If you’re a child of the 70s and 80s, you’ll remember a time when you played outside unsupervised, when having guests over evening tea was an event of sorts, more often an occasion. It was a time when there were joint families and inclusive societies. Collectivism was a part of normal life. The spirit of giving, sharing and compassion created a nurturing environment needed for healthy relationships and cohesive societies.
How times have changed! With the gradual erosion of communities to joint families to nuclear and now much focussed towards ‘self’,we have made a subtle shift from times of harmony and tolerance to times of intolerance. Deterioration of relationships in the society is something we have gained largely in last few decades.
A relationship means knowing and understanding each other but how can we possibly know each other when we don’t know ourselves, how can one pour with an empty cup? In order to have any relationship outside ourselves first one needs to be in a healthy relationship with the self. Something we undermine and are completely ignorant of.
Modern relationships stand on the foundation of instant gratification that seeks pleasure for fulfilling emotional and physical needs. We seek a partner because alone we feel unfulfilled and incomplete. We are smitten by the idea of seeking happiness outside of ourselves, an idea seeded by our society to nurture the institution of marriages and long lasting partnerships. In most conventional relationships, we only seek, the personal self is the only context we have and that’s where the spirituality enlightens us.
1.All that you need is already within you
Spirituality teaches us that we are whole, perfect and don’t need any other entity or being to complete us. Therefore the constant need and idea of waiting for someone else to fill your cup and make your life better diminishes away. As the outer dependency goes, the soul strengthens from containing to self-containment resulting in better relationships.
2.‘Relationships are not about give and take’
Clear up the deck and begin with a new-thought experiment that relationships are about give-give-and-give. We enrich our lives drastically when we form relationships for giving, not wanting because when we give, we are the first ones to receive as the energy flows through us to others. So let us make a shift from ‘I want love, trust and respect’ to ‘I love, trust and respect you’.
Spiritual ailments like attachment, ego, possessiveness and domination are a major cause of turmoil in relationships. We do not know who we are and therefore do not understand the other.
To recognise the true self we need to make a conscious shift from body consciousness towards soul consciousness.
Why to make this shift?
When we think of ourselves as bodies we tend to get attached to a false sense of self. We compare our physical self to others and the mind whirls endlessly towards creating a persona that is either superficial or superior to others.
Soul consciousness means understanding the true self and experiencing oneself as a soul with its original elements of love, purity and joy connected to the supreme source of energy.
Regular practice of meditation enables us to experience soul consciousness so that we can carry that experience into all our relationships. When we see others as a soul on their journey we no longer feel a need to control them but instead we radiate vibrations of harmony, love, care and respect.
Simple practices to help replenish relationships:
When we talk of toxic relationships we mostly talk of the other person, how they were responsible for what happened. Many would argue that it’s impossible to heal a relationship by singular effort. The good news is it if you want to heal the relationship you can do it all by yourself even without involving the significant other.Here’s how-
- Counter image technique
Most problems arise from the perception we create of others. Perception forms the foundation of our world. When we change the structure of our perception, we change the structure of our world.
A simple practice of counter image technique can change the way you see others.
Every judgemental or negative thought needs a counter thought to nullify its effect. For e.g. X is a rude person.
Counter -but X is also kind, she helped me the other day.
X is a pure soul but under the influence of her sanskars and karma.
Empathise with the subject for the pain or hurt they may have experienced during their journey and that have shaped their current beliefs and sanskars.
- Send the right energy
Relationships depend on the energy exchange of thoughts and vibrations. More often than not, it’s your energy that is the problem in a fractured relationship. For maintaining healthy relationships not only do we need to speak well but also think well. Sometimes people would display the best behaviour externally but dwell on negative or critical thoughts inside. This leads to a weak foundation.
“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” Mother Theresa
During meditation visualise the person who has wronged you in the past or with whom you would like to heal your relation.
Say the following;
Divine soul, I forgive you for the hurt you have caused me and for all the pain and anger I may have caused to you, please forgive me.
Our karmic account of past and present is settled.
From now on let us both live in peace and harmony
Do this every time you meditate and with as many people you are in turmoil with. Not only you free your mind but you will notice the other person’s image of you will simultaneously improve.