What does “relationship” mean? It implies the relating of two separate identities, two distinct points of view on the same situation. Separation is not your original nature, not the Self in its purity, that is in relationship with another. Within silence, peace, infinity, there can be no relationship, because there is no other. It is two temporary identities that enter into relationship. These identities differ in their conditioning, their patterns of thought and emotional responses, and their physiological and psychological habits of seeing the world. Of course, between different identities there must inevitably be places of convergence and difference. “We like the same movies, but we eat different food. We read the same books but have different friends.” If there were complete alignment on everything, they would essentially be the same person.
When there is strong identification with the person you take yourself to be, with likes and dislikes and opinions, relating with another eventually brings conflict and suffering because there is a sense of separation. When there is the perception that this relationship is not between “me” and “you,” but between arbitrary identities or points of view that are both rooted in the Self, which is what we both are, there is release from suffering. “Behold the One in all things,” says Kabir, “It is [the idea of] the second which leads you astray.” This is the approach we take here — learning to transcend the sense of “I” and “you,” “my point of view” and “your point of view,” “my needs” and “your needs.” As rigidly held positions dissolve, relationships may become easier and more harmonious, or they may come to a natural and agreeable completion.
We are concerned not with trying to change the outward appearance of things, but with the way those things are perceived and the degree of unnecessary suffering involved. As we shift from an isolated, personal point of view to the Clear Seeing of things from the eternal Self, personal “love” blossoms into love without any conditions, which does not discriminate according to the object placed before it.
What we refer to as “falling in love” in this culture usually involves becoming fixated on another person as the source of beauty, wholeness and fulfillment in our lives. When two people do this to each other simultaneously, one of life’s greatest joy rides results, which more often than not ends in a crash landing. This is what the Greeks call eros. We also speak of “loving” others in a slightly different way, when we have become so deeply familiar with them and in some way attached to them that their absence from our lives would cause us suffering. This the Greeks call familias: the love of the familiar, of the family. Of course, these two states are an inevitable part of human experience.
There is another kind of love, however, which is actually not a function of attachment or obsession at all. The Greeks call it agape. This is the exquisite recognition of oneness, the realization that the Self is seeing itself and there is no other. It is this love that the German poet Novalis writes of when he says, “We are alone with everything we love.” Rumi tells a story of a man who knocks at the door of the Beloved. When asked who is there, he replies, “It is me.” He is rejected and sent away to suffer the torment of separation. Finally, after a year he returns and again knocks. This time, when asked who is there he replies, “It is you.”
“Come in, my own Self,” the Beloved replies. “You know this house is too big for two.”
This is an excerpt from my book Relaxing Into Clear Seeing: Interactive tools In The Service of Self-Awakening. Click here to purchase your copy today!