If you have been practicing the small steps from the first PON article you may find that you have been able to achieve some small pockets of peace, or “no-mind”, as Tolle calls it. You are also probably noticing that while you can achieve peace when you are alone, being around others or handling situations that involve other people, has made maintaining your peace very difficult. In this article, I will go over 5 pointers that relate the Power of Now into your relationships.
- “Listen to accept, not to judge.” You’ve probably heard the phrase: listen to understand, not to respond. That concept is problematic. If we are listening to understand, and we cannot understand the other person, then we are still in conflict. When we listen to accept, there is no need to understand. Next time that you hold a conversation, enter it after clearing your mind. If you have done rehearsing, abandon it. The only way to have an honest and present relationship is to empty your mind and listen to accept. Once you have done this, responding will not only come more naturally, you will also help draw the other person deeper into the present moment. Presence inspires presence. If you cannot make such changes to personal relationships at first, try with simple encounters, like with the barista or the cashier for example. The only way to achieve success in relationships is to abandon drama and abandon conflict.
“Love is not the opposite of Hate.” Most relationships are deeply flawed. They rely on a cycle of positive and negative polarities. The negative side, hate, can manifest in many forms: possessiveness, control, withdrawal, unspoken resentment, the need to be right, insensitivity, self absorption, manipulation, anger, unconscious revenge for past pain inflicted by a parent or other person, the urge to argue, criticize, judge, blame, attack. The positive side, often mistaken for “love”, is a very intense illusion of wholeness and purpose, and it can often feel so overwhelming the rest of the world is drowned out. However that same positive side has an intense neediness and energy of unease. The positive side feels wonderful but never leaves lasting fulfillment. If in an instant “love” can turn into a savage attack or dreadful grief, was it truly love? True love, creativity, and long-lasting fulfillment come from a deep inner presence. They do not come from another person or thing. True love can be felt if another person is also deeply present. What most people categorize as “love” is only people mistaking the positive side of the polarity cycle. If your “love” has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego-need for a more complete sense of self. If you think I am wrong, picture the time of heartbreak that was so gut wrenching you didn’t know who you were anymore, and tell me that what you had was true love.
“Playing the victim.” Believing that your past is more powerful and influential than your present is victim identity. If you are in a relationship based on polarities and your partner fails to meet your needs, or rather the needs of your ego. You will see feelings of fear/hate arise. When this happens most people blame their partner as the cause of these fears. You then project this pain outwards toward the other person. This will hopefully cause them to change their behavior so your pain is not triggered. As you can see your partner is not causing the pain, but only bringing it out. The more exposure to the person there is, the more this happens. That is why after the honeymoon phase of romantic relationships, people find so much pain and unhappiness. The pain/pleasure cycle is an addiction. And just like any other addiction, it begins with pain, and ends with pain. The only way to release yourself from the cycle is to abandon the victim mindset. Only you are responsible for your pain, and the only way to dissolve it is to go deeply into your present moment and release all of the past and future. In releasing all of your fear; you realize that you are not your pain. You are a human being, in the being of now.
“What is Love?”. Love is not exclusive. It does not make one person special. Exclusivity is not true love but love of ego. The intensity of true love, however, can vary. Love is not given, but reflected. Love is the sun, accessible to anyone. Truly feeling love turns you into a mirror, reflecting the warmth of the sun onto those around you. Even in addiction relationships, there can be moments of true love in things like physical intimacy, witnessing something grand, death, serious illness, etc. In these moments your ego and mind are silenced and your being is so present that true communication can occur. True communication is being completely present together. It is the realization of oneness. This realization is love. When this subsides, mind identification returns, pain returns, and you lose yourself again. You become a mental image of yourself and start playing games and roles again to get your ego needs met. You are no longer a human being but a human mind playing out a drama called “love.”
“Giving up the Relationship with Yourself" “Love yourself!” “The most important relationship is with yourself.” You see these kinds of quotes everywhere, but there is a flaw in pursuing a relationship with yourself. Being able to be at ease with yourself is important. Because if you are not, you will search for a relationship to cover up the unease, and then it will reappear in the relationship. Only when it does you will hold your partner responsible for it. Being at ease with yourself only comes about if you accept your current moment in its entirety. Why do you need to have a relationship with yourself to do that? Why not simply just be yourself? When you attempt to have a relationship with yourself you create two parts to yourself. The “I” becomes the subject, and the “myself” becomes the object. It creates mind duality and unnecessary complexity. If you are present in the moment you become yourself. The “you and yourself” are merged into one being. This means you do not objectify yourself. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t hate yourself. You are not proud or disappointed in yourself. This is all because the self is removed. When there is no self, you don’t have the need to defend, protect, or apply any resistance to the moment anymore. When you have reached enlightenment, or true “presence”, the one relationship you give up is that with yourself. You no longer need it. You can just be. Once you have given that up, all your other relationships will be love relationships.
Ask yourself, “Do I experience peace?” If you still experience unease in your life, why not try? Why not chase peace? It may not feel natural at first to forgive yourself and those around you by letting go of the past. It may not feel natural to give over to the present moment and abandon conflict. It will be a slow process, and remember from the first article, it’s not serious business. So laugh, forgive, and most importantly, be.