In Part 1 of this look into relationships as mirrors I discussed what relationship means and how some of the different relationships form when we begin to look outside of ourselves. I showed how each relationship has both a healthy and unhealthy aspect and, briefly, touched on the nature of what a healthy relationship might look like.
In this edition, cleverly referred to as Part II, I am going to further examine and expand on why there seems to be so many unhealthy relationships today – both with ourselves and with others. In addition I will talk further about how we can use relationships as tools for learning when we look at them as mirrors of ourselves.
So why all of the unhealthy relationships? To help answer this I am going to refer back to the symbol of the (smaller)circle within the circle. The smaller circle represents our Center- our conscious connection to God/Source/Spirit – however you understand the Ultimate energy. The smaller circle is the Source of the entire circle but that little nugget of information seems easily displaced/forgotten/hidden and that is where the unhealthiness begins.
When my awareness and attention is focused toward the Center (looking inward) there is a clarity, a peace and a sense of unconditional love that guides me forward on my path. I understand (or begin to, in my case) that life is happening for me, not to me. And….I feel full of energy for whatever is unfolding in front of me. There are definitely more smiles on my face and I feel more at peace.
As soon as I begin to turn away from the Center (outward) the relationship to myself in this world (ego) begins to form and I must now draw upon my own energy for sustenance. Finding my Center now becomes more of a challenge and a struggle for that energy (power) ensues with relationship to myself and with others. This is supported in society as, despite religious popularity, the general focus is not on the Center but on the outward trappings of the mind and the allure of the material (physical) world.
This power struggle manifests in unhealthy ways in my relationship to myself in two ways: 1) Addiction and 2) Over identification with the mind. At the core of this self struggle is the conflict between head and heart. I am constantly pulled in different directions as my heart (Center) is quickly overridden by the mind and all of its tricky maneuvers – I am confused and not sure of myself.
Since I no longer strongly feel the connection to my Center, I feel a bit depleted yet I just want to feel good again. This is where addiction comes into play. I can turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, sports, electronics, food, etc in order to numb the feeling that I am turned away from the Center and feeling discomfort. It has been my experience that the reason I began to turn away is rooted in painful experiences in childhood that I wasn’t able to process and express. Society is all about numbing and suppressing emotions and I became addicted to it.
I can also be unhealthy with myself when I over-identify with my mind and thoughts. When this happens I can’t “hear” guidance from the center and feel like I have to do it all by myself. That gets heavy and stressful quickly. So when I do get an exciting original impulse from Center (which, thankfully, always comes) my mind will tell me one hundred reasons why not to do it – I won’t have enough time, enough money, I’m not good enough, I don’t know how……..the excuses are endless, huh? The mind literally tries to keep me from realizing the boundless energy of Source in order to stay in control. It (mind) has forgotten that there is a Bigger, Better Me in there.
Another thing that happens when I over-identify with mind is that I become stuck in time, literally trapped in my mind. I find myself either constantly focused on the hurts of the past (replaying that broken record over and over) or looking ahead to a better future(if I just have this relationship, this job, that raise, that vacation, etc.) so I don’t have to feel those past hurts. The problem with this is that the Center only exists in the present moment. So I am constantly being distracted backwards or forwards from the power of right now. It is constant chatter that takes will to break free from.
As the power struggle grows within myself I find the manifestation of it begins to spill over in my outer relationships. When this happens I find myself judging, labeling and determining what is right and wrong for everyone else. This leads to constant angst and the need for control – I think I know what is right or wrong for someone else and I tell myself it is for their good. The reality of it is I am in my head, in their business and playing God for them.
As a result my relationships devolve into codependent struggles as I need to get the energy to feel good that is normally found within my Center. My mind, wanting to maintain its control, obliges completely and I proceed to get that energy from overpowering them (victor mentality) or making them feel bad for me (victim mentality). Those are opposite sides of the same mechanism. My mind works to control the conditions – here is the conditional love that marks many relationships and a primary reason they tend to go awry. I love you as long as you do as I say, think as I think and always agree with me. As soon as you do not – let the battle begin. This is not a sustainable relationship for either side.
So is there a Higher Purpose to a relationship with myself or others that is beyond temporary relief and control? Yes – ultimately I strive to accept myself and others as they are, resting in the notion that Life is perfect as it is in this present, centered moment. Relationships help me to get there by mirroring back to me where I’m at this moment. They are my great teachers and it is often those closest to me that are my most intense reflectors.
If I am feeling any angst or stress with myself I can now see that those are hurts of the past signaling that life is out of balance and I am not focused toward Center. When I feel stress in relationships with others than I can now see that is a mirror back to me showing me that I am out of alignment. It is not about the other person – it is always about me. Those stressful relationships are showing me where I need to work on myself. I used to think that there was something wrong with those people and that they needed to change but I can now begin to see that those people are perfect as they are and that my thinking was just backwards. Whoa – deep breath!!!! I am a work in progress.
Please join me for the conclusion in Part III where I will look at some solutions I have found helpful to bring the awareness of my journey back inward and toward my Center. Blessings to you, my mirrors!!!
When hurts come up from past – that is a signal that something is out of balance.