I am fortunate to have come across many relationship challenges in my life. Being a die hard humanist and a compulsive learner myself, I have been able to leverage each of these challenges to become aware of the egoic conditionings through which we stereo-typically tend to operate in relationships. No wonder, it becomes so much more easy to enable my proteges also today when they come with relationship challenges. It becomes so much more contextual for them to see the and know the conditionings that they bring in the way they live their relationships and therefore may be even in living life otherwise.
As a Transformational Coach, I therefore recommend that instead of shoving such challenges under the carpet, they better be brought up for conscious exploration, with humility. And in this process of exploration what is bound to happen is nothing less than a blossoming, a transformation that will not only enable you being truly human but will also bring forth the Love that we essentially are.
CONDITIONING – THE ROOT CAUSE OF RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGES
Every human being has been conditioned to think and behave in certain ways – conditioned genetically as well as by their childhood experiences and their cultural environment.
That is not who they are, but that is who they appear to be. When you pronounce judgment upon someone, you confuse those conditioned mind patterns with who they are. To do that is in itself a deeply conditioned and unconscious pattern. You give them a conceptual identity, and that false identity becomes a prison not only for the other person but also for yourself.
To let go of judgment does not mean that you don’t see what they do. It means that you recognize their behavior as a form of conditioning, and you see it and accept it as that. You don’t construct an identity out of it for that person.
That liberates you as well as the other person from identification with conditioning, with form, with mind. The ego then no longer runs your relationships.
CHALLENGES ARISE OUT OF FEAR AND DESIRE
As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise form desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person.
What you want from them may be pleasure or material gain, recognition, praise or attention, or a strengthening of your sense of self through comparison and through establishing that you are, have, or know more than they. What you fear is that the opposite may be the case, and they may diminish your sense of self in some way.
When you are fully present with everyone you meet, you relinquish the conceptual identity you made for them – your interpretation of who they are and what they did in the past – and are able to interact without the egoic movements of desire and fear.
‘KNOWING ABOUT’ IS NOT KNOWING
To know another human being in their essence, you don’t really need to know anything about them – their past, their history, their story. We confuse knowing ‘about’ with a deeper knowing that is non-conceptual. Knowing ‘about’ and knowing are totally different modalities. One is concerned with form, the other with the formless. One operates through thought, the other through stillness.
Knowing about is helpful for practical purposes. On that level, we cannot do without it. When it is the predominant modality in relationships, however, it becomes very limiting, even destructive. Thoughts and concepts create an artificial barrier, a separation between human beings. Your interactions are then not rooted in Being, but become mind-based. Without the conceptual barriers, love is naturally present in all human interactions.
True listening is another way of bringing stillness into the relationship. When you truly listen to someone, the dimension of stillness arises and becomes and essential part of the relationship. But true listening is a rare skill. Usually, the greater part of a person’s attention is taken up by their thinking. At best, they may be evaluating your words or preparing the next thing to say. Or they may not be listening at all, lost in their own thoughts.
True listening goes far beyond auditory perception. It is the arising of alert attention, a space of presence in which the words are being received. The words now become secondary. They may be meaningful or they may not make sense. Far more important than what you are listening to is the act of listening itself, the space of conscious presence that arises as you listen. That space is a unifying field of awareness in which you meet the other person without the separative barriers created by conceptual thinking. And now the other person is no longer “other.” In that space, you are joined together as one awareness, one consciousness.
THE NON-LIVING CAN MAKE YOU COME ALIVE
What is your relationship with the world of objects, the countless things that surround you and that you handle every day? The chair you sit on, the pen, the car, the cup? Are they to you merely a means to an end, or do you occasionally acknowledge their existence, their being, no matter how briefly, by noticing them and giving them your attention?
When you get attached to objects, when you are using them to enhance your worth in your own eyes and in the eyes of others, concern about things can easily take over your whole life. When there is self-identification with things, you don’t appreciate them for what they are because you are looking for yourself in them.
When you appreciate an object for what it is, when you acknowledge its being without mental projection, you cannot not feel grateful for its existence. You may also sense that it is not really inanimate, that it only appears so to the senses.
Through selfless appreciation of the realm of things, the world around you will come alive in ways that you cannot even begin to comprehend with the mind.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Whenever you meet anyone, no matter how briefly, do you acknowledge their being by giving them your full attention? Or are you reducing them to a means to an end, a more function or role?
A moment of attention is enough. As you look at them or listen to them, there is an alert stillness – perhaps only two or three seconds, perhaps longer. That is enough for something more real to emerge than the roles we usually play and identify with. All roles are part of the conditioned consciousness that is the human mind. That which emerges through the act of attention is the unconditioned – who you are in your essence, underneath your name and form. You are no longer acting out a script, you become real. When that dimension emerges from within you, it also draws it forth from within the other person.
For a while think of the other who you believe is familiar to you because of the relationship you have with each other as a stranger you are meeting for the first time. Meeting with your genuine attention. Listening with your complete presence. Admiring appreciating the other for being so uniquely different. A few moments of being in such a space will not only cause an alchemy to happen in your relationship but will get you to experience the promise of transformation in your own self.
Try it out. It may not be easy. As no transformation is easy without help. Reachme@indroneil.com
and I am always there to walk this stretch of journey with you.