I yesterday explained to Indian men in relationship with western women that their partners are most likely much more independent than an Indian wife would be. If you are in such a relationship, you must thus take care that you don’t restrict your western wife out of your fear or cultural views on what ‘a woman should not do’. The same holds true for another aspect of her life, which could lead to big conflicts: her friendships with men.
A straight-forward question: will you be jealous of your wife’s male friends? If so, you better start working on stopping this right now!
It doesn’t matter whether you are going to live in her country or in India, your wife most probably has several male friends from a time that you were not even in her thoughts yet. She will talk to them, meet them, spend time with them and most probably get closer to them than you are comfortable with. When she will meet men, especially when you are in the west, she will treat them equally to women whom she just met – and I know you will at first feel funny about this, too.
It is no wonder! You come from a country where men and women don’t even shake hands when they meet! A culture in which still today a lot of schools are either for boys or for girls! Here, men cannot even normally talk with women, how could they think of actually making female friends? Mothers and fathers warn their daughters not to spend their free time with any boy who is not their brother or they will get a bad reputation and then not be able to find a man who would marry them, as all boys’ parents will doubt that she is a virgin!
I know, among college students, things are changing in India, too, but that again is only a small percentage of people in this huge country and most people in India still see any touch of a man and a woman as something sexual!
That is exactly what you have to get out of your mind: in the west, a hug in between men and women when they meet is nothing sexual! They can kiss each other on the cheek and they just want to say hello, nothing else! So if your western wife gets happy to see an old friend when he comes to visit in India and hugs him close and long, don’t freak out. If your wife goes out to work and you know she will sit at the same desk and work in a team with her male colleague, who also happens to be a friend by now, don’t mistrust her!
You need to learn to trust her as well! If you live in the west, your wife will go to the beach in a bikini and wear her usual skirts and tops in which she would be considered ‘indecent’ in India but which are totally normal to wear in the west. She will enjoy days and evenings with friends – female and male – and you will not always be there to see exactly what happens in between all of them. You have to get rid of your jealousy because you cannot ask her to get rid of her friends – that would most probably be the end of your relationship!
There are more such topics and potential difficulties which you can more easily navigate if you have talked about them before. I am already looking forward to describing them next week!
Experience has shown me again and again that some people will always keep on searching for mistakes. If you want to be happy, you cannot care much about them. All you can do is live authentically, honestly and with full confidence for your actions. After that, you can ignore such people without worrying about it or giving importance to their words.
I have given you examples for such behaviour throughout the week. I chose a picture for my blog entry, clicking through many photos of happy children. I decided to use one in which they were smiling at the camera. The result: someone doubting on the quality of our food and our concept of equality. My friend does huge efforts to support a charity and gets insulted for his sexual orientation – which has nothing to do with the charity at all! I write the recipe for making yoghurt and I get comments saying ‘Everyone knows this, it is so simple! Why do you write that?’
There will always be people like this. I have seen this my whole life long. I am a very happy person and have always be successful. When you are successful, people are jealous. When you are happy, people are jealous. It doesn’t matter it is due to a personal problem with you or just simply an inferiority complex, they are just jealous because you are successful and happy and they apparently are not.
They won’t be able to do anything against your success. They obviously feel that they cannot be happy for you because of your success or with you in your happiness. That’s how they try to feel more equal to you by bringing you down. Or at least they make every effort to bring you down.
Do you let them?
It is really your decision! You can choose if you would like to give them this success or not. It won’t actually make them happier. All it will do is make you unhappy if you let them bother you! They don’t see that your happiness is alone your decision. That you are successful because you choose to see it this way. That they could be happy as well, would they just take things the way you do!
It is not your duty to make them see this. It is your duty to stay happy no matter what such people say.
After visiting a lot of different places in Germany in 2005, I also went to Copenhagen in that year, as it had nearly become a routine over the years. I had made several friends there over the course of time and I was looking forward to see them all again. One of them had birthday in the time when I was there, too, and so it was nice to get together and enjoy. In the days that I spent in Denmark, I also had quite an interesting conversation with one of my friends, who strongly believed in polygamous relationships.
This friend did not only say that he believed in open relationships, he also lived according to this philosophy. He was in a relationship with a woman whom he called his wife but he simultaneously had a loose connection with several other women as well. He lived together with one woman but they both agreed that they could sleep with other men and women, too. They had probably enjoyed threesomes with people whom they both liked, too. Until I met them I had heard of this concept but had not closely met people who lived according to it, so I was always interested to hear more about their daily life and how they managed in this open relationship.
When I was there in May 2005, my friend was not very happy and seemed rather thoughtful and sad to me. When I asked him what the matter was, he told me that his wife had had sex with another man. I also knew this man and nodded, wondering whether that was a matter to be sad. He admitted ‘When I got to know that she had slept with him, I felt jealous and I had to go out and take a long walk in the forest to calm down.
I did not completely understand that and asked ‘I know that you have slept with other women, too. How come you get upset if your wife sleeps with another man if you can sleep with other women?’ ‘I wouldn’t mind if she had sex with you!’ he answered, ‘But just look at that guy with whom she slept! You know him! It is as though she sleeps with just any random guy on the street!’
I tried to open his eyes a little bit through his curtain of jealousy: ‘If she has the freedom to sleep with someone else, you are not the one who can decide with whom she should sleep! It is her own, free choice! You see, it is normal, human nature to be jealous but you both agreed that you would not be! If you can sleep with others and not ask her about it, she can do the same!’
I have seen this and other examples that gave me the impression that polygamous relationships don’t really work. If you are really in love with someone, this situation makes you jealous, you won’t be able to avoid that! If you have feelings for this person, it is impossible!
I believe the concept of open relationships is against human nature. If you just want to function sexually, without any feelings and without love, it might work, as you are creating no attachment. If you continue your sexual relationship for a longer time though, you will develop feelings and that is the point where jealousy can happen, too! If you love someone, if you feel for someone and this person sleeps with someone else, it is natural that you get jealous!
Open relationships can only work if you don’t have feelings. So if you believe in this concept, don’t allow yourself to fall in love – otherwise you will get into a sad situation like my friend. He could accept what I told him – but of course the pain was there anyway!
Not too long ago I had a consultation session that I want to write about today because I believe this woman’s problem could be quite common. She told me that she had broken up with her boyfriend already a year ago. In general it had been her decision to break up and although it had hurt she knew that it had been the right decision. But whenever she got to know that he had a new girlfriend or saw pictures online how he was hanging out with other women, she had a nagging feeling of jealousy – and then straight away got angry at herself for this feeling. What should she do?
The real problem is not jealousy. If you know me and my idea of life, you will know that I believe feelings like jealousy are very natural. So first of all you should not get angry at yourself for being jealous! Let the feeling come and go – and find out the reason why it is happening. I actually believe you are inviting it, creating this situation voluntarily.
How, you ask?
By looking for your ex-boyfriend online! By keeping him on your facebook friends list and not only that, regularly visiting his profile to check what he is up to and keeping him in a list for the most important people whose updates you always want to have! Almost spying on him through social networks! If you don’t want to hear about him and what he is doing, just cut that connection! Oh, but you are a bit curious, aren’t you?
The reality is however that you have no right over the other person’s love life anymore. You gave that up the moment you declared the partnership to be over. In a partnership you have an agreement not to have sex with others, not to dance in a close embrace with other men or women and to be loyal. Once you end your partnership, you have to end this feeling that you have any right to know what the other one is doing or even interfere in that! You are not entitled to comment anymore!
You have to give your feelings, your heart and mind a clear message that the other one is not ‘yours’ anymore! By looking out for new information about the ex, by checking his holiday pictures online and trying to see a sign of ‘the new one’, you are torturing yourself! You need distance so that your unnecessary feeling of jealousy can stop!
And so that you can go on with your life! Because since you both broke up, you are too busy putting your emotions into your past relationship! You are alone, you may even feel lonely but you keep clinging to old times. You don’t regret breaking up, you know why you did it, so let it go!
Until you don’t do that, until you don’t create a clear distance that lets you get peace to sort out your own life, it will be very difficult for any other man to enter your life. Anyone else will notice your jealousy and attachment to your former boyfriend – and know that you don’t have space in your heart for someone else yet.
Do you argue that you don’t want to act in an aggressive way by cutting all connections, even online? You don’t need to be rude to your ex-boyfriend! You can explain that you are confused, that you need time for your feelings to clear, that you want the separation now. There is a wish to be friends? Well, that is fine and maybe later but for now you need the distance!
Stop torturing yourself, keep your distance and you will notice how it gets less and less important what your ex is doing. At some point the jealousy will be completely gone – and you can invite the love of a relationship into your live again.
Yesterday I described how we literally watch natural emotions developing in our baby. Just some time ago I saw another small incident here at the Ashram which is related to this and which I thought I would tell you about.
One of our teacher usually brings her one-and-a-half year old girl to school. She is called Pari. She cannot even really speak yet and just communicates with noises and pointing but she understands every word you say. She spends her days partly in school, partly walking around here at the Ashram and everybody talks to her, smiles at her and plays with her. She was the smallest one at the Ashram.
Now Apara came. While Pari looked small to us before, Apara was even smaller. When we brought her out one day, the teachers and all people around naturally came to look at our Apara. She was the center of everyone’s attention and everybody talked to her or about her. One of the teachers took Apara in her arms and the others leaned over to have a closer look. Pari, at that moment on the arms of her mother, had already pulled a face before and now even started pushing the teacher who was holding Apara – she was jealous!
We managed to calm her down with some cookies but it was really a very clear display of a natural emotion: jealousy. She is so young and small, nobody taught her what it means to be jealous. She has no personal issues with Apara – how could she? – but jealousy got triggered naturally when she noticed that people’s attention get diverted from her to Apara.
There are different levels for becoming jealous depending on your mind, consciousness or willpower. For this little girl, it was enough to have another person who got more attention than she herself. For adults it may take a bit more, for example if your partner falls in love with someone else.
Whatever it is that makes you feel jealous, you should not fight this feeling. This is the first thing that you need to learn because it will only make it worse. I hope the story above shows you that it is a fully natural feeling. You are not bad or wrong for the fact that you have this feeling in you. You need to accept jealousy as something natural. There is no reason to create guilt about being jealous. Accept it.
You are however not as young as Pari anymore, so you should not start pushing or punching your object of jealousy or anybody else. Accept that you are jealous and then realize that there is an adult way to treat this problem: talk about it if you feel like it, not blaming the other one but explaining your feelings. If it works without and you realize that there was no real reason to be jealous – that is even better! Just don’t have a bad conscience for the fact that you felt jealous. It is simply natural.
There is a topic which comes up again and again when I talk with different people. It comes up because it is just naturally in everybody’s mind and it comes up because people have made a very big issue about it: sex. People ask me what I think about sex, about promiscuity, about cheating and about sexual urge.
I heard several times, and of course from women, that the society is unfair regarding women who have a lot of sex compared to men who have a lot of sex. They tell me it seems if a man has several girlfriends, partners or affairs at the same time, he is seen as a great guy, the one who manages to get all these women. Men treat him with respect and maybe even jealousy while women get even more attracted to him. When a woman decides to sleep with changing partners however she quickly gets the reputation of being an easy girl or worse.
I would say that there should not be any difference made in between men and women. Why do you judge a man in another way than a woman? Why do you judge at all? If one person, be that man or woman, decides to have intercourse with different people, it has nothing to do with you, it is their life and their decision.
Of course I am of the opinion if a married person has sex with others, it is wrong. You are in a commitment and if you don’t stick to this, you are cheating the other one, no matter if you are a man or a woman. And even if you are not married but have sex with people who are, you are just the second one who is doing wrong. You are most probably hurting another person through your action.
Apart from that, if you are an adult single man or woman and you have the urge to have sex, you feel sexual need, then I don’t see any problem in it. No difference in gender. If you are hungry, you eat. If you are thirsty, you drink. If you are horny, you have sex. If this is just your instinct, your natural feeling, I would also tell you to go for it and don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t have bad feelings if you have sex in this way. Sex is not a subject of mind, it is a subject of your soul or your body. And if for some time it is simply very physical for you, it is fine!
Of course, I believe it is much more beautiful if there is more love and more soul in it. Then it is making of love and not only physical intercourse. It can happen without love, then you just have sex for having sex. But anybody, man or woman, who has ever experienced sex on the level of soul, will agree that it is the most beautiful experience that you can make.
So today is the day of Diwali, the day which children have been looking forward to the whole year long, the day of lights and sweets! We hear how everywhere children and adults are lighting fireworks.
In my childhood I also liked fireworks very much and we celebrated a lot in this way. If I think of fireworks now however, I think that it is unnecessary to see coloured lights and especially to hear that much noise. Often it is only a kind of showing off and in two minutes everything is over. It doesn’t attract me and it is not fun for me. I believe it doesn’t make sense to burn money to ashes just for some noise and colour. On top of that you create a lot of pollutions with the smoke and the chemicals that are in the fireworks.
This is my opinion to fireworks but when we talked about it, Purnendu, Ramona and Yashendu said ‘We have children at the Ashram, between 3 and 13 years old, and they would love to have fireworks. If we don’t buy fireworks for them and don’t allow them to light crackers, they will be sad. They will stand at the gate, watch all the children of the neighbourhood how they have fun and are happy and they will just feel jealous and envious!’
When they said that, I thought how much fun I had with fireworks in my own childhood and I thought yes, we also buy some for them! We will buy fireworks that make more colour than noise and not too much, so that we don’t create too much pollution either. I am still of the same opinion but I hope and believe that these children will understand my opinion when they get older and then won’t spend their pocket money for fireworks. It took me some time, too, to get to this opinion.
For today we have some fireworks, Purnendu bought new clothes for them and Ammaji made a lot of sweets.
The Ashram is nicely decorated and soon we will light all candles so that we will have a beautiful view on the Ashram from everywhere! A beautiful festive day with presents and love for everyone.
We, the whole Ashram family, wish you Happy Diwali!
I am happy these days, life is wonderful. It is beautiful and when you are in this mood, you enjoy everything. You are jolly, you are happy and you meet people in this way. The usual reaction will be that people smile back at you, they are happy, too, that there is a person as happy as you and already you shared a little happiness with them.
However you might also get another experience which Thomas mentioned when I talked with him about this some time ago: some people don’t get happy, they seem to begin searching for something that could make you unhappy. They are jealous and think ‘Why are you so happy?’ and even if they do not realize it, even if it happens subconsciously, they are searching for something to say that could spoil your mood.
Did you ever experience a small mean remark of someone just at a moment when you were really happy? It can be a reminder of a part of your life that is not so well such as ‘That is great but what will your ex-wife/parents/boss think of that?’ or a try to make you afraid like ‘For now you can do this but think about the future/money/your children!’
Don’t let this get you down! If you are in a great mood, you can manage it, whatever will come. If you are happy, you can make connections with other people, you can share and spread your happiness. There are more people who are happy with you than those who are not. And for those who want to put you down, you actually need to see that they are not happy themselves. They need even more happiness than those who can smile with you. So stay smiling and reply ‘Everything will be fine, don’t worry!’
Today our friend Jennifer from the US arrived at the Ashram, too. When we have visitors like these days, it is always nice to see how open Suraj, Kanu and their smallest brother Chhotu are to people they don’t know. They are not at all shy but immediately approach them and you can see just how innocent children are. When I watched the kids today I saw how Suraj was sitting on Purnendu’s lap and the other two came and also wanted to sit. But they all wanted to sit alone on his lap, being jealous of the two others whenever they got the chance.
I thought a little bit about jealousy and I have to say that it is, too, just a natural emotion. However when an adult behaves in this way, it is childish. It is natural for adults, too, it is normal that this feeling comes up from time to time. If you feel jealous, allow it. If you struggle or fight with it, it will irritate you more. You can be jealous, but realize that it is not a grown-up emotion. So when you realize your feeling, accept it and let it go again. If there was a justified reason for it, express it. If it was not, express it to yourself and then let it go. There is no sense in being upset about the fact that you have this feeling.