Life Advice by Catherine Ingram
Dear Catherine, Since my divorce of a few years ago, I have been living in a state of inner peace. Recently, however, I began dating again after meeting a man who is fun and loving but has an eye for ladies and flirts with others at parties. He says that he wants a relationship where he is free to date others and that I should be free enough to let him. I’m not at peace much anymore because I’m constantly feeling jealous and threatened. I don’t like the inner disturbance that I’m experiencing now. How can I handle these feelings and get back to a state of calm? —J.C., Vancouver
Dear J.C., When the stress of this relationship starts to outweigh the fun, it may be time to move on. And you need make no apology to him or anyone else about what feels right and good to you. His idea about your ability to be free in the face of his behavior seems suspiciously self-serving. When the time comes, use your true inner freedom to walk away from someone who doesn’t want a committed relationship with you. It doesn’t sound like you are in too deep with this one. —Catherine
Dear Catherine, How would you suggest that one approach a life/career decision? I work for a major corporation that is in reorganization. This week I was told that I must decide either to leave the company or take on another position with them that is more risky but has greater earning potential. I’m in a bit of a quandary and cannot decide between these options. Do I leave and chance the unknown or stay and get creative? You can’t answer this for me, of course, but I would appreciate your advice on how to approach such a decision from a spiritual perspective. Thank you. —L.C., Los Angeles
Dear L.C., In making any kind of decision, we have a tendency to weigh the various options and play out multiple scenarios and outcomes in our minds. This is a normal process and seems to happen on its own. The mind will come to a point of natural exhaustion in that process. The facts are all in—the data about the options—and the mind has duly recorded and considered them. It is at that point that a dharmic perspective is useful because it encourages the mind to relax after all its hard work and let the heart feel what it wants, rather than just letting the mind rest temporarily and then going over the same details in a frenzied confusion. Most of the great inspirations in our lives spring from a silence of the mind and heart, not from a lot of thinking. Give yourself some quiet time and see what reveals itself about your next steps. —Catherine
Dear Catherine, About two years ago I invited a friend to share my house, both wanting the company and to share expenses. However, living with her has turned out to be a huge mistake as our living habits and ways of doing things are completely incompatible. I have asked her to find another place to live, but she is angry about this and seems to purposely be doing things to annoy me. On one hand I feel I have the right to have my own house back, but on the other I feel that I am being a bad friend by asking her to move out and have carried this so far as to judge myself as intolerant and selfish. Could you please shed some perspective on this situation? Thank you, —L.G., Portland
Dear L.G., If talking things through and setting ground rules for how to live in the same space together has not worked, then it is probably best for your friend to move elsewhere. Otherwise, your situation could further deteriorate until there is virtually no friendship left. Try to be as kind and generous as possible in giving time and help in your friend’s relocation. But know that it is fair enough for you to want—and have—peace in your own home. —Catherine
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Catherine Ingram is an international dharma teacher and author of Passionate Presence and In the Footsteps of Gandhi. She leads retreats and public events called Dharma Dialogues, which remind us that love is the only power that lasts. See her forthcoming schedule for Portland and other events at www.DharmaDialogues.org.