CREDOS:I do? — I

This past summer, I went to a meditation centre to practice for several weeks together with my community. At dinner on the first evening, I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He looked to be in his early sixties and I found out he was a long-time student of Buddhism. We told each other a bit about ourselves, including what we did for work, whether we were married, had a family, etc.

He was wondering about moving in with his new girlfriend — much younger than he, more enthusiastic about living together than he; hoping, he feared, for what we all eventually discover is impossible; to stabilise a relationship. He was also concerned about giving up his solitude and really didn’t know how long he would want the relationship to continue. Given all this, should they live together, could this work? he asked.

I was totally ready with “I have no idea,” when a voice popped into my head and said, “Of course it can work. As long as you don’t expect it to make you happy.” So I reported these words and we had a moment. We were kind of embarrassed; yes, Buddhists are supposed to know that craving creates suffering, but I guess we still secretly hoped that a relationship could make us happy, if only we could get the circumstances just right.

My new pal and I talked about this, about how relationships can blind us to the dharma. As I watched him walk away, I wanted to call out, “Don’t be afraid to

tell yourself the truth about relationships.” —