So what does relationship mean? One cool definition I found was – the state of being connected. What are we connected to? In reality – EVERYTHING!! And since we are connected to everything each relationship can mirror back to us where we are at in our lives. But, since I am a work in progress, I don’t yet fully realize the power of that last sentence. In order to guide myself toward that realization I feel there are 3 major relationships (listed in order of importance) that are essential to explore:
1) Relationship to God/ Spirit
2)Relationship to self
3) Relationships to other people
To help understand how these relationships connect I am going to use the metaphor of the circle within a circle. The entire circle, of which we are a part, is God, of course, because life is whole. The inner circle represents conscious connection with God – the experiencing that there is no separation from God (Oneness). In my limited view, this is the only relationship – it is a return to our true Being. I can feel this as moments of clarity, unconditional love, service, inner peace, gratitude, etc. As I work toward and bring my focus to the center of the circle these moments become more frequent. I feel whole.
As I turn away from the center circle and my conscious connection to Spirit I begin to form another relationship in an effort to feel connection – the relationship to self (ego). In this relationship I am not quite centered and feel a degree of separation from God/Spirit. As I indulge in this apparent separation I find myself in my head….a lot – with constant thoughts of past and future. This focus seems to make moments of angst, stress and frustration seem to be the norm. A healthy relationship to self realizes the need to turn around and head back to the Center and loves itself enough to know that it is a process. It is like the mirror image in the picture above – it realizes that everything seemingly outside of it is leading it back to the center (or away from the center). It senses the need for present moment awareness to be guided Home.
As I continue to venture out away from my Center and indulge in my separate sense of self I find another relationship begins to form – the relationship to other people. I can relate to others as family, friends, lovers, coworkers, etc. As I place all of my awareness into my relationship with others I find my mind believing even more thoughts of separation – My “I” (ego) begins to view others as separate and different from itself. This goes against my true nature of Wholeness and the angst I consequently feel quickly manifests into judgement….lots of judgement and having to be right.
This is where the story from the introduction of being married back to back shows the potential for a healthier relationship. As I stand face to face with someone it is as if I can only appreciate them from the outside. And the more outside my awareness is the further away I am from my Center of Peace. So to compensate for not feeling Centered I seek that love outside – I will love you as long as you look this way, act this way, agree with me, etc. This results in codependency, neediness and….lots of conditions – I love you as long as you are….(fill in the blank). When you are no longer that – screw you!!! With conditions, it is easy to forget that this relationship is a mirror image back to myself.
But when we stand back to back with someone there seems to be more of an inward focus. I have my 180 degrees of the circle in front of me but I am aware that I am not whole. In the above example I don’t seem to have that awareness yet and look outward. So I have to trust that my relationship with you will show me what I am missing. That you will mirror back to me where I need balance. But here’s the rub – the focus is inward because, to truly trust (or love) someone, I will need to have trusted (or loved) myself first. I will need to have recognized that inside of myself first to recognize it inside of another. In this way I accept you as you are and only need you to be who you are to teach me back to Center.
These relationships build on the others from the outside in and infuse awesomeness from the inside out. The relationship to others and ourselves help us to get to the relationship with God/Spirit. Once we begin to realize the relationship with God/Spirit then every other relationship we have can go to ever deepening levels and exist in peace and harmony. That is what I consider healthy relationship.