SUSTAINING MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS

BY SWAMI CHETANANANDA

To develop the possibility of a finer and richer and more meaningful existence requires commitment. If we are sincere about looking for more in life, we will meet people who will be mentors to us, who will open doors for us, and who will in some way or another share insights with us that are meaningful and sometimes very, very powerful.  It is important for us, for the sake of our own integrity, and for the sake of honoring our own life process, to sustain those connections and to deepen them, if possible in the context of our life, forever. 

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Going from person to person, teacher to teacher, relationship to relationship, never allows for us to develop any depth whatsoever in any system of practice or depth whatsoever within ourselves as a human being. In our current culture, loyalty is almost non-existent. People are friends one day and not friends the next--and not just on Facebook. In this kind of cultural environment, rather than allowing meaningful relationships to break, we need to look within ourselves. We need to see what it is about every circumstance that we struggle with, and what it is about us in every circumstance that we struggle in, that creates tension and disturbance and brings us to the point of disconnection, and we have to try to change that.

It’s not a question of changing from one thing to another thing, “Oh, I will no longer do this,” or “I’ll no longer do that,” or “I’ll be better over here” or “I’ll work harder at that.” In the context of all of the challenges that we face in the world with one another, the appropriate way to express our commitment to the relationships we have is to reach more deeply within ourselves first and to connect to what is really essential and basic in our connections to everybody.  The simplest way to put it is that we open our hearts and we connect to the love within ourselves.  Then we find from that love our connection to every single person that we relate to, and we allow that love to inform us of the ways in which we need to express ourselves to continually deepen and grow every aspect of our life.