and many agree themselves that this is how it should be. They accept their fate although they are unhappy with it. Time goes by and in the end life has passed sooner than they ever thought. Looking back on their lives they can just say that they were constantly fighting, mourning past dreams and the loss of something which was never real. They may also tell you that they never really felt love.

When I was a guru, before my time in the cave, I travelled all across India, met thousands of people at one place, lived with many in their families and thus really got to know a lot of people – and their marriage problems! I am talking about the years before 1997, more than 16 years ago. One might think that from that time until now, people would have improved their situation, that this changed but unfortunately I have the feeling that the problem with arranged marriages has got much worse than it was then!

I don’t say that love marriages are always successful – I know that is not the case! I have seen relationship problems in the west, too, where people actively chose their partners and fell in love with them before marrying. They also have problems but it seems as though Indian couples are inviting problems even more with their arranged marriages. The fact however that singles and divorced people don’t have a good standing in society in India makes people in India desperately search for a match – which is easier in arranged marriages – and then stick to their partner no matter what happens.

I will remain with my opinion that the concept of arranged marriages is wrong and should not be applied in today’s modern society. It brings problems and makes more people unhappy than happy!

Be Ready to Accept a Change for the Better! – 13 Apr 11

In the last days we have been talking much about change with Thomas and Iris. We talked about the days when we met, about six years ago, and how different we all were then. We talked about the Ashram, Vrindavan and India and how much changed there in only that time. We talked about ten and twenty years ago and how we developed since then. And we talked about only one year ago, when we were sitting together at the same place here in Wiesbaden, the same people, but how much we have done and how many things have changed since then!

Change is normal and just a sign that you are alive and in the flow of life. We always change for the better when we make a conscious change and decide to change along with times. We are changing in every second and it is better to accept this change than to fight it.

There are people who fight the change but they will always be in a fight. If you don’t accept change, you will not be happy with this world because the world never stays the same. There are people who try it but they are in a constant fight and unhappy about the new things and ways that have developed around them. It is not the point that they don’t feel the change and the pull to change. No, they feel it but it is also natural that they feel a tendency to stick with old, proven and tested ways. They are secure, you know what will happen if you walk those ways, so you don’t have to make an effort to change and run the risk of something new.

Change however is not dangerous. It is in your hand, you can change for the better! I have seen people whom I had met 20 years ago for the last time and I felt that they sit just in the same places, eat the same food, act in the same way and even talk about the same topics. They have not changed one little bit. I feel a kind of pity for them. While the whole world is exploring new ways and develops further, they don’t get to do any development. Don’t remain where you are! Bring your consciousness to another level! Accept the change and take a step further, out of the old-fashioned tradition of what your grandfather was already doing!

If someone refuses to change while you yourself are developing and discovering a new world, sometimes merely with a slight change of viewpoint, it can happen that you grow apart. You have another idea now, another opinion and it just doesn’t fit anymore. At that point of life, you meet new people who can go along with your new view on the world. It is fine and a part of the change which we accepted in our lives.

I know that there may be many people who liked me once but don’t like me anymore, simply because I have changed. I have left religion and traditions while they have not moved away from their rituals and ceremonies. They have developed other parts of their lives but as I have moved away from this formerly common part of our lives, we don’t go along anymore and some even dislike me for having gone through this change. But change is a part of life and it is good. There are other friends who have stood by my side through all changes, have seen people come and go and who changed themselves with the course of time.

With all the changes that took place in my life, I can however say that my love did not change and my honesty did not change. My thinking surely did but the force behind it did not. I was thinking other things twenty years ago but my love was the same.

There are some things that are stable through all changes of life and your love is one of them.

Are your neighbours and colleagues your friends? – 25 Sep 10

Today I would like to write again about friends and the question whom you call your friends.

Are your neighbours and colleagues your friends?

Now you may ask why I have put neighbours and colleagues in one category of people. It is actually simple: you meet your neighbours and colleagues nearly daily. You have to be in touch with them. Your neighbours live just next door, sometimes even in the same building. On the way in and out you meet. Your colleagues work next door, sometimes even in the same office. There are days when you get in touch more closely with them and days when you do not even see them. For both groups it is up to you how you want to make your relationship.

Of all the people living close to you or working with you, there are usually some whom you like and some whom you cannot really connect with. Being neighbours or colleagues is surely not a guarantee for being friends. It is wonderful if you can make a friendship with them just in the same way as it can be horrible when you do not get along. We all know the stories of neighbours annoying each other intentionally by playing loud music or mowing the lawn when others want to sleep or by fighting about whose turn it is to clean the staircase or the driveway. We also all have heard about nasty colleagues who tell the boss about private phone calls from the company phone and competitions about who is going to be promoted.

As the situation is, you have to meet and have to work or live with each other. With some people you may just have a friendly or neutral relationship but being friends with your neighbours or colleagues can indeed make many things easier. When shops are closed you can borrow salt, flour or sugar from your neighbours and you can ask your colleagues to change shifts with you when you urgently need a day off for a certain occasion. Most of all, if your neighbours and colleagues are your friends, you spend more time of your day surrounded by people whom you love. This alone makes a big change in the quality of living!

Yesterday evening we got to know that the water of the Yamuna has entered the market of Vrindavan and thus the area where I grew up. In the morning Yashendu went to take some more pictures and make another film clip to show you the situation. After that he went down the other side and found that if you walk the road towards the Yamuna, the water is now about 400 meter away from the Ashram. We are not worried as the Ashrams still lies quite a bit higher but we were still surprised to see how far the water has come.

See for yourself in the video below or in updated pictures of the flood.

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Love ending with a Fight in Court – 6 Jul 10

I wrote about losing love because of ego. If this happens, it is bad and it can lead to the most horrible situation: when ego brings you to the stage that you are in court with the one you loved. That is when you think you have to fight in court for what is yours and what is his or hers. Then you have to fight with the help of lawyers to separate everything that was united in love.

Then a fight is going on, but for what? Love did not work out, okay, but now you are fighting for material! Get as much as you can or give as little as you can, that is now only what it is about. No word anymore about love. Because what does the lawyer have to do with love?

I am not criticizing law, those who made it had their reason for it. No, I am criticizing or rather regret the fact that these situations happen. Many times it works without going to court, but sometimes it also leads to several years of grim fighting. I imagine this situation, to fight with the person with whom you wanted to share the rest of your life. You claim 50% of the property, material and money because you have shared bed, body, house and a part of your life once.

This can happen with the ego of two people or it can happen just with the ego of one. Imagine the pain of that person who really did not want to break, who did not want love to finish because of ego and who now has to fight. And he or she fights about keeping or losing property that he or she actually freely wanted to share with the other one. What will he or she be thinking? All those beautiful memories will be destroyed with the thought of what came afterwards.