Last night as I was doing my evening meditation, I started thinking about relationships and whether anything in life is truly eternal. Is there anything that can never be lost? If so, what?
Straight away, all the things that WON’T last sprang to mind. The body will die. Possessions will be lost. People will change and eventually leave the world. Even memories will fade over time. When nothing can be relied on as constant, what is there left over?
Thinking about this strips away so much of what we have created around us: things, activities, possessions. All that is left as a constant within us is our own consciousness (the ‘I’ which experiences everything). There may be one other thing that’s always there but somehow not there: the passing of time. If all you had to really rely on as a constant in your life was TIME with YOU, would it be enough to make you happy? That’s the situation we are in, and instead of being limiting or lonely, it can be one of the most liberating things we experience: self-awareness and contentment with the self.
But how does this affect relationships? Surely we are not expected to live like hermits, not enjoying the company of our loved ones? I truly feel that deep, ‘real’ relationships are one of the most joyful aspects of life. Realising our own independence (emotional independence) from other people actually enriches our bonds. They, like us, are eternal and independent, so when we form a bond it is only out of love, free-will and joy, not neediness.
We create so many invisible ‘contracts’ with people. You do x,y,z for me and I’ll give you a,b,c in return. This kind of expectation makes relationships into business deals motivated by self-interest, and we begin to resent people or feel guilty within when contracts are not fulfilled (which is BOUND to happen at some point because no one can act like a robot according to our instructions at all times – relationships are not just limited to office hours, after all). Then we get into such a mess that we start feeling disharmony and the joy of life literally diminishes.
But if we come without any contracts, we realise that truly we are in a continuous relationship with no-one but ourselves (or, another way to see it is that we are in relationships with the WHOLE world in different ways at different times). In this way, expectations dissolve and we meet out of choice, love and joy.
Going within ourselves and seeing our emotional independence is not just good for the self; it helps all those we love.