The secret to the longevity in a relationship is – LOVE — real love!!
The love that we see in our personal relationships always desires to be loved in return and it often seeks to control, if not grossly, in subtle and silent ways certainly. Such love is limited in scope, has conditions and is reserved for a few close ones only. As a result, as the relationship advances, such peculiar tendencies tend to arise which, if not aware, can make our love hurtful, jealous, retaliatory, and can even force us to move out from our relationship altogether.
Whereas real love is without any thought of return; it is unconditional, generous and kind. It believes only in giving. It is selfless and uplifting. It is wide and limitless. Hence, real love never hurts anyone. Because we lack this real love, this tenderness, this generosity in our relationship, our relationships suffer and eventually come to a point of termination.
A relationship is a mirror in which we get to see ourselves as we actually are.
The most common mistake that we generally make in relationships is, no sooner the other person ignores or scolds us or behaves in a manner that we don’t like, and we try to move away by withdrawing our self from the relationship. Actually, this is an opportunity that Nature presents to us, through the medium of that person, so that we can get rid of our faults. And our biggest fault is our ego!
The ego is a very complex entity which can be recognized only in relationships through:
- our speech; the way we talk with different people we are related with,
- our daily actions; the way we behave while in interaction with our relatives,
- the pre-conditioned state of our thinking, based on the past events that have occurred so far,
- the way we treat our family members, neighbors, friends, bosses, employees, servants, etc.,
- the differences in our treatment towards different people in different relationships,
- the way we project ourselves before our relatives,
- the way we judge and form opinions for people we are in a relationship with,
- the way we condemn others and defend ourselves,
- the way we calculate what is to our advantage and what is not.
All of these reveal the different facets of our ego.
‘One is able to see oneself as one is’ only in this extraordinary mirror of relationship which does not distort. If one has the earnest interest to look into this mirror with full attention and complete impartiality, you are bound to discover the ego in minute reality. And until this ego is alive, our relationships will continue to be confronted with trouble, pain, suffering, and fear of ending. And whether we like it or not, consciously or unconsciously, we will end up doing something which harms or hurts people in our relations.
Where there is ego, there cannot be love. And where there is love, there cannot be ego.
We have enormous energy within us. But all our energy gets consumed in battling with words, in fostering negativity and in condemning our own loved ones, for we are full of opinions and biases that prevent us from seeing things in the correct perspective.
The ego is so burdened with the innumerable experiences and memories, so marred and scarred with hurts that it has taken upon itself, that it is unable to see anything with a fresh perspective. It always infers what it sees, based on one’s past memories and self-made conclusions. And owing to this characteristic of ego, we close the doors to our relationships. On the other hand, pure love admits no division. The characteristic of pure love is such that it reopens even the closed doors!
How to navigate the ego
So, rather than ending our relationship, we must look at ending our ego. Rather than pointing out faults in others and consequently deciding to be free from the relationship, we will now decide to become free from our own faults that do not allow us to experience oneness with all.
We will remember God and apologize for all our mistakes that have happened in interactions with people in relationships so far, ‘Oh God! No one else is at fault. The very fact that I am seeing the other at fault is my own fault. I seek forgiveness for this fault of mine. Please pardon me and give me strength so that I do not commit this fault again.’
Doing so, love will arise within, and we will begin to experience total oneness with the other person.
How do we enhance real love within us?
Real love means pure love. There is no contamination of ego in it. And pure love is the Absolute Self. There is no other definition of the Absolute Self.
Sounding a bit difficult? It’s actually rather simple!
There are two kinds of Self that function within every living being.
- The worldly self (ego), and
- The real or the Absolute Self (Soul).
The entire world knows us by our worldly name eg. John (the reader may insert his own name here). And accordingly, we too start believing that “I am John”. This is a wrong belief as we are really a Pure Soul. This wrong belief is called ego. It is this belief that is creating intolerance and separating us from the people we are in a relationship with.
The Soul is our real Self. And to know this real Self is the ultimate goal of our existence. But we cannot attain this goal until Gnani, the Enlightened One, helps us do so. When Gnani graces us with Self-Realization and puts in a line of demarcation between our worldly self (John) and the real Self (Soul), it marks the beginning of the development of real love within us.
After Self-Realization, as the awareness of the Self keeps increasing, the real love further enhances.
The awareness of the Self increases, and with the help of a spiritual teacher’s influence, we start observing how our worldly self is behaving in the relationships, moment to moment i.e.
- how I (as John) reacts and responds in various situations,
- how I regard my Guru to which I say I have surrendered, my parents, my neighbors, how I behave towards servants,
- the crudeness with which I treat people,
- the pride, the arrogance, the coarseness of my habits and thoughts,
- how I condemn and justify, judge and evaluate, compare and deny,
- every thought, every word, every action, every feeling; every mood that I feel is mine, and
- the conflicts of greeds, pursuits, and desires that eventually my ego has trapped itself in.
This very awareness, this very observation of the movements of the worldly self without any judgment of good or bad, without any feeling of attachment or hatred for them, brings about a breaking up of all crudeness within and gradually transforms all the coarseness of ego into the smoothness of the real love, the pure love. And when this happens, there prevails permanency and complete security in our relationships.