Why do I keep winding up in conflict with friends and family over spiritual matters? I just want them to see what I see.

The truth is you are afraid of being alone and you intuit the path forward is precisely that. You wish to take these people with you out of your own fear as these are the ones who bind you to your old life. This doesn’t mean abandoning your friends and family outwardly, rather it means standing completely alone inwardly. It is in this inner aloneness that one is capable of reaching the inner most Self.

-Atreya Thomas

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Question: My husband cheated on me and I can not get over it. Help.

Who is the “me” that got cheated on? Surely, if a casual acquaintance at work told you they cheated on you, it would mean nothing because you have never put a set standard or expectation on them. I am saying this to illustrate that this “me” that was cheated on is partial, judges by a standard, and then inflicts pain on itself because its expectations were not met. True freedom lies in the ability to see all with an equal eye. Nevertheless, it is still painful on a human level and that is normal and is right. But begin to make your primary relationship a secret one in your heart with the Lord itself. As this relationship will never betray you, and you will be able to weather the humanity of your life while being anchored in divinity.

Perfect Love

Perfection in close relationships is to be in relationship with the Source within that person, while discarding the details of his or her personality. Bend your love towards the Absolute; and it will not be the person you love but the Lord within them. Therefore, eliminating the “middle man” or “me” that creates strife, with its demands, opinions, fears, and judgements.

-Atreya Thomas

The Crown Jewel of Relationships

The teacher’s goal is to reassure and clear any doubts about the existence of the Absolute; and point to and set the seeker on the path that leads straight to It.

The parent reassures the child that they are safe. The spouse reassures their partner that they are loved.

Do not be that person who stands aloof, and moves away from pain. Instead, deeply and profoundly lean into your experiences in spite of the intense desire to close the heart in the face of fear, anger, and total annihilation of one’s pride.

Reassure darkness that there is light. Reassure pain that there is healing; and reassure anger that there is compassion. In doing so, Grace will reassure you that in spite of whatever happens in your life; you are taken care of and indestructible trust is finally restored.

My spouse is not interested in anything spiritual. It can be very frustrating because it feels bad when they have no interest in what I have to say. They also feel challenged by my disinterest in their ideas. Where do I go with this?

Yes. Often, the parts of our self that we marginalize tend to manifest in the people closest to us. In fact, what we resist tends to keep knocking at our door somewhere in our life demanding integration, no?

As a spiritual seeker who lives in a household, it is fitting that you are pushed away by external relationships so they you may turn inward and not seek Eternity in forms (people, concepts, sensations, etc.).

Can you stand completely alone in the midst of these personal relationships to wife, husband, kids, parents, job, etc.? When we stand completely free from seeking Eternity in outer transient forms and discover the Impenetrable Fortress Within, it is from that space that you can truly love your spouse. Why? Because it will not be based on conditions and expectations of them “being a certain way” and you looking for validation.

It will not be “them” that you love, but rather the inner yolk of eternity within all people, places, and things. With great perseverance seek that inner gem within yourself by turning away from the outer shell that goes by your first name. With great intensity devote yourself to surrendering both mind and body phenomenon.

Let these relationships show you where there is the confusion of mistaking the transient for the Eternal. Offer your thoughts and feelings that arise as a sacrifice to the moment.

“You can have me.”

Allow yourself to be humiliated and let the very people who you think are supposed to be supportive, martyr you.

With all the strength you can muster, drag the “me” into the purifying flames of humiliation, and offer it to Death, the One, the Lord.

Question: Why does it seem so hard to love the people closest to me? I fear my dad deep down, and feel annoyed at my spouse for little things like messiness.

The reason we do not know our self as the One is because we are fragmented as we marginalize what we deem the “worst” parts of our self, and try to stay in a small corner of what we deem the “best” parts of our self. These marginalized parts will always manifest themselves in others, often the closest people to us. We literally attract what we resist, because homeostasis lies in complete integration and life naturally demands it.

You fear the violence in your father because you fear the violence in yourself and refuse to come in contact with it, which would heal it through direct embrace.

The messiness of your spouse causes pain because you have deemed that “wrong and incompetent.” In turn, inadvertently marginalizing the Lord within them. The same thing happened with your father. The only Real Love is complete love that incorporates not segregates.

It is not people we must love but the Source from which they spring.

What is the mechanism that breaks up love and chooses what to fear, and what to like? Surely, this mechanism masquerades as your “first name,” and creates an exclusive partial ego or the “me.” Here is a few mantras for you. Pick one that you relate to:

“The sum of the transient dualistic parts, is the Eternal One. I am that.”

“I am everything simultaneously but never ever anything exclusive.”

“I will allow for exclusive thoughts to exist, but I know I am not any one of them in particular.”

“Only the sum can equal the One.”

In Joy

Question: Atreya. How can I feel more confident and secure in my relationships? I want that real spiritual confidence and peace! I often feel awkward and insecure. What can I do?

“Spiritual confidence” in human relationships as opposed to egoic confidence, comes from the ability to communicate nonverbally. This is done through unwavering eye contact coupled with humility. Humility is to allow yourself to be completely humiliated without any movement to preserve the “me.” There must be the freedom to look at all times with vulnerabilty as the first and foremost action in all relationships: as if you are looking upon death itself with open arms.

The insecurity comes from identification with the “me.” “How should I act? What do I say? Do they think I am weird? Did I say the right thing, was I understood?” The voice in the head may spend many hours maybe even days, replaying the conversation and interaction. This is due to the belief that thought is the basis for all relationship and requires verbal understanding and recognition. From there, the approach becomes to build up ways to assert the ego and become more intellectual and verbally dominating in our relationships.

There is a different relationship that takes place on a nonverbal level; and this should be primary. The verbiage will come secondary as a spontaneous expression. In this way, there will no longer be a doer, but space from which all is done.

Here is an exercise: Start with looking at yourself very still in the mirror (a few feet away). Try and hold this for a few minutes; blink as little as possible. Get comfortable wih making eye contact with yourself (pick one eye and stay with it). When you interact with people, condition yourself to have the freedom to look at others as you looked at yourself in the mirror. Just look with vulnerability. Use head nods to acknowledge, and answer questions softly if asked; but give a long pause with eye contact before answering.

Notice how you are pulling your stomach and diaphragm up all the time. Let this just hang, extend and become soft with every inhale and exhale. Drop the shoulders and just look. Devalue the verbiage in your interactions and connect through nonverbal freedom (even if it is extremely uncomfortable at first).

Many thoughts will arise, as well as sensations. Just look at it all and melt into it. Raise your eyebrows and raise your chin. Allow yourself to die into the moment; which is the only thing that is real and requires no thought to exist.

Here is a mantra for you to repeat as you begin. “Contact not concepts.”