Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Paths of Marriage & Renunciation

The Paths of Marriage & Renunciation

How delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love's beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there's no untying

- Thomas Campbell

When a man and a woman are in love, they live in an exclusive world of their own. Suddenly there's so much beauty in the world. There's poetry everywhere. This flame of love and passion completely consume them and two souls find themselves bound together in a knot where "there's no untying".

This tying together of two souls should theoretically make them stronger, for each soul now has found completeness in merging itself with another. The weight of life's challenges is now supported by two--a pair of souls easily shields each other from the many vicissitudes of life.

So with the comfort and support that comes with a relationship, isn't it logical to assume that life would be a complete bliss for any couple in love?

Usually this is true in the beginning. Initially both sides temporarily forget their own personal egoes. Every action and decision is for the good of the whole, and not the part. As long as the individual ego is subsumed, a higher level or organization is allowed to take place. A new consciousness and intelligence takes hold. Happiness reigns.

Unfortunately the euphoria of love only lasts for a very short while. When the reality of everyday life begins to set in again, the ego, accustomed by habit and driven by samskaras slowly reasserts itself. From a bonding that promises selfless interdependence, the relationship degenerates into one of possession and control.

This is the point where a relationship faces its biggest challenge. You see, the ego is by nature insecure and fears a great many things that threatens its existence. In the act of giving a part of itself away to the whole, it fears that it is losing control over many things. It has to jostle for space and the right to assert itself again.

This is actually alright if there's sincerity on both sides to find some balance between personal and common interests. But the ego is more devious--it attempts to maximize all the advantages it can get without relinquishing any of its own. The ego is by definition, selfish and manipulative. The ego is the greatest enemy of love.

To love is to dissolve the ego, slowly. Love prompts you to drive your energy in the direction opposite that of your ego. Love is a spiritual impulse that seeks to propel the soul towards ultimate union with God. By learning how to accept someone in your life, you inch slowly towards that path of selflessness and turn oneself to face the beatifying grace that shines from God.

Marriage is a spiritual vocation, no lesser in sanctity and gravity than the path of renunciation, chosen by monks and priests. Both paths have their rewards and challenges. Both paths, if practised correctly, ultimately lead to God.

No comments: