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Ways of healing your relationships with spirituality
When we say, “relationships”, I mean that I am relating to the world outside. The construction of this phrase is such that we are quickly moved to look outwards. In any discussion on relationships, one starts looking outwards, because one says, “I am relating with someone who exists in the world, outside of me.”
When we say, "relationships", I mean that I am relating to the world outside. The construction of this phrase is such that we are quickly moved to look outwards. In any discussion on relationships, one starts looking outwards, because one says, "I am relating with someone who exists in the world, outside of me."
I want to start by saying that 'the world outside of me' is firstly, greatly related to who I think I am. I am not yet coming to 'Who I am', I am just saying, the world outside of me is greatly related to who I think I am.
So, as we proceed to relate, as we proceed to form relationships, firstly, it is important to ask: Who is it that is relating? Why at all am I relating? Is there a need to relate? Why does one enter relationships?
When we see, we find that we usually enter relationships from a point of incompleteness. We say, "There is something missing within and what is missing can be supplied by the world."
Look at one's relationship with his wife, with his house, with his car, with his bank account, with his parents, with his clothes – is it because of an inherent Joy that the relationship exists? Or is it in search of Joy that the relationship exists? And these are two very different positions.
These are two very different answers to the question 'Who am I?' Am I looking at the other because I am already feeling good in a very deep way or am I looking at the other in hope, in search, as an aspirant, even as a beggar? And when I say 'other', the other could be anybody or anything or even an idea. Surely, Joy cannot be the result or output of suffering.
How to change a relationship
It does not mean to change something in the other person because the relationship is 'my relationship'. So, my relationship cannot change without me looking at my mind. When I look at it, then my quality of relating with you changes.
Being aware of oneself, one is able to bring about a mysterious change in oneself, an unplanned change, and that brings about change in relationships. What we always forget is: every relationship is my relationship. My relationships will only have the quality which is the quality of my mind. If I am violent, the fact will be that all my relationships will have a taint of violence in them — explicit or implicit.
First of all, I have to look at the quality of my mind, then the relationships change. Have you not seen this: 'violent people are violent towards everybody'? They are not only violent towards their neighbor; they are also violent towards their dog or kid. And loving people have a quality that fuses out love not only to their wife but also to the entire world. You already know that. Right?
We have seen that and heard stories about that. We have also experienced it in ourselves at times, have we not? When occasionally you feel light and joyful, then don't you feel like hugging even a stranger? Has it not happened to you?
Relationships depend on this
My relationship with the world depends on what I think of myself. In the case of the old man, or the man with an infirmity or the kid – their position or situation, at least, has a factual basis. But in most situations in life, our position hardly has a purely factual basis. When I say, "Who am I?" Rarely does it correspond to a fact. It corresponds, rather, to my conception of myself. How I look at the world, how I look at the people in the world, how I look at the universe around and all the objects in it, will depend upon how I conceive myself, what I think of myself. Just as I said that we hardly are objective realities, similarly, the world that appears to our senses is hardly an objective reality. I determine what the world is.
How to have healthy relationships
It is only when you do not really need the other that there is a possibility of really relating with the other. You want to know the health quotient of your relationships? It's easy. Just investigate your relationships for dependency. Are you dependent on the other? In any way – physical, psychological, material, immaterial. Is the other dependent on you?
Where there is dependency, there would only be violence, not Love. The relationship is not so much about the other person – the object out there. The relationship is about who you are within. Change the within, and the relationship will change. But remaining the same within if you change the other, the relationship would still be rotten.
(The author is a Vedanta teacher & founder of Prashant Advait Foundation)