05/25/2010 09:02 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cultivating Joyful Relationships (VIDEO)


For most of you, the quality of relationships that you hold in your life largely decides the very quality of life that you live. When it is playing such an important role in your life, it needs to be looked at. So what is the basis of a relationship? Why do people need relationships at all?

Whatever the nature of the relationship, the fundamental aspect is you have a need to be fulfilled. The needs may be physical, psychological, emotional, social, financial or political -- they could be any kind. We may claim many things for whatever purpose for which we have formed a relationship, but if those needs and expectations are not fulfilled, relationships will go bad.

These needs within a human being have risen because of a certain sense of incompleteness. People are forming relationships to experience a certain sense of completeness within themselves. This piece of life is a complete entity by itself -- why is it feeling incomplete? And why is it trying to fulfill itself by making a partnership with another piece of life? The fundamental reason is that we have not explored this life in its full depth and dimension. Though that is the basic issue, there are complex features of relationships as such. There are expectations, expectations and expectations.

Especially in the man-woman relationship, the expectations are so much that even if you marry a god or a goddess, they will fail you because expectations are so unrealistic that no human being on the planet can ever fulfill them. But if you understand what the source of these expectations is, you could form a very beautiful partnership.

Expectations keep changing in people, they are not consistent and they cannot be. People's expectations change as their perception and experience of life change, but they do not change at the same pace. Now relationships become a source of great conflict. More conflict is happening within the four walls of homes than anywhere else on the planet.

If you go about doing management with these things, there is no way you can gauge it 100 percent. If you try to mind-read the other person and constantly try to fulfill their expectations, you will become a wreck. To some extent you have to do it, but that is not the basis of a beautiful relationship.

2010-05-23-OutsideSathsangCropped2Shrunk.jpgFundamentally, why have we sought a relationship? You are seeking a relationship because you want to be happy, you want to be joyful. Or in other words, you are trying to use the other as a source of your happiness. If you are forming relationships -- trying to squeeze happiness out of somebody while that person is trying to squeeze happiness out of you -- this is going to be painful after some time.

But if your life becomes an expression of your joy, not in pursuit of happiness, then relationships will be naturally wonderful. Shifting your life from the pursuit of happiness to an expression of joyfulness is what needs to happen if relationships have to really work on all levels.

Right now, your body, mind, emotions and on a deeper level, your very energies are made in such way that you still need relationships. If your body goes in search of a relationship, we call this sexuality. If you mind goes in search of relationships, we call this companionship. If your emotions go in search of relationships, we call this love. If your energies go in search of relationships, we call this yoga. All these efforts are just to become one with something else because somehow, being who you are right now is not enough.

You might have noticed this some time in your life: suppose you are very joyful or loving and your life energies feel very exuberant -- you feel a certain sense of extension. This extension, what does it mean? First of all, what is it that you call "myself?" What is the basis for you to know "this is me and this is not me?" Right now, whatever is within the boundaries of your sensation, you experience as "myself."

Now the whole system of yoga is about this. The word "yoga" literally means "union." Whatever is the longing behind any relationship, either if you try through the body, through the mind or through the emotions, you will only long for oneness; you will never know it. You will know moments of oneness, but oneness will never happen. So the longing behind every relationship is union, it is only when you experience everything as a part of yourself, this longing to include will be truly quenched. Now relationships will only become a way of looking toward the other's needs, not your own, because you are no longer compelled by your needs.

Once there are no compulsions within you and everything that you do becomes conscious, relationships will become a true blessing, no more longing, no more struggle.


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