We are each driven by a deep urge to form an intimate connection with the world around us and most of us do this through relationships. If you take a soul look at this, you will see that your need for relationship actually stems from your basic human need to overcome your earthly sense of separation." -- Caroline Reynolds, Spiritual Fitness
Life is a trip we were not meant to travel alone, and I mean that literally. If we stop and consider our life's journey we shall see that we entered into a lifetime of relationships beginning the moment we arrived here. From our birth mother, followed by other family members, and literally every other person we have encountered along the journey, this thing called "our life" has been interwoven like a string of fine pearls on one single invisible silver thread called "relationship."
When the topic of relationships come up most of us immediately think "significant other" relationships because that is where we invest a majority of our time. However, when we pause and consider the many other people we connect with at one level or another on a daily basis we'll see that our lives are filled with relationships. For me the realization is that without all of those relationships life would be meaningless. From the strangers I chat with while standing in line at the market, to my most beloved family members (including my dog Mac) and everyone in between; without them I would not want to be here -- without those relationships life would be hollow. While life itself is the ultimate gift from the Creator, relationships are how the gift is woven into the tapestry of a life worth living; each separate thread, when combined with the others, adds a color, richness and dimension to life that we could never experience without them.
Unless we live isolated and alone at the top of a mountain, having relationships is not an option; from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning we enter into a continuum of relationships, beginning with the face we see staring back at us in the mirror. So, it's not a matter of "if" we will have relationships -- it's a question of "how conscious" shall we be in them. How mindfully awake we are in our relationships determines what we shall bring to them and receive from them. The poet and artist Flavia said something profound about relationships when he wrote:
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people stay for a while, and give us a deeper understanding of what is truly important in this life. They touch our souls...we gain strength from the footprints they have left on our hearts and we will never be the same."
In other words, every relationship we have, from our significant others, family and friends, to our neighbors and coworkers, and even the occasional stranger we allow into our lives, all bear something in common: Each will leave "footprints" on our hearts, as we will in theirs. Those footprints may leave a positive or, in some cases, negative impression but, in either case, each relationship brings with it, if we are conscious, an opportunity to learn more about our authentic selves and the role each person in our life plays in shaping who it is we have come to earth to be.
The takeaway for me is this: Conscious relationships matter. The more conscious and spiritually grounded we are in our relationships the more authentic (or real) they become. Authenticity is the passageway leading directly to the soul. Is it possible to have truly authentic relationships wherein we can be who we really are and, at the same time, create space for others to be who they really are? I propose that it is not only possible, but it will become the norm for any person who is willing to make the commitment to do the work. Our relationships are the vehicles for our evolution as individuals and a species. If we are fully conscious, our relationships offer us the clearest view of our own souls because they invite us to look directly into the face of the Divine and see our own reflection.
From a spiritual perspective we have come here to have relationships. From the cradle to the grave and all along the way in between, it is the relationships we have on the journey that truly make life worth living, so why not make the journey consciously?
For more by Dennis Merritt Jones, click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.