Relationships: Life’s sacred offering

Relationships: Life’s sacred offering

There are a few contenders to the title of ‘the icon’ of the modern age–jet travel, information superhighway, inter-galactic exploration, genome sequencing and so on. All these represent tremendous advancements made by the human intellect in understanding the forces governing our physical life. But, without negating their value, the modern age can be seen as the age of dissolution of relationships. We have been able to conquer distances and diseases, but have not learned to maintain intimacy in our relationships or to keep them healthy.

We think about disconnecting before we even connect. It is not a joke that before the marriage between two rich and famous persons is celebrated, their lawyers meet to draw up the terms of their divorce. They pay their lawyers a smaller sum to arrive at an agreement on terms of divorce than they would have to spend on litigation in a ‘bitter divorce’. This speaks volumes about what in a relationship strikes the partners as important. The health of human relationships is in a sorry state, to say the least.

There are several facets to a relationship–physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and financial. Attaching the right degree of priority to these and learning to make compromises in the face of perceived excesses and inadequacies are vital to the maintenance of healthy relationships. It is dangerous to conceive of an ideal relationship in terms of the most desirable proportion of these factors and to dump every relationship that falls short of this deal. All these factors may not be present as you wish. But keep them in your vision.

Someone told me that he has been searching for a perfect woman for the last 20 years. I asked him whether he had found her. He said, “Yes, but she told me she was searching for the perfect man, and that I was not exactly that.” Don’t end up like this. One has to see elegance in imperfection too.

Noble virtues like sacrificial love, trust, honesty are deeply spiritual components of a relationship. Imagine a marriage in which either partner is unwilling to give his or her best to the other. Such a relationship would not be fulfilling. It takes spiritual maturity to consider giving more important than getting. Readiness to give to the point of suffering makes love sacrificial, an offering that pleases not just one’s partner, but God Himself. Remember the mythological story of Savitri’s readiness to exchange her life for that of her husband melted the heart of even the God of Death. Such is the spiritual height to which love, just one of the elements of a relationship, can rise.

When one has trust in a relationship, one is inwardly light. It makes one’s life a garden of joy. Focus on making a relationship work rather than on getting out of one you consider unworkable. In terms of a distinction, learn to respond to the threat of dissolution of a relationship instead of reacting to it. In a responsive state, you will be in charge of the situation. You learn how to emerge as a part of the solution instead of as a victim of the problem. This requires commitment and not complaint. Complaining drains you of your vital energies while commitment empowers you. When you are empowered, you will be able to turn impossibilities into possibilities.

Join Swami Sukhabodhananda ji’s upcoming online workshop, Spiritual Warrior

Bootcamp, starting on June 10, 2024. Email: [email protected]

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