Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Samsara of Intimate Relationships

A few months ago, I started writing another blog - one about dating and relationships. I know some of you took a look at it when I first started, and a few are probably even following it, which is cool. Thank you. I really enjoy writing both Dangerous Harvests and the relationship blog, and so far, I've done well keeping them both going, but also allowing a day or two to skip by if I'm not feeling the urge to write anything. In fact, having two active blogs has actually, in some odd way, helped lessen the internal "need" to post all the time. Perhaps that's because on any given day, I have two different options to do my writing for instead of always trying to fit my thoughts into a single thematic basket.

Anyway, what's been on my mind today is all the ways in which people can be shallow, unkind, unrealistic, stingy, and downright crazy when it comes to dating and relationships. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise, given how intimacy - and the desire for intimacy - tend to unearth all the muck beneath our "calm, cool, and collected" surfaces. Besides deeply diving into one's spiritual life, finding a partner and being with a partner might easily be the most challenging and thus potentially enlightening experiences a person can go through.

After reading and participating in some discussions about dating and relationships today, I can palpably feel the immense levels of pain and suffering many people have. Bitter single folks. Bitter married folks. People who have been burned by others in the past. People who have been in, or currently are, in abusive relationships. People who are deeply afraid of rejection. People who have such a sense of entitlement that they can't even see why others get so angry with them. People living in fantasies that can never be reality. People lost and confused and lonely.

Each of us has experienced a little piece of this in our lives, even those who are the most awakened, and have had the most wonderful of relationships. And some of us have had more than our share of misery around dating and relationships. But in the end, in some form or another, the samsara of intimate romantic relationships touches us all, even those who choose to renounce such relationships entirely. I'll never forget some of the conversations I had with one of the Catholic nuns I used to work with. She was always interested in how my dating life was. And she'd tell me stories about men she had met in the past, and how she occasionally wondered "what if." I never once got the sense that she regretted her decision to join the sisters, but that didn't mean she wasn't touched by the power and challenges of intimate relationships.

As you go about your day, especially if you're encountering someone whose ideas or behavior really rubs you the wrong, remember that he or she, too, has been touched by deep suffering. Perhaps that remembering might soften your response or judgement a little bit. Be well.


Was Once said...

The most common trip-up in any relationship is expecting the other party to love you to make you whole, instead of loving unconditionally. The second is not knowing when to walk away early enough to maintain a healthy friendship when the relationship fails on common ground.

Nathan said...

"The most common trip-up in any relationship is expecting the other party to love you to make you whole..." No doubt. This is definitely a major cause of misery.

Mandy_Fish said...

I find most of my trouble in intimate relationships is trouble with my own Ego getting in the way and making it all about Me.

So in that way, I find being in a relationship the best way to grow as a person and to learn to watch and guide that big old Ego of mine.

Unknown said...

I think that It is so interesting that we have expectations about or partner in relationships that we are not even aware of at first. I have found that I have gotten to know the woman who I wanted her to be not who she was. The same thing happened with her. For instance she would always expect me to pick her up on Fridays. I have to work on Fridays and she linked somehow that if I didn't pick her up I did not care about her.

Nathan said...

those expectations, and the emotional stories we connect with them, are really tricky.