Even in untroubled times the whole issue of relationship is complicated and messy, because our human nature is complicated and messy. What is human nature and why does it cause so many troubles? Paradoxically, we experience suffering, because of the gift of freedom to feel and think as we like. In the full spectrum of emotions, we can find the following in everyday intimate relationships:
- Blame and resentment
- Lack of trust
- lack of love, affection, and appreciation.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, the typical response is to fall back on the ego, which begins to insulate itself from your partner out of self-defense. You might resort to all kinds of reactions, but at bottom the ego has one essential thought, "What about me?”
But pause for a moment and realize a simple and profound truth. The issue isn’t you. It isn’t the other person. It is human nature. It’s not about finding someone to blame. With that in mind, you can cut yourself a little slack. In this space you can say to yourself, “It isn’t about me” and “It isn’t about the other person.” The issue runs deeper. It is human nature. (We are not talking about extreme behaviors here, such as verbal and physical violence or cheating, where responsibility for misdeeds, belongs to the transgressor.)
So what’s wrong with human nature? Nothing, if you know where to look. The wrong place to look is the ego-personality, which is built up from experience in the past. Ego is the repository of old hurts and bad memories, past failures, and setbacks. The ego’s agenda is constantly to follow the path of desire, and since desires are colored today by what we liked or disliked yesterday, the ego is always reaching for something that is out of reach. Fulfillment is always out of reach when you are not in the present moment. Only in the now can we experience fulfillment. Unfortunately, the conditioned ego is trapped in recalling the past and anticipating the future.
The good news is that human nature is infinitely more than the ego realizes. Essential human nature is the nature of the true self, which is not created by the past. The true self is nearer than your next breath. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let yourself relax. Now think two simple words, “I am.” They are the basic expression of being here now. You exist. You are here. Now you have touched upon your true identity, your true self.
But being quiet inside and feeling present seems to have no apparent fulfillment in it. Yet this state of simple awareness has a great deal of hidden potential. If you pay a little attention as you sit in simple awareness, you will notice that you are not afraid, that you are open without judgment to whatever happens next, you are whole and complete as you are, and you are alert but calm.
In this state of restful alertness, which you can return to any time you wish, an open channel exists to the flow of creative intelligence. Creative intelligence carries the qualities of pure awareness to the surface of the mind. These qualities are love, bliss, beauty, creativity, inner growth, and the solution to any problem.
It is important to realize that human nature holds these qualities. The things we complain about in life and in our relationships are artifacts of the ego personality, the limiting side of human nature. Fortunately, the mind favors the flow of creative intelligence. The happiness we feel in moments of love, beauty, compassion bliss, and the pure joy of existence come to us because the mind taps into the flow of creative intelligence.
When you connect with this flow, your relationships assume the very quality you are experiencing. Experience love and the people around you deserve to be loved. Experience beauty, and everyone looks beautiful. This isn’t a trick of perception. It’s a true reflection of your inner experience.
Close the eyes for a moment and begin slow, easy, full breaths into your lower belly area. Feel your breath moving in and out as you relax and rest into the center of your awareness. Let your attention feel the quality of this settled state of awareness. Notice that this quiet space is the source of your every thought or feeling or impulse to move. And it is the place that all of those impulses dissolve into before the next one emerges. It is your starting place and ending place. This pure awareness is always your connection to everyone and everything. When you are here, in this state of awareness, you are connected to everyone and everything in life.
If you want to connect with anyone, you have to connect at this level of yourself first. All relationships are reflections, so why not reflect what is best in human nature? This is the only question you need to ask, because as soon as you ask it, you realize that the greatest experiences you have ever had inside are the very ones you want to give to those near and dear to you. With this realization you can begin to place your relationships on a new foundation.