One Week From Today, I Will Marry My Best Friend.

Via on Sep 30, 2012
Courtesy, Sarah Cramer

Across all religions there is a universal concept that when a man and woman marry with proper attitude they become one body. They don’t merge into each other’s existence, but it means that they start living for a common purpose—to serve God together.

-Principles for a Harmonious Marriage: Radhanath Swami

Although, this is not just another love story.

Well, it is, but that’s not the point.

The world is full of countless “love” stories. Elephant has a whole section devoted to them and it has grown by leaps and bounds. If I were a betting man, (and I’m not) I would guess that elephant love will surpass elephant yoga, (if it hasn’t already) in readership in the coming year(s).

I love “love,” don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent my life grasping for it. More often than not, I ended up broken.

I got to the point where “love” was the last thing I wanted. I was done. I’d had enough. No more for me.

As I said, I was done looking for someone who was going to fix me, or who I could fix. I was done looking for someone to complete me, or who I could complete. I was done looking for someone to “love” me, or who I could “love.”

I know it’s popular to say this. You hear it all the time, and then before you know it, the merry-go-round starts spinning. I don’t know why this happens. Maybe people just say it to make themselves feel better? I really don’t know and it’s not my place to judge. All I do know is that I meant it.

Apparently, the universe had different plans.

I know, this sounds just like all the other stories you’ve read, right? Well, I guess it would be, but for one simple fact.

My love began with a turn away from the mundane world of impermanent things and fly-by-night emotions. Love only came to me in the process of re-engaging in my relationship with the divine.

Giving up the endless search for “endless love,” doesn’t happen overnight. The universe abhors a vacuum. You can’t just stop wanting “love,” because love animates the entire universe at its core. And there is nothing more natural, or inherent in our being, than to seek that love, real love. But, you have to know where to look.

I was lucky. I stumbled on the right path without the slightest desire for love. I didn’t want anything from the world, or my God, other than to be engaged in His service. And that’s what I prayed for every day, over and over again.

Service is the foundation of bhakti yoga.

When you love someone, there isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for them. The highest expression we see of this is the love between a mother and a child. The mother will literally lie down her life to ensure the well-being of her child. Bhakti yoga is about re-establishing our relationship with our true selves by turning our complete focus to the divine, or God. It is a science dedicated to using our emotions, feelings and sentiments to lead us back to the place of the original love shared between the beloved and the lover.

Krishna and Gopis curtesy of BBT

And the amazing thing is, when you come from a place of seeking to align yourself with the will of the Supreme, everything else falls in place. In this way, yoga becomes so much more than the funny shapes you make with your body on the mat for an hour, or two a day, three days a week; it becomes your total life.

And speaking from personal experience, while it’s not always an easy life, it is the most beautiful, complete and joyful one I’ve experienced.

And so next Sunday, when my beloved walks down the aisle, I won’t just be thinking about our relationship in terms of “love,” (although that will be there); I will be thinking about it in terms of our union together and how our relationship will guide and fortify us on our paths of self-realization.

I leave you with these words on marriage from Radhanath Swami.

From a spiritual perspective one should feel that their partner is something more than just my husband or my wife. A husband should feel towards his wife that this is the daughter of God – this is God’s deeply beloved daughter that has been entrusted in my care. How you treat her is how God will receive you. How you speak to her, how you act toward her, how you protect her are all important. Protection is said to be on three levels – physical, emotional and spiritual. To give that protection, to be forgiving to each other and to honor your spouse as God’s property, God’s gift, is how you will make spiritual progress. And a wife should feel that her partner is not just her husband but he is God’s beloved child entrusted in her care to protect, to be faithful to, and to encourage. If you see each other in this light, marriage really is yoga. Your relationship will be yoga in essence and you will make great spiritual progress.

Marriage shouldn’t be just something that we are tolerating somehow or other because we took vows. It should be something very dynamic, very flowing and very real. It should be very connected to the Divine, so that the struggles are not just depressing—the struggles are spiritual challenges that we have to meet together and every time we overcome those challenges we come to a higher spiritual platform.

By following marriage in this way it becomes a path of perfection.

-On Marriage: Radhanath Swami

 

About Thaddeus Haas

I live in Denver, CO where I maintain an active Ashtanga practice, in addition to a bodywork practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yoga forms the cornerstone of my life in all aspects. It's how I eat, how I drink, how I sleep and how I chose all my choices. In addition to my Ashtanga practice, I am devoted to following the principles and precepts of bhakti-yoga as delivered through the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Here at elephant, I write and edit in addition to serving as the ele-ambassador for both the Ashtanga and Bhakti communities.

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22 Responses to “One Week From Today, I Will Marry My Best Friend.”

  1. Love this, Thad! May your marriage help the two of you to be a greater gift to the world, as much as you are a gift to each other. xo

  2. mariavlong says:

    Swoon! Beautiful post. Congratulations to you, Frances & your loved ones.

  3. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Congratulations Thad! Wishing you much love and laughter (and everything in between). Bryonie

  4. Aella says:

    Congrats, I wish you both enough. :)

  5. Brianna says:

    Great post, Thad. And congrats!

  6. Adriane says:

    So excited for you both to continue your spiritual journeys together! Love to you and Frances!

  7. [...] – Please take a peek at this beautiful offering about love and bhakti on elephant journal by my dear Fiance [...]

  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Congrats Thad! LOVE it – and not just your tattoo-ed knuckles. :-)

  9. Heather says:

    Thank you for writing this and sharing! Having gotten married….which pulled me away from my school….and a new start in many directions, I truly love the quote the have included.

    One should NOT listen to OSHO…..he says, "'everyone who is married…go NOW and get divorced."

    If yoga is more than stretching your body…then YES…..it has to be in relation to ourselves….and serving another person. I believe the West's view may have tainted that to mean inferiority and disrespect, but even the Buddha was a humble servant.

    It reminds me of what I said to a teacher as I slowly broke the news that I would closing my school and getting married, moving, etc. I said, "Because you cannot make love to a yoga posture. "

  10. Heather says:

    Please excuse the terrible grammar and a few missing words.

    • Thaddeus1 says:

      No worries Heather. This thinking and typing simultaneously constantly finds me tongue/finger tied. Thankfully, there is never a test at the end.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Orientating in the direction of service is often an overlooked aspect of yoga philosophy and we all suffer as a result. And yes, one should not listen to Osho.

  11. [...] One Week From Today, I Will Marry My Best Friend. [...]

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