Relationship with the Self

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.

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The confusion of sexual relationships…

Our species has a real problem with sexual relationships. Other animals seem not to have this issue. They just do it with whomever they want and they deal with the consequences however they like; they go with instinct and their instincts more or less follow the pattern of nature.

But we, on the other hand, have this thing called a ‘developed’ mind, which creates all kinds of issues. For instance, attraction is instinctive, but there are so many considerations that we can’t follow through with just instinct. If you are committed, you STILL get attracted to other people but you pretend not to. You try not to act on it. This is because our society needs stable units (couples, family) for order. That’s why we’ve created a sense of possessiveness over our partners and religions with crazy commandments. So, that’s probably why 50% of couples have affairs and the divorce rate is rising (you have to hide your instincts, but you can’t hide your affair forever). Those people who are NOT having affairs are probably past being repressed and have reached a state of true contentment; these people are few and far between.

It’s really a lot to do with sex. We love sex because we love feeling desired and forgetting our limited realities. There’s nothing wrong with that unless it becomes an addiction. It’s ok if we do it, but we can’t tolerate our partners being attracted to someone else. This is pure ego; our little self feels threatened. Also, we need to keep a false sense of order in society by thinking that ‘free sex’ will result in STDs spreading like wildfire; this is an important consideration, but will making things TABOO actually stop them happening? More likely, those instincts will STILL manifest but in a worse way, because they happen out of desperation and guilt. In a society of open education and informed freedom with regard to sexual relations, there are likely to be fewer negative consequences.

So, I think we should all just chill out about sexual relationships, be honest, open and informed. Two consenting adults who engage in a relationship that is non-possessive are more likely to be independent and fulfilled rather than desperate and needy.