When I look at relationships, my own and others, I see a whole range of reasons we get together and ways we interact. Some are transactional, but the deeper impulse of every human relationship is to evoke the love and oneness that unites us. But what actually happens is that many relationships reinforce our separateness because of our misperception of ourselves as separate beings, and because of our desire systems, which are based in separateness or ego. Relationships only work in a spiritual sense when you and I really see that we are one.
Relationships and emotions can reinforce our separateness, or they can be grist for the mill of awakening. When it comes to love relationships, we are like bees looking for a flower. The predicament is that the emotional power of loving somebody can get you so caught in the interpersonal melodrama that you can’t get beyond the emotion. The problem with interpersonal love is that you are dependent on the other person to reflect love back to you. That’s part of the illusion of separateness. The reality is that love is a state of being that comes from within.
The only thing you really ever have to offer another person is your own state of being. When you’re not entrapped by another person’s appearance or behavior, you can see behind all that to a deeper level of their being because your mind has tuned itself; you’ve shifted your focus just that little bit to see their soul. That soul quality is love.
From Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart by Ram Dass. © 2913 Love Serve Remember Foundation. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True. www.soundstrue.com.
Start your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.