Relationships and Emotions

In this excerpt from Polishing the Mirror, Ram Dass writes about the connection between relationships and emotions, and how we are all grist for each other’s mill of awakening.

From the soul’s point of view, you come to appreciate that each one of us is living out his or her own karma. We interact together, and those interactions are the grist for each other’s mill of awakening. From a personality point of view, you develop judgment, but from the soul’s point of view, you develop appreciation. This shift from judging to appreciating — to appreciating yourself and what your karmic predicament is, and who other beings are with their own karma — brings everything into a simple loving awareness. To be free means to open your heart and your being to the fullness of who you are because only when you are resting in the place of unity can you truly honor and appreciate others and the incredible diversity of the universe.

When I perform a wedding ceremony, the image I invoke is of a triangle formed by the two partners and this third force, which is the shared love that unites and surrounds them both. In the yoga of relationship, two people come together to find that shared love but continue to dance as two. In that union, both people are separate and yet not separate. Their relationship feeds both their unique individuality and their unity of consciousness. Love can open the way to surrendering into oneness. It gets extraordinarily beautiful when there’s no more “me” and “you,” and it becomes just “us.” Taken to a deeper level, when compassion is fully developed, you are not looking at others as “them.” You’re listening and experiencing and letting that intuitive part of you merge with the other person, and you’re feeling their pain or joy or hope or fear in yourself. Then it’s no longer “us” and “them”; it’s just “us.” Practice this in your relationships with others.

At a certain point, you realize that you see only the projections of your own mind. The play of phenomena is a projection of the spirit. The projections are your karma, your curriculum for this incarnation. Everything that’s happening to you is a teaching designed to burn out your stuff, your attachments. Your humanity and all your desires are not some kind of error. They’re integral parts of the journey.

11 thoughts on “Relationships and Emotions”

  1. I met a guru of mine about 7 years ago in Tiburon ; he was openly hateful to me ; I guess he may have thought I was trying to steal his boyfriend ? anyway ; I was shocked as I had read all his books and changed my life in ways that were somewhat grueling ( becoming a sadhu basically – with a back pack full of his books ; wandering rivers and mountains looking for God ) – so to meet him and treat me so sadistically made me grieve for all I had abandoned in order to follow him – what sort of guru is that Richard ? any thoughts ..?

    • Well, before “Richard” answers you, dear, i would like to put in a quick two cents. There is never any excuse for any abuse, at any time, by anyone. i married a local “guru, ” and his lectures, and teachings, were brilliant but i discovered he was soooo full of himself – sadly, that he was not capable of loving anyone else. So, maybe take what you learned, and cherish it, apply what is valuable, and let go the teacher. And know that you are a very precious being in God’s eyes . . in anyone’s eyes. Blessings.

    • I’ll add my two cents here, trish: be really careful of gurus. There are some that seem to enjoy the ‘master’ and ‘pupil’ relationship so much, they forget there is something to be learned from every person, whatever age or experience. Also beware of gurus who do not disclose about themselves — communication should be a two-way street. Gurus who do not respect your disclosures and take part in ‘group gossip’ are everywhere, so are the ones who pass judgement upon a group member to suppress or disenfranchise a different point of view. We are all here to learn, and nobody is in charge of your relationship with God! Blessings on your journey!

  2. Sandwiching someone between you and God doesn’t bring you closer to God, but only the someone’s limits.

    Unless your “guru” is healing the sick and raising the dead, he hasn’t really decided to let go of not-knowing, and can only teach what he knows.

  3. I have become very aware of my karma (in and out of relationships). I believe, from experience, that this karma follows me around until I deal with it – so this is what my life is dedicated to. This has lead me to struggle to believe it is ever “right” to change anything in my life (e.g. move house, change partner etc) and yet, this stillness makes “me” very sad. Is it ever “right” to change anything? How can I know?


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