Again, I'm killing two birds with one stone (I just realized I do not like that saying but can't think of another one - any suggestions that don't involve killing? Ha!). I'm working on my journal for my health and healing class and am loving this Echkhart Tolle book. Some of it is a little out there but most of it has a great underlying meaning. I wish we could all forget the grudges, the resentment, the regrets, and let go of all of the negative feelings that they cause. It's amazing the havoc the mind can cause when given the proper ammunition. We are told the past is the best prediction of the future. This can be true but it can also cause a hell of a lot of problems when it comes to relationships, heck with anything in life. Whether it is your partner's past or your parents', uncle's, sister's, or grandparents...holding onto these "ideas" can lead to a lot of wreckless feelings and expectations. Everyone says argueing is normal but I believe it can be done in a constructive and positive manner which then wouldn't necessarily be called arguing. This is something I will be the first to admit that I am still currently working on. I can blame, accuse, and criticize among the best of them but it is something that I am aware of and am currently working on but I am taking control. I'm not going to make up excuses anymore. We are given one life to live and there is simply no time for all of the negativity. I am no longer a victim. Anything negative that has happened to me has already happened. There's no use holding onto it. I'm not saying to get rid of the memories, man do I have some AMAZING memories (sighs a happy sigh, smiles, and even lets out a little giggle)! I love my amazingly chaotic life, my unpredictable family, my annoyingly lovable animals, my crazy-funny (so he thinks) fiance', and my perfectly unique group of friends. Sometimes these people have caused me heart-ache but I am learning to accept what is. We are all human, we make mistakes, we get put in bad situations, we are all players in this crazy game called life. What's important is how I react to whatever is thrown my way. I don't have to like everything but I can change what I don't like or accept what I can't change. I can be compassionate, understanding, and forgiving and I can enjoy this life that I'm living before I'm 90 rocking in my creaky, ol' rocking chair wondering where my life went :o) Enjoy...
CHAPTER 8: ENLIGHTENED RELATIONSHIPS
Many people seek physical pleasures because they feel that these things will make them happy or free them from a negative feeling. We run around saying, “When I obtain this or am free of that-then I will be ok.” However, true salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is being who you are, to feel the good within you, the joy of being that depends on nothing outside of itself. It is a state of freedom –from fear, from suffering, from compulsive thinking, from negativity, and above all from past and future as a psychological need. Our minds tell us that we need to find, sort out, do, achieve, acquire, become, or understand something before we can be free or complete. We think that we can’t get there from where and who we are at this moment because we are not yet complete, not good enough, or not yet that person that we want to be. I know this has run through my head and held me back many times. However, the truth is that here and now it the only point from where you can get there. All we have is this moment, the Now.
When it comes to relationships, we all know the highs and lows, the passion, the excitement, the sadness, the laughter, the cries, the yearning, the confusion, the lust, and all of the other emotions that run deep while exploring life with your partner. Yes, love can be powerful, suddenly life becomes meaningful because someone needs you, wants you, and makes you feel special, and you do the same for him or her. When you are together, you feel whole. Tolle points out that many relationships may seem perfect for awhile, such as when we are “in love,” but this apparent perfection gets disrupted as arguments, conflicts, dissatisfaction, and emotional or even physical violence occur more frequently. Many “love relationships” become love/hate relationships that give us as much pleasure as they do pain. Most of us have personally experienced these types of relationships and maybe even thought it was “normal.” Sometimes it seems that if I could only eliminate the negative or destructive cycles then all would be well and the relationship would be perfect from here on out. The negatives in a relationship are easier to point out and more recognizable in our partners than in us. These negatives can manifest in many forms: possessiveness, jealous, anger, control, withdrawal and unspoken resentment, the need to be right, insensitivity and self-absorption, emotional demands and manipulation, the urge to argue, criticize, judge, blame, or attack. Some of these things can be overlooked because of “love.” Some will compromise and continue to be together in a dysfunctional relationship in which negativity prevails, for the sake of the children, security, through force of habit, for fear of being alone, or some other mutually “beneficial” arrangement. Tolle suggests that if in your relationship, you experience both “love” and the opposite of love-attack, emotional violence, and so on-then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love. He says you cannot love your partner one moment and attack him/her the next, that true love has no opposite. But nonetheless, there comes a point in all relationships that your partner behaves in ways that fail to meet your needs. What do you do? Sometimes painful emotions surface and with each time this happens, these painful feelings can reappear even stronger than before. Sometimes we can even perceive our partner as the cause of these feelings. Relationships do not cause pain and unhappiness but they can bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already inside of us. So we need to look inside ourselves and see where this pain is stemming from. Are you holding on to something from your past? Did someone in the past hurt you, lie to you, or deceive you? “Yes.” Does this have anything to do with this moment in time? “No.” It is the belief that other people and what they did to you are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain or your inability to be your true self. But it is YOU that is responsible for your inner space now-nobody else is- and the past cannot prevail against the power of the Now.
I have seen many failed relationships and see many examples of what I don’t want my relationship to end up like but why does that make it ok to focus on the negatives? It doesn’t. For love to flourish, the light of my own presence needs to be strong enough so that I no longer get taken over by the thinker inside of me. Underneath the pain is freedom, salvation, and enlightenment. The moment we let go of the judgment and accept what is, we have made room for love, for joy, for peace. First we must stop judging ourselves, and then we stop judging others, including our partners. Love is the state of Being. Love is not outside; it is deep inside of us. The next time a disagreement happens, I will try to remain present. I will create space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter. I will try not to blame, accuse, or prove others wrong. By being “the knowing” and being present rather than being “the reaction” and the judge, we can create a clear space of loving presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. It’s best to express my thoughts and feelings as soon as they occur, so as not to create a “time gap” in which an unexpressed emotion can fester and grow. Habits are hard to break but learn to give expression without blaming and listen in an open and nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing him- or herself. Be present. Give your complete attention. This way, a permanent energy field of pure and high frequency will arise inside of you. No illusion, no pain, no conflict, nothing that is not you, and nothing that is not love can survive in it.