Whether we know it or not, we all are on a spiritual path. It might not seem so seeing how some people lead their lives, or what their interests, characters and behaviours are like; but everyone wants a better life. Everyone hurts and everyone suffers. The spiritual awakening happens at a different stage for everyone, and all of us are waiting for that miracle. They might not admit it, but the fact is that everyone has a soul, everyone is a soul and in one way or another we all feel it pushing through.
The fact that one lives in denial due to life long exposure to a set of beliefs usually causes others to resist the beliefs of others. When we initiate the spiritual path openly, our attention is focused on these practices. Wanting to evolve in the spiritual journey is something that should come from within. We can never force anyone to take it. It does not work in any other way.
It is very common that people in relationships are affected by this. The number of women interested in spirituality is far greater than men. I know of many women who suffer due to such imbalance. In order to change attitudes towards spirituality we have to integrate the beliefs of others, not to dismiss them and accept people as they are now. There is always a good reason for people's attitudes and behaviours. Men have not been trained to seek the spiritual; our attention has been directed towards a more material life, so as to be providers, but in a world in which currently most people provide for themselves, this idea is obsolete. Yet, many men are following the spiritual path. Everyone wants to find inner peace and men are not the exception.
The first thing we have to do is to look at ourselves. In 'How most people sabotage their spiritual growth' I gave a few reasons as to why spirituality is not taken seriously, neither by those who practice it, not by those who see it from non-practicing position. A partner that challenges our beliefs is still a valid partner. Why are they challenging us? and why did we attract and felt attracted to that person in the first instance? If you are in a relationship, you chose to be with that person.
There is at least one belief and one activity that the non-spiritual follow which can be related to. Pain and suffering is the same for everyone even if expressed differently, and neither can be removed without seeking truth within. There are several problems when we disagree on these matters. We need to explain processes, concepts and practices clearly. If we cannot do so, we might not understand it fully. I do remember years ago someone looking at my writing and the only thing they could say was that they "only believed in the universal truth". When I asked them to expand on it, there was a silence that continues until today. Of course, they never were given the opportunity to give a glimpse at my writing again.
This is another problem. There are people in the spiritual path using the theory against others, instead of treating them with love, kindness, understanding and compassion. At least once a week I receive a comment from an occasional reader throwing these theories like knives. I call this the 'Text Book Syndrome." And the only intention is to prove others wrong. More to it, the comments are usually off topic and I know they have not even read the blog post. Whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, using our knowledge to try and harm others has nothing to do with spirituality.
A person could be doing their own research in many different ways. To give an example, I have been a keen reader of classics and contemporary literature, but also in philosophy, economics, politics, art, psychology, plus a long list of disciplines including theory of mathematics, which is not my forte. In the end all that mattered to me was to live the experience, not the theory, as this is what made a difference in my life. Spiritual or self-help books hardly ever got my attention. The interest is in the universal and all answers can be found in any book if read with intention. Find the intention of your partner and together, begin to work with it, not against each other.
Open new channels of communication and find out what your true intentions are. Are you trying to change your partner? Whilst this intention might seem very loving, it is not. Only when someone decides to grow spirituality a change will occur. Let's change ourselves first and when we do, others will follow. When we try to change a person against their will, the reaction is defensive and causes them to close down. No one likes to be told what to do or that they are doing it wrong. There is a time in life for everyone in which we do realise our own truth and that we might have to change it, but it is always our choice.
We cannot force our beliefs and opinions on others. Give space, but also make sure yours is safe and respected. It is possible to be kind and loving and still stand our ground strongly. It is not a battle, but a strong belief in your convictions. Watch for that belief that is being challenged and ask yourself why without reacting to it.
Sit down for thirty minutes with your partner and express your feelings, emotions and ideas and what you would expect from a them. It is essential that we do not to give ultimatums, such as, "you do this with me or else!" It is important to get it out of your system. Ask your partner to listen to you without their comments and opinions. Being spiritual does not make us better than anyone else. No one is above or below, we are just different and we will continue being different regardless of how much complicity we find in others.
This is an exercise to express yourself. A time to be listened to. It is also important that you are not interrupted. Ask your partner to do the same, to express what they feel about themselves, not about your beliefs and practices. And listen, do listen and stay with your feelings and their feelings.
It is not about correcting the beliefs and ideas of others, but about listening to each other with respect, hence the importance of no interference during this process. It is very rare to listen to our partners or to talk to them without interruptions for such length of time. Once again, be flexible and decide in which way you want to do it. Don't prepare a speech, be spontaneous and express what you feel at the moment. Preparing for this exercise does not work. You already know what you feel and what you want to say. Say it! It is not a time to throw accusations either, but to express your feelings and what it means to you regardless of what happened in the past.
If you are reading this blog post is very likely that you are facing this situation right now. Use this opportunity as a constructive tool to improve the situation and create a new reality if possible. When you have gone through the experience, answers and insights will undoubtedly come to you and you will know what to do next. Sometimes relationships have to end, but if there is love, doing anything you can to improve it and take it to a different level of understanding might be worth the effort.
If they love you, they will understand the concepts of love, respect, understanding, kindness and compassion. If they don't and you are attacked, ask yourself why it is happening, and most importantly, is it worth it?
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