Humor is spiritual because laughing shows the ability to detach
from life, to realize that life is just like "froth on a wave."
Sometimes people embrace the idea of "loving unconditionally"
simply because they're weak, and they're afraid of dealing with
the truth as it is. Or they're simply afraid. So they don't really
love unconditionally; they're simply accepting things as they are
because they don't know how to go about influencing the situation.
Money represents, among many other things, freedom and security for people.
In the spiritual world, it can be a very complex issue. On the one hand,
you find a few true renunciates who are genuinely beyond the material sphere.
But then you find people who are afraid to put out the energy to make money,
and who try to "renounce" what they don't even yet possess.
The test then becomes, "Do I trust my own experience?" Sometimes deep seated
fears and memories of past disillusionments have to be faced and resolved
before the question can be answered. It’s not always easy.
Ours is a path of Self-realization. We don’t have the safety net of a powerful
organization or a dogmatic theology to protect us from hard questions. We’ll
share with you the confidence we have in our experience, but ultimately
each one of you has to decide for yourself what is true.
On marriage: The first marriage has to be a marriage to Truth. Better to
be lonely and living according to the truth than to be living with someone
who will take you away from it; you have to come to terms with this or you
will be trying to fit the truth to what you want it to be . . . The purpose
for marriage is for self-knowledge and self-growth; and if that purpose
is fulfilled, then the relationship will be fulfilled . . . Your wedding
is an agreement to make a marriage; marriage is not a solution; it's the
beginning of a challenge, a process. The process is to create not one person
out of 2 people, but 2 people out of 2 people . . . If you decide to be
unhappy, no one in this world can make you happy, and vice versa. It's a
personal decision. If you feel unhappy in a marriage, it's not your spouse's
fault; you have to take total responsibility for your own state of mind
. . . A marriage contract is only a social agreement until we make it sacred
by the consciousness we put into it.
-- Asha Praver
32 years earlier, she helped found the Ananda Village -- today,
it's the largest urban cooperative living venture in America.