Two things that I’ve discovered are necessary for long-term happiness are living with companionship and truth. The tricky part is you can’t always have both. Living the life of a meditator, especially in the early stages, brings this challenge to the forefront. Almost everyone who sits a 10-day course know they’ve experienced a deep truth, possibly deeper than they’ve ever experienced before, but upon returning home many individuals find it very difficult to sustain their daily practice. I believe a large part of this is the tension this new truth brings to their relationships. Friends and family who haven’t experienced the same truth that comes from a course resist. Everyone is a little stuck in their ways and change is difficult.
This makes the meditator feel that they must choose between truth and companionship. And the stronger energy comes from the relationships. The meditator has know these people for years, even decades, so these bonds are strong relative to the connection of truth through dhamma which has only been growing for 10 days. It’s very tempting for the meditator to abandon his or her practice to protect these relationships.
But before your throw away your meditation practice, consider one thing. Can you be happy in the long run if you don’t align your life with truth? Now that you’ve tasted the nectar or dhamma will you ever be comfortable with the temporary truths that dictate our lives again? My answer to both questions was no so I maintained my practice. In the short-term my relationships took a hit because people didn’t understand, but slowly I’m starting to cultivate new relationships with people who share my path and I’m also improving my relationships with my old companions. While siding with truth over your companions is initially challenging, it’s the only way to find long-term happiness. Time to meditate.