What is Relationship? If you look at it from the “No two people ever met,” perspective (from Byron Katie), it gets stranger and stranger, but perhaps only better and better.
Whether it is relationship with family members, friends, coworkers or lovers, is there an element of defend and protect, or cherish and keep? Both of these interchangeable stances create the intractable difficulties we experience in all our relationships. Is it true that “Hell is other people?” Or, if you take out the judgment, expectation, fear, and all our assumptions about who all these other people are, what’s left?
Or, can you see everyone as innocent?
➢ The family member that continually creates drama and conflict: Innocent.
➢ The lover or friend that betrayed you: Innocent.
➢ The fellow spiritual sojourner who doesn’t walk the talk: Innocent.
➢ The coworker that doesn’t do their job, or takes credit for others’ work: Innocent.
➢ The highly respected leader, teacher, or public figure embroiled in scandal: Innocent.
➢ The politicians on the other side, the corrupt: Innocent.
This is not a trick of the mind, whereby you consider someone you despise, or think of as “less than”, and will yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt. Nor is it a psychological concept, or a moral precept. All the great religions are filled with the failure of this willing. The injunction, “Love thy neighbor,” apparently does not suffice. Something else, a shift in perspective, seemingly, is needed. The log in thine eye most definitely needs clearing.
What is the radical shift in perspective that might make this vision of innocence the only possible way of seeing others? Would not this unconditional way of relating, of seeing, allow relationship to be a truly welcoming, open, harmonious, fearless, evolving and ongoing giving and receiving encounter?
The origin of word innocent is “not harm.” What if the question, or the paradigm, shifted from “What have you done, or what can you do, to or for me?” to “What can truly be harmed here?” Innocence then becomes a matter of a deeply rooted inner invincibility, and there is no longer a convincing external threat or need. And by invincibility, I mean the conviction that who I am is infinite, boundary-less, and unchanging, rather than a limited and necessary-to-maintain-at-all-costs persona, and so are you. And so are you. In this regard, at this level, we are not separate, or different, we are the whole rather than its chafed and ragged-edged fragments.
What is it exactly that needs protecting or defending? What is wanting in this infinite identity? Who am I, and who are you? Can we ever really know another except through our own inaccurate filter of need and expectation? Can we be like childhood friends again, in innocence, trust, and causeless joy? Join us for a tele-dialogue this Wednesday evening; Relationship – What is That?: Contemplating self, other, love, compassion, and relating from a new point of view.
Love never fails…but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears…For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ~ Corinthians 13:8
Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love. ~ Khalil Gibran
In my defenselessness, my safety lies. ~ A Course in Miracles