During covid time (2020), I read the book – The Second Mountain by David Brooks. (Swami ji mentioned it in one of his discourses).
The core philosophy of this book is quite interesting. In a nutshell, it says we all have two mountains to climb. First – The mountain of our ego and ambition. Second- Our true purpose; selfless goal. And the beauty or challenge is that the second mountain finds you when you have reached the summit of the first one. From there, it’s just the leap of faith that we have to take.
I recommend reading this book to grasp a lot of beautiful learnings. This post covers a chapter I found helpful, as it came around when I was getting married. I thought to remind myself of the learnings now (2 saal ho gaye hai shaadi ko) 🙂
The name of the chapter is Maximum Marriage. Let me start by sharing a poem from it-
“I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife’s hair.
For two months got them from the drain, from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came, there was no way to be sure which were hers, and I stopped.
A year later, repotting Michiko’s avocado, I find a long black hair tangled in the dirt.”
Jack Gilbert wrote this beautiful poem- “Married” in loving memory of his wife- Michiko Nogami. She died of cancer at thirty-six.
When I read this first time, I was awestruck. How can someone love somebody with so much intensity? And that’s the thing with love; it is never enough. The more you give and go deeper into it, the more you feel to give.
Marriage is that tunnel you get into to give all of yourself, your love, and care, and surrender to the ups and downs of this long journey. Not waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but making it lit through the shine of love and crush open the tunnel into the open sky. Marriage is a commitment to make someone feel special, serve, and rejoice in it.
Before Marriage, I used to have a lot of time in my hand to spend however I desired. Post it, I faced the difficulty of taking out time to work on myself. Marriage demands time, which is required to nurture the newly-born relationship. And that is one core learning that I could relate to what’s mentioned in the book: “If you go into marriage seeking self-actualization, you will always feel frustrated because marriage, especially parenting, will constantly be dragging you away from the goals of self.”
With time, I have also understood that my time management skills must be improved to balance my me-time and family time.
A beautiful passage from the book-
“Marraige is knowing she likes to get to the airport early. Marriage is taking the time to make the bed even though you know that if you did not do it she probably would. At the grand level, Marriage means offering love, respect, and safety, but day to day, there are never-ending small gestures of tact and consideration, in which you show you understand her moods, you cherish his presence, that this other person is the center of your world.”
Every Marriage, be of any sort, has obstacles. And one of the major impediments is one word- Expectation.
The bigger it is, the more complex the journey. When two people in a relationship expect excellent outcomes from each other, it is bound to get suffocated. Personally, whenever my expectation did not get met, I felt disheartened. Now, the expectation could be of any kind. As small as expecting that she likes the same song, food, or place as I do. Being flexible allows you to lower your expectations and freely accept the other person as she is.
In the end, Marriage is a journey of self-purification, as to make it worthwhile and robust, one has to shed inner impurities and fill oneself with love and only love.
And anything significant we do in our lives, any goal we set, we have to get married to that idea, which shows our commitment and dedication, like Sadhana.
An excerpt from the book-
“Marriage is the sort of thing where it’s safer to go all in, and it’s dangerous to go in half-hearted. At the far end, when done well, you see people enjoying the deepest steady joy you can find on this earth.”