bonding

How to Have Fulfilling Relationships if You Are Not (yet) a Buddha

 

Watch any video of David Deida, and you’ll see women and men dropping their jaws, nodding and smiling with shiny eyes. Read any of his books and you’ll probably find yourself enthusiastic about his ideas. He’s not the only one: there are many other spiritual masters out there and I believe that most of them are passionately and sincerely committed to help people develop themselves and have great relationships.
Many get what all these spiritual masters are talking about and are able to recognize the truth in their words. Who wouldn’t like to experience oneness with another human being, have mind-blowing sex and feel the divine through it? Even though it’s also scary, most human beings are indeed willing to develop and expand and relationships are undeniably the main playground for that.

 

We all want to experience love and connection to others. It literally keeps us alive. Actually, our genes carry this need for connection together with the need for food. More and more researchers have showed that our brain has become so big not only because of our improving technical and intellectual skills, but also thanks to our social interactions: to be with others has the effect of growing new connections between neurons.
In particular, romantic relationships are an incredible force in our lives. They bring both enormous joy and pain. Many of us grew up with mixed messages: we think that adult love is all about loving ourselves first, being non-dependent and not having the need for another to be there, help and support us. We should make it on our own, we are adults, right? And yet we sense this deep longing for closeness, connection and safety. It is innate. Denying it won’t bring anything.

 

To make it simple: most of us feel the truth in many spiritual teachings we hear and we are drawn to them. We want to be emotionally enlightened and connected with the Universe and so on. At the same time, we feel the earthy need for another to comfort us, hold our hand and keep us safe. Between these two apparently incompatible situations, we find ourselves feeling confused and tossed, wondering why can’t we just experience satisfaction, freedom and bliss.
And this is exactly the main issue: by not accepting where we are, by not appreciating and enjoying the moment, we are cutting ourselves off from the possibility to experience love and life fully. Try to see it this way: we are all developing and growing, that’s the direction the whole world is going to. Each of us has their path to walk at their own speed and this is one of the things that makes life so exciting: the fact that we are all different. As my yoga teacher put it:

 

No hurry guys, there’s no end to development, it goes on and on. So take your time and experience fully what is!

 

So how can we experience fulfilling relationships by being where we are?
As obvious as it may sound, the answer is to love, love yourself and love others.
But what does this mean? Dr. Sue Johnson is the one who brought new light to this endless question. To her,

 

Romantic love is not the least bit illogical or random. It is the continuation of an ordered and wise recipe for survival.

 

She shows us how the need for bonding and closeness is just as innate as our need for food and also something that let human beings evolute. The need you feel for having a mate is not only nature’s trick to have you reproduce. It is through others that we became stronger and more intelligent and this craving for closeness – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – is just nature’s way to have us develop.
Researches show how people who are in fulfilling relationships are often more healthy, balanced and tend to take more risks, because they know that they always have a safe haven to come back to. By getting closer to another, letting them see us and seeing them, by supporting each other and being supported, we can really become stronger and develop, not more dependent!

 

What I’m suggesting here is to let go of the endless wish to be more. You are more, every second you are learning and expanding. However, there are some sorts of stages we need to go through. It takes decades for an oak tree to grow from seed to 30 meters high and no matter how more water or sun it will get, it will still take it decades to grow that big. So it is for us. If you for example want to get to what Deida calls the third stage, you’ll first need to go through the other two, that is to learn to be in the need and to learn to love yourself and another, experiencing polarities and the absence if them, through cycles that might feel like repeated death and rebirth of your Self.
Only by loving we are able to develop and expand. Only by being in the presence of what is right now, not in the desire of something different. Only by loving yourself and another, by allowing what is, by letting the other mirror back to you what needs to be healed and by being willing to do the work, by honoring your needs and the ones of others, not by denying them or dismissing them as irrelevant, by supporting yourself and others and being kind and compassionate, you will be an emotionally enlightened human being and you will have fulfilling relationships. In a way, you already are there, because you are on the way.

 

There really is no hurry. Keep an eye on your destination but don’t let it distract you from enjoying the journey. Value where you are and embrace who you are, honor what you need and be the best you can be for yourself and others in the present. Only through love you’ll transform yourself, not in spite of it.

 

 

Pic ©Dora Horvath

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