The value of relationships
By Matsya Avatara Dasa
The quality of any relationship is guaranteed only if we know how to appreciate the qualities of others and the quality of realization per se. The lack of such appreciation produces lack of relationships. To overcome this, the first indispensable step is learning how to recognize the value of others.
What to say, when and to who is not always easy to understand or guess. Human relationships are a complex universe. Sometimes we put our hearts into a relationship; we try to develop it at the best of our capability; however we are not successful in building with the counterpart what was within our intentions. We should commit ourselves to do the maximum with the intention to evolve, with joy and desire to grow together, however without expectations. We should always be open to answer to the other person in respect to his freedom. If we really want to learn to love others, we should not lay passively on them by developing unhealthy relationships, depending on others by loading them with our expectations and egoistical claims thus suffocating the chances for interaction and operate favorably for the wellbeing of all. He who cannot practice this basic principle falls with the falling of the relationship. He loses height and falls on the ground without having the chance to realize it.
Let’s invest our best energies, all of our intelligence and our heart into our relationships. Let’s do it however without falling into perfectionism, thus being humbly conscious of human limitations (ours and others’). Even this will help us appreciated the value of what we are building.
To build a relationship, whether a love one or a friendship, with relatives or between Guru and disciple, you must consider three fundamental principles that were established by Vitruvio as priority:
A building must be stable, sturdy and strong enough to withstand the collision of time and of natural events. The same is for a relationship. We cannot build on a frail soil that doesn’t hold. We must necessarily choose solid grounds. If we deal with frail grounds, we must first of all begin with solidifying the ground itself before we initiate the construction. We cannot solidify the ground and at the same time begin the construction. It won’t work. Certainly the building will not stand, just like a relationship will not withstand the collision with time and trials of life if it is not well based, well prepared, cultivated, enforced and matured.
To enable the manifestation of our and other’s talents and qualities, develop the siddhi, or perfection in relationships, and make them ever shiner, in all their expressed potentiality, we must build on solid basis. To do this we must operate with continuity, without intermittence, distractions or dispersion of energy. Vice versa, our chances for development and realization will remain unaccomplished and feeble like little fireflies that turn on and off in the darkness of the night. Discontinuity and consequent mood swings ruin relationships and everything that we do. They are the Minotaur that must be dealt with and overcome if we want to pursue our goals.
Other than operating with continuity to favor the vigor, the uphold and the stability of our relationships, we must set up our relationships based on what is most functional. Functional to what? To our and other’s evolution.
The relationship could be stable and beautiful per se, but if it is not functional for the high purpose that we have pre-defined, what would be its value?
To learn to set up our relationships in accordance to the principle of functionality, it is important to develop the qualities of flexibility, ductility and elasticity that allow us to choose, in accordance with the situation that we find ourselves in, the proper behavior for that time (kala), place (desha) and circumstance (patra) in relation to the values that we have undertaken and that we intend to pursue.
Lastly, other than being stable and functional, a building, in accordance with Vitruvio must be also beautiful and the same is for a relationship.
As much man has made all kind of efforts in establishing aesthetical standards, the sense of beauty has always remained outside of strict schemes or pre-defined categories. Beauty is proportion, harmony, perfection of the form, but also that certain “don’t know what” that represents the charm of a certain thing, person or relationship, its uniqueness. Therefore if we sharpen our look, elevate our conscience and purify our hearing, we can discover charm and beauty in every being and relationship by realizing that beauty is beyond mere appearance. It corresponds to the intimate essence of what it is. In the tradition, in fact, beauty was inseparable from goodness and from the qualities of the soul. Engaging in affective relationships based on superficial aesthetical criteria, the deceitful criteria of the forms, means settings ourselves up for sure failure. “Don’t be fouled by the width of the entrance”, said Minosse to Dante and also “Pay attention to who you trust”. This is important so we do not get into relationships that come from sudden choices which only result in frustration, suffering and many times depression and desperation.
Let’s commit ourselves to interact with others with the constant and unique desire to benefit them, to pursue their success, the true one, which is of spiritual nature. This would represent the best protection for our life, ourself and our relationships. It would be the powerful principle, even though invisible, that will lead in the evolutionary way every choice that we make and will orient us always toward the right direction at every crucial intersection of our life. Let’s learn to relate always by leaving to others the chance to accept or refuse our offer of love, because love lives of freedom.
Let’s listen to our inner voice when we act and operate in the world and we entertain relationships. If this voice gives us advice, if it urges us to be cautious, let’s pay attention to it and let’s act carefully. Let’s not jump into situations or relationships that could be dangerous and that could harm us or others more than what our little intellect could understand. The gradualness in establishing and entertaining relationships is essential. Once you have made your decision with reflection and farsightedness, do not change plans suddenly, by following indiscriminately the impulses of your mind or senses and letting instinct take over and overcome the basic principles of stability and coherence. Unfortunately the predominant setting of modern society leads to act in superficial and sudden mode, regardless of times and relationships. However, if we want to build valuable relationships, we must invest in time and attention, sensibility, maturity, care, preoccupation, sense of responsibility, coziness, tolerance, capability of open ourselves to others to communicate and listen deeply.
Lets avoid to entertain those relationships or actions that are not coherent with our life project that we intend to realize because, without a project and without following with continuity the method that will lead us to its realization, we would only start every time from scratch, wasting time and energies and showing to ourselves and to others the worst side of our personality.
Let’s elaborate a project for the upcoming years of our life like sort of a nautical map on which meditate. The great things that we will do are all coming from an inner visualization. To create something we must know how to visualize it and correct our visualization as we are working at our projects.
Undertaking a project for our life and following it with coherence means funding ourselves and our existence on solid basis, which will resist to the many crisis that after all we all must face and that only in this fashion they can be transformed into chances to elevate ourselves through the recognition and overcoming of our limits by accelerating ever more our work toward objectives that value our journey in the world. We have a year, a life, an eternity in front of us.
Undertaking a life project and working on it with continuity will stimulate us to know ourselves deeply. It will help us discerning between our historical ego and the true Self, between illusory objectives and valuable ones, between ephemeral relationships and relationship propaedeutical to the awakening of the conscience. This would favor the great journey of every human being toward the most elevated consciousness and the realization of the inner and outer Divine. With every thought, desire, word and action we can express with intensity and every day with renewed freshness our deep instance to know and love ourselves, others and God, by loving God in every being and every being in God. In this way, inside ourselves and in every person that we meet we will put the seeds of pure love, that pure and universal sentiment that can satisfy the soul completely.
To develop this supreme love we must develop the qualities of the soul such as fidelity, loyalty, chastity, transparence, cleanliness, truthfulness, sense of responsibility, reliability, compassion, courage, friendship, determination and perseverance, by impressing them in our mind and mainly in our heart. We must not use a sterile willpower and cold rationale which will risk to makes stubborn or harsh. We must use the vital impetus of the soul, which makes us even stronger but flexible, determinate, however sweet, enthusiastic and patient at the same time thanks to the faith realized in the infinite potentialities of the inner Self and to that developed capability of dynamic balance that holds us straight even when we are pushed or when someone provokes us or disturbs us with an offensive behavior.
If we would follow the impulses of our mind we would reach with rage, with anger by using the worse part of ourselves, but, thanks to the practice of a lifetime discipline, we can transform these drives, by channeling them in a constructive fashion their energetic potential. Rage is then transformed into words that shake people from illusion without hurting them or making them lose their hopes, but giving them the vision instead.
This dynamic balance is indispensable to be developed all the way to the highest spiritual realization. The Indo Vedic tradition recommends the sadhana-bhakti method, which has been tested for millennia and its effectiveness has been experimented by countless people. It is a great level of inner discipline for the achievement of the highest endeavor in human life, self-realization. This necessitates of all of our commitment and a sure orientation because every great deed must undergo great challenges. If we desire valued relationships, many people will try us, with temptations and provocations. However, if we maintain our mind focused, the ephemeral pleasures will gradually lose any attraction, received offenses will seem to us as great chances to overcome our limits. The Lord of our heart, Shri Kamadeva, Who speaks to us from His heart to ours, will satisfy every most intimate desire of our soul, every aspiration, every joy that we wish to offer to the service of God.
He who desires to become ascetic, will become a true ascetic, he who desires to be a good head of the family, will become a good head of the family, he who will want to produce wealth for the benefit of all will develop the intelligence and the resourcefulness to do so if he behaves in accordance with the cosmos-ethical order of divine origin who sustains every being of the whole universe. However, he who grabs for himself will never produce anything, nor for himself, nor for others. He cannot be happy if he is not in a stable evolutionary trend.
To undertake this evolutionary trend we must commit ourselves to overcome our limits. Those limits that are genetically structured and are the consequences of the environment in which we lived and those that are the result of mistakes that we have made.
We can be successful if we invest in faith in ourselves, in our intrinsic qualities and in the qualities of others by rediscovering that treasure that hides in each one of us and that matches our deep essence. The defects, the conditioners and the limitations that we are suffering for are layers that cover our true identity.
Do not get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. In reality these results are already structuring themselves at a subtle level even if you don’t perceive them with physical eyes. However, who is expert and knows how to look inside his heart, can see them.
Since everything in this world is inseparably connected and due to the universal law of reciprocity all that is done is returned, to value ourselves we must value others and we can do it if we put trust in their qualities by expressing the persuasion that they can do much more than what they believe they can. We must be always ready to offer words of comfort in time of need, so that the memory of us will help even when we are no longer with them and they are no longer with us. We need to ensure that our words and our life example help them facing the hardest moments, the toughest trials, by offering that energy and faith that is needed to proceed even when the road is uphill, to maybe later discover that, after the curve, the uphill road ends and la downhill one begins. Many of us may already have had this comforting experience.
Every individual can realize himself if he undertakes constructive activities toward spiritual realization, the only ones that deeply satisfy us by allowing us to express our creativity for the best. He can realize himself if he entertains relationships that have evolutionary purposes, those that fill the heart with joy and can be shared by all because true love is not exclusive. Most of all we should privilege our relationship with God, however, since every creature is an expression of the Divine, respect, attention, appreciation and affection should be given to every being.
The destiny of the body is uncertain, we could die suddenly for a serious illness, an accident or who know what. We don’t know what could happen to this structure of the matter in which we live, but we have a great certainty. If here and know we undertake an evolutionary journey it will continue even after we depart this physical body and what we have sow here will bloom elsewhere and will make our progress happy and fast.
We will come back in a favorable environment, from parents that will educate us with love and we will meet special people who will orient our journey.
Let’s try to live in the most humble way possible by engaging our energies that the Lord has given us to serve Him for the wellness of all. Let’s not complain if we are called to sit on a throne or on the floor. If usefulness is the principle and usefulness is functional to an evolutionary purpose, we must be available to do anything that we are asked to do, beyond our egoistical preferences. The Katha Upanishad explains that true pleasure that lasts and satisfies completely comes from duty.
Talking of subjects like these with those that are dear to our heart and those that are mostly receptive, means exchanging love gestures. These are the true effusions of true love, the expressions of the most noble among the sentiments.
Love, act with your heart, with playful spirit to favor the great evolution project of life. This attitude will give you every joy and will allow you to develop all perfections.