When I ask young people today what is on their mind, high on the list is always relationships. Problems in any of our important relationships can tear us apart, but how many of us really know how to nurture healthy, happy, purposeful relationships? In Designing Destiny, The Heartfulness Way, we explore relationships and how they affect our destiny. Here is a taste of some concepts covered:
Respect: Mutual trust and respect is very important in relationships, but often we are more concerned with self-respect than respecting others. Actually, respect for others shows our self-love and our level of emotional growth, because if we do not love ourselves this fine quality will never develop in us.
Respect for others is expressed in many ways, for example the way we dress, speak, sit, and even hold our head. Is it respectful if we slouch in front of guests, or turn our back on loved ones? Though we don’t speak a word, our behaviour and manner say it all. Also, when we address children with a lot of respect, respect develops in them.
Love: We can understand love in relationships by exploring the concept of entropy. Imagine that your room is disorganised, with clothes, books etc. scattered everywhere. It is chaotic; entropy or disarray has set in. When you clean the room, it becomes organised and tidy. Order requires energy input. Entropy reflects the instability of a system over a period of time if there is no energy input to keep it stable.
Our human relationships also become unstable when we let things build up inside. We store more and more emotions and reactions, creating inner disorganisation, just like the mess in the bedroom. We harbour resentment and irritation, until one day we explode or give up, unless we do something about it. We also need input to stabilise relationships.
What is that input? It is love. With love there is a greater level of acceptance so that we are able to let go and solve problems. And where does love come from? It comes from a pure generous heart. How does the heart become pure? Through meditative practices – meditation and the removal of emotional complexities.
When people fall in love, the hearts of both expand. At first, you accommodate everything about one another. Even the mistakes of your partner are adorable. You lose yourself in the other person and you do everything to make them happy. You don’t worry about yourself.
But after some time, if entropy sets in, you start judging and become aware of your own needs, whereas earlier you were not concerned with them. If you find yourself resenting the other person, or noticing how much you are sacrificing for them, then take note – your ego is raising its head.
Should you stop thinking about yourself all together when you are in love? No, this is just a cautionary tale. Focus on your own continuous improvement, which is a process of rising above self-centred responses, having less concern with personal desires, and becoming more accepting. It will actually help you to be in a state of love and resonance with others.
Acceptance: Many people ask, ‘What is the most important factor in choosing a life partner?’ I can only say, ‘Use your heart. And from the little of life I have lived, don’t expect too much.’
Life is all about acceptance. When we learn the art of accepting whatever comes – a situation, a business outcome, or a partner – it is the acceptance that makes it successful. Even bacteria mutate to survive in a hostile atmosphere, so why can’t we? Can we adapt to situations without being disturbed? There is no perfect human being. We collide against each other with our imperfections. So first ask yourself: ‘Am I perfect?’
You can also ask: ‘How well do I accept my own faults?’
Does it help to accept everything about yourself without changing? Then how will you improve and evolve?
Then comes the next question: ‘How well do I accept the faults of others and the circumstances around me?’
We accept certain situations with joy and not others. It is when our hearts become small that acceptance bids goodbye. Whenever any situation in the family, business or work environment demands acceptance, see how far you can go. Keep thinking.
Try to accept with full alertness and awareness. The number one step in acceptance is to let go of personal opinions in order to come to a neutral mid-point. Whenever you want guidance from within, first come to that neutral point and then see how you are steered in the right direction.
When we find neutrality a burden is lifted. We let go of our prejudices and preconceptions, and we are able to see with a clear vision. Confidence comes. When the direction is right, the heart feels lighter. Per contra, when the direction is not right, the heart feels heavier.
Here are two concepts about acceptance that are worth exploring:
What is the difference between expectation and hope?
How to balance acceptance and responsibility? In other words, can acceptance become irresponsible? Does acceptance mean no change?
We go deeper into all these ideas in Designing Destiny, the Heartfulness Way.
All the best,