Relationships That Teach

Have you ever had a relationship where you were compelled to be and to act a certain way? You may have felt like you were living somewhere between awake and asleep. You made choices. You felt the pain you caused. And you also felt pain from others. Perhaps you had moments of peace, laughter, joy, and that magical feeling of sharing something.

Then, when the relationship was done, you stepped back and saw it from all angles. You saw yourself through the eyes of the other person, and you saw yourself through your awakened eyes. You felt grief for being the person that you were, you felt remorse, and then… you forgave yourself and let go.

Some relationships are just compressed springs in a mattress – they hold energy that must eventually be released to free us. We enter a relationship because we are trapped in a half-conscious slumber – acting out old habits and perpetuating fears. And yet, we click with that specific person to go through it all. If we don’t learn, we just rinse and repeat the same situations again and again. Each time, there is an opportunity to wake up and make different choices.

It is incredibly hard to forgive yourself. It is much easier to live with a feeling of self-hatred. If you knew better, you would have done different. If you let yourself see you through the eyes of others and allow all those feelings of disgust and shame to rise up, you can eventually let go. You must survive this storm of feeling separation from yourself and come out on the other side. Then, there is healing. You feel like you no longer need karmic relationships. You feel done with acting out life dramas. You let go of needing pain to wake you up.

We are certain when a relationship begins and are just as certain when it ends. There is no ambiguity and no wavering. When all the springs unwind, there is no longer any need to be right. There is only compassion for the actors on the stage who served each other through the growing pains, including yourself.

If you remain bitter after a relationship, then you are sure to repeat the experience again. If you hold on to who was right and who was wrong, then you miss the bigger picture that both were enslaved by illusion. If you forgive – a gentle and surrendered tone of existence – you open your eyes and the chains break.

After freedom, you no longer feel passion as an uncontrollable compulsion. Those movie scenes where people are munching on each other’s faces and ripping clothes off? That’s craziness. That’s hunger. However, you must experience this hunger until you see the emptiness of such a brute-force approach to living. Eventually, the craving for that kind of passion dissolves and there is peace.

All of us were hungry for something at one point or another. We all will or have gone through this. The pain wakes us up and we see its futility. Tragedy. Drama. Thrillers. Horror. All genres of life blend into a single controversy of what happens when you don’t know who you are. We all have to go through it to find out, and then we let go.

After you are purified by the fire of teaching relationships, you no longer have such relationships. Then, you have a different way of interacting with people. You are still learning, but as an awakened presence being Itself – not as a Shakesperian actor. You are no longer baited into fear or hunger.

If you are in crisis, ask yourself – what are you holding on to? It’s rarely something outside of yourself, and is typically a belief you are terrified of having about yourself.

You cannot hold on to people or things – there is nothing to own here. The harder you try, the faster everything slips your grasp. While people and things can be a part of your life one day, they can just as easily disappear the next day. The disposition of holding on and trying to freeze the moment must eventually unwind because it only generates that dreaded feeling of loss.

We are raised to covet wealth, couplehood, endless fun, and exotic experiences. But underneath all that, we just want to feel like we are OK. When we make peace with ourselves, a new vista opens before us. An unexplored dimension that assumes we have learned everything that emotion and passion have to offer.

I am neither the first nor the last to cross over into this dimension of life that rests on unconditional love of oneself – and therefore everyone else. I stopped grasping at branches along the shore, allowed the rapids to take me downstream, and became indistinguishable from the water flow.

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