The Second R – Relationships – The Law of Harmony
Life is relationship. Our life will revolve around a series of relationships from the moment we arrive to the moment it’s time to leave. And yet no one ever teaches us how to cultivate and sustain a relationship. Traditionally learned and assimilated from parents and teachers, the ability to relate does not yet have its own curriculum. But times are changing and it increasingly appears that some help is needed as our relationships can easily swing from an exchange of sweetness and light to what can feel like a jail sentence at worst or ‘prickly’ encounters at best. So what is relationship exactly?
Stripped down and in its naked form relationship is the giving and receiving of energy in the form or love, light and power. It is in the dynamic exchange of all relationships that we find the Law of Harmony at work. When there is a natural giving and receiving of energy, free of the desire for return, and with the intention to benefit the other, then there is harmony and balance in the relationship. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, we learn that it’s good to attempt to break the law. When we attempt to break any ‘natural law’ there is always some form of discomfort, pain or suffering as a result. If suddenly you believe that you can fly, and throw yourself off the roof of a building with your arms flapping, you will, in a matter of seconds, experience a substantial amount of pain as you attempt to break the law of gravity! And so it is with the Law of Harmony that governs our relationships. The moment we turn giving and receiving into taking and keeping we create emotional discomfort for ourselves called fear and anger. But we don’t see it as our belief system teaches us that a life of acquisition and possession constitutes success, and we think the fear (of future loss) and the anger (at past loss) are natural and normal. We cannot make the connection between the presence of these uncomfortable emotions, and our attempt to break the law of harmony, the law that sits at the heart of all relationships.
Relationship is an exchange of energy. While we may occasionally exchange that energy in the form of material objects, essentially the three deepest forms of exchange, of which any object is just a symbol, will be love, light or power.
Love itself has many faces. It is the shaper of many behaviours including compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and care. It is loves ‘intention’ that differentiates it from all other gestures. If there is any intention to acquire a return then it is not true love but the beginning of ‘business’. If there is any intention to deny or use the other in any way it is not true love but manipulation. In a world that is generally obsessed with physical form, fashion and faces, love tends to be cornered and confined to physical relationship. Embedded in our language, if not our psyche, is the idea that love is synonymous with sex. The idea of ‘making love’ sits at the heart of most intimate relationships. But the irony is that if there is one thing in life that cannot be made it is love. Love is already made, can never be unmade only blocked, and is the original maker of everything else.
Light also takes many forms in the connecting conversations of human relationship. The highest form of light that we can exchange with one another is wisdom. Wisdom enlightens. When the ancient philosophers cultivated and shared their wisdom they enlightened new generations in the ways of the world on how to live in harmony with each other and the planet. But wisdom over time has given way to knowledge. The seeking and acquisition of knowledge about how the world around us works has spawned technology so that most of us have become habituated to sending vast amounts of information across vast distances at lightening speeds in the form of data. So the light that we now share and exchange with each other has a history; from wisdom to knowledge to information to data. Today we generally value data more than wisdom, and in our relationships our exchanges revolve mainly around information. And yet wisdom is the commodity most essential make good decisions and to be able to build healthy relationships with others and the world.
Just as a wire connects the appliance with the mains and electricity flows, so love is the connecting energy of relationship and down through this connection will flow power. In the context of our relationships it means ‘empowerment’. If someone speaks of a new idea or a new initiative they are planning to undertake, do we empower them with our encouragement? Do we empower them with our good wishes? Do we empower them with our enthusiasm? Do we say, “Yes, fantastic, go for it, you have my best wishes”. Or do we tend to say or even just think, “Nah that’ll never work… or… Nah I wouldn’t do that.” In every relationship we also have the opportunity to empower and as we empower others we ourselves are empowered in the process.
Unfortunately, over time, it looks like a number of ‘errors’ have occurred in our understanding of relationship and the way we interact together. It is these errors that can kill our ability to exchange love, light and power. They also undo our ability to live in harmony with the Law of Harmony.
Probably the seven most common ‘Relational Errors’:
Making our happiness dependant on others
Perhaps the most prevalent illusion that we learn to sustain is the idea that someone else is responsible for our happiness. When we make our happiness dependent on what others say or do it will only be a matter of time before the quality of the energy that we give deteriorates and the harmony of the relationship is lost.
Try to Control Others
The belief that we can control others, the idea that the world should dance to our tune, ensures that we will know failure frequently in our life. Our inability to accept others as they are, to embrace life exactly as it happens, means we will sabotage our ability to give love or light, and give mostly frustration and anger instead.
Create Expectations of others
There is a subtle difference between expectation and empowerment. When we expect the best of another it is empowering to them, but only if the expectation is completely free of all dependency. If there is any dependency our expectation is just another personal desire in disguise.
Limit love to a physical need
When we see the other only as a physical person, when we base our relationships largely on physical attraction, we will tend to see love as a physical need, and then try to fulfil that need at the physical level only. This creates disharmony as the intention in the process of exchange becomes one of wanting and taking for oneself to fulfil a need that cannot be fulfilled at a physical level.
Criticise the other
It’s hard to see how we disconnect from our inner peace and power when we judge and criticise another. We forget the principle of ‘the pointing finger’, which reminds us that when we point out towards others with critical intentions there are already three fingers pointing back at us. And who wouldn’t raise their defensive wall when they are being attacked, which is essentially what criticism is, especially when it is obviously being driven by emotion.
Fear of the loss of another’s acceptance and/or approval
It’s hard to kick the drugs of approval and acceptance, and the shame and guilt that will always hover in their shadow. Very much a part of our early childhood programming, our parents/teachers unknowingly feed us these drugs and we can easily become hooked for life. They become the foundation for many subtle and unhealthy games in all kinds of relationships. Emotional blackmail will have its roots here.
Assuming the intentions of the other
It’s easier to assume than it is to ask. And usually when we avoid asking and we take the lazier of the two paths it’s because we are quietly fearful of the answer. And when our fear comes true we tend cry, “But I assumed you would ...”!
Question: Which of the above seven factors would you see as the most prevalent in blocking the growth of healthy relationships in a) your family b) your workplace c) your self
Reflection: If it is love that makes the world go round why is there so little harmony in the world today…or is it just that the media highlights the loveless and disharmonious aspects/events/relationships?
Action: Take each of the above seven errors this week (one per day) and consciously watch for their tendencies to arise in your interactions with others.