“What Would Buddha Do?” A Mindful Approach To Modern Day Relationships
Health & Wellness Mar 28, 2018
Isn’t it strange that according to Forbes the global South Asian bridal fashion market alone is worth over $100 billion USD dollars yet despite the big bucks being spent on weddings, the divorce rate in India had an increase of 100% over 5 years in 2011? Are we so caught up fulfilling the cultural expectation to race into marriage that we approach is like a sprint instead of a marathon? Are we getting so lost in planning lavish weddings that we ignore relationship issues that may lead to problems past the party? In search of answers to these important questions, we reviewed Dr. Charlotte Kasl’s book “If the Buddha Dated,” a practical guide on the art of love.
Written in simple language, Kasl manages to give great advice on the importance of taking a spiritual approach to relationships in less than 210 pages. Broken down into six different sections, readers are taken down a path on how to prepare for love, ignite the initial sparks of a relationship and turn them into a durable flame.
The common theme throughout is the importance of self-awareness. As Kasl points out, we need to start examining our beliefs, perceptions and desires around love before we can enter a healthy, loving relationship. Logically, it makes sense; how can we have love if we haven’t defined what love means to us?
One challenge in practicing this is that self-reflection on love is a philosophy that differs from the historical South Asian cultural practices. For centuries (and still today), South Asians have practiced arranged marriages that consider the interests and benefits of two families before two individuals. Reflecting on our idea of love and what our ideal partnership would look like wasn’t encouraged since the majority of people wouldn’t have the opportunity to make their own choice. Why think about something that doesn’t matter?
As times have evolved, arranged marriages have declined within the South Asian population, an evolution that some (but not all) will describe as a positive change. What we need to be mindful of is with the cultural practice shifting to give us the ability to choose a partner, comes a greater responsibility to reflect on how we make that choice. Kasl’s book provides an excellent framework on what questions to ask ourselves and how to find those answers.
Ready to further reflect? Try two of these tips from Kasl:
- Start with self-love: Before we can offer a partner a supportive, accepting love, we need to practice that love on ourselves. How? A good start is to create a list of our insecurities and then work on accepting them. This will help us avoid using our partner to fill our fears as that can lead to an unhealthy dependency. An ideal partner can help us climb to new heights but should not be the roots of our self-confidence.
- Learn your love story: South Asians love a good romance — Bollywood being an over $2 billion dollar USD industry is a testament to that! We may not realize it but we are constantly telling ourselves our own love stories. Struggling to find a partner? Always stating that their are “no good men?” Perhaps your belief that there are none out there is why you haven’t found one. Kasl suggests completing an exercise to identify the ‘stories we tell ourselves’ about love to help us remember we are the ones writing them.
Main Image Photo Credit: www.booksforbetterliving.com
Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...
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