Because I am someone who gets easily bored (feature, not a bug), a friend exclaimed that it is surprising that I got married so early, and have been married for this long.
“Are we really born to love only one person?” he asked.
We love many people, in many different ways. We are conditioned to accept only one form of it - the one of a marital relationship. I have no problems being married. I am not conflicted in my feelings for my husband, neither are they being challenged by the society. So, it’s one that I worry about the least.
But when you’re en route to finding acceptance, either from within or from the society, it’s probably not easy. Whether you are married to one, in love with another or whether you’re single and not in love, convincing yourself to be otherwise, the journey to acceptance is a long and treacherous one.
How did I get here? How does anyone who is married want to stay married?
When you are getting married, the marriage appears like a series of dizzying decisions you’ll make about costumes, wedding halls, photographers and guest lists. But when you vow a bunch of things to each other, it is serious business. The system is designed in a manner for you to almost not pay heed to the seriousness of it.
You acknowledge the uncertain times ahead, seek strength to be able to navigate them and commit to staying together through it all.
Wait, why would anyone make such a commitment when fully sober?!
It makes no sense.
Yet, millions of people do it.
What are we hoping for? That the uncertain times will always be in our favour? That we’ll always have the strength to battle tough times? And that we’ll never have any trouble being together through it all?
No. No. No. In our rational mind, we know none of this is guaranteed, yet we deeply believe that it will be “different” in our case.
Why such foolishness?
Yes, that’s right. It’s foolishness that makes you commit to one another for life.
It’s the same foolishness which believes that the tough times shall pass and that things will get better. It’s the same foolishness that knows that good times are at best transient. Its the same foolishness that enjoys life with all its vagaries and fuels your passion/ patience to deal with another irrational adult as if they were an extension of yourself, every single day for the rest of your lives together.
Because if this weren’t foolishness, what else is it?
People say life is a “maya” (illusion). You don’t know what you don’t know, but it appears as if you do; so don’t be fooled by it.
As a child, I never understood what this meant. Now, in my 30s, especially as a parent, it is starting to dawn on me that we may not know everything and we may not be in control of everything.
I didn’t know what it meant to be my parents when they were my age. I was in school, and I had lots of friends who I hung out with. I never saw my parents go out with their friends. I never asked, but I only judged; judged them to be different from me. Now, I have some appreciation for their lives then.
I don’t know what it means to be them now, at their age in their 60s. Now, they are always busy with some social engagement. But I barely have any. While I still judge them to be different from me, I can’t help but wonder if I am wrong this time too?
The point I am trying to make is this - we choose a partner in our 20s based on what we know of life at that moment, but it’s a choice we’re making for life. So, does it really make sense to be anything other than foolish about this decision?
People often ask me…
should I get married? should I stay married?
You know what people don’t like to hear? I don’t hold the answers to their questions.
There is a moment when questions (in general) arise in our heads, and there are times when we’re spurred to act without will. But we let that moment pass, we invite our conditioned minds to present us with hypothetical choices. Then we hold a thorough review of these choices and their alignment with our made up beliefs, and allow ourselves to act at what we perceive to be an opportune moment.
But why do we do this?
We’re afraid of uncertainty, we are very efficient at securing some form of certainty. So, we are constantly looking to outsource our decisions (to people, beliefs, ideologies) in order to act, and in order to be certain of something, anything really.
We can then (dis)credit these people/ ideologies for the outcomes, desirable or not. Its comforting to take refuge in a larger more socially approved entity whether it is an ideology, a cult or a coach.
I have always been uncomfortable calling myself a coach. I am not a coach. I am not a mentor. I am not an advisor. I am probably seeking comfort in the confines of these terminologies.
When people come with their stories, questions and thoughts, I don’t try to answer their questions or solve their problems. Instead, we just sit there and try to observe whatever it is that they are experiencing as is.
It’s not easy. We get distracted, often.
People are constantly trying to bridge the “reality” with “idealism” without ever asking why this conflict exists in the first place. The ideal is self-constructed. God knows why people think it is a good use of their energy.
Then they spend more energy fuelling this ideal taking themselves farther away from reality. They don’t want to understand their reality because it simply exists. It is a fact, irrespective of the made up ideal. But they do not understand their reality - as is, without referencing it with their made up ideal.
“Oh that person is happy. They are married. Oh that must be it. But I am single. I must be unhappy. If I get married, I will be happy. How can we get me there? I have tried so hard to get there, this happiness eludes me. I must have this happiness because surely I don’t have it yet”
What I have realised through my work is that we struggle to face our realities. We are always distracted. When we’re not in touch with our reality, we are merely seeking validation for our made up ideals and looking for “action plans” to get there.
I am reminded of this computer game I played as a kid (I forget the name). You have these moving rods, and you have to keep jumping from one to the next. The rods are of different sizes and at different heights. If you have somehow managed to get onto a longer rod, you can rest for a second longer. It’s fleeting, yet you are always trying your best to get onto one of these. Sometimes, you get so caught up in getting there, you ignore where you are and end up falling off your current rod and losing your life.
Just like life, I think the game offers you a limited number of chances.
It’s a great game with profound life lessons.
I don’t want to be the fuel for someone’s made up beliefs. I don’t want to give them any action plans. I have no skin in the game, and I don’t deal with the repercussions of anyone else’s personal choices or actions in a way that they would.
My work is only about somehow facilitating inspection of reality, as is, enabling destruction of made up templates and helping people act without will. That’s all.
But this shit doesn’t sell.
People want certainty. People want answers. People want tangible results, which they believe will take them away from their reality, which they perceive to be undesirable. A reality they have been busy trying to escape. A reality that they don’t understand. A reality that they haven’t even stopped to inspect.
But just so you know, sometimes, I am these people too.
This was an amazing write up. I can relate it to the time I was getting married and as you rightly said we get distracted and not realize how serious the whole business is. In general your posts are enlightening and always educative. My only regret is not coming across them earlier. Keep them coming!