Tending the Relationships

There are three relationships that we need to tend simultaneously in our lives. The first relationship is with ourselves. We have an inner environment. We live with it every moment that we are conscious. We cannot escape from it. That relationship with ourselves is ongoing and continuous, and needs to be carefully tended. If we allow ourselves to do things that we know are unethical or immoral, we may have to deal with the shame and guilt generated for a long period. This can seriously deteriorate our inner environment.

Second, we have a relationship with the group, with other people. We are social animals. Humans are very engaged with how they look to the group, how they are treated by the group, their status in the group, and their standing with other people. The relationship with the group needs to be carefully and continuously tended. If you perceive that other people are avoiding interaction with you, the cause is probably your own behavior.

The third relationship is with the Cosmos. This one takes the form of keeping the Celestial Twin, the divine, spiritual part of oneself, in consciousness constantly. This relationship is vital to living a positive life with joy and a depth of meaning. Experiences of despair and depression are usually rooted in neglecting this relationship. It is the most important of the three.

If we have a decent, ongoing, accessible contact with Being, with the Celestial Twin, with the Cosmos, we can weather life. We can get through the hard things, survive them and keep going. We will not be plunged into permanent, irredeemable despair. If we are shut off from Being and thrown back on the resources of our little, limited and rather incapable organism, we will be in trouble. The separate little human is not strong enough and powerful enough to cope with life. It’s not an easy thing to be a human being. We are vulnerable. We are fearful. We have difficult events hitting us, burning us and pounding us. We have to keep going somehow. If we have no access to Being and we have not tended that relationship, if in fact we don’t understand that there is a substratum of Livingness beneath the material world that is throwing us up and creating us moment to moment, we will not have the strength and support to live our lives fully. We will suffer despair and desolation. We will be shut off from the Source of our life. We will be shut off from everything that is sacred, deep and meaningful. There is no remedy for that place of desolation except to get in touch with Being. The Sufis call that state of desolation and alienation ‘Sha’qa.’ The state of nearness to Being, of having our organisms irrigated with its gifts of joy, optimism and well-being, is called ‘Sa’ada.’

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