23 Dec Relationships – expanding ourselves beyond our own skin
Relationships are the classroom of this world. The greatest lessons and growth come in the form of relationships. We have created bonds through many lifetimes with others and continue to come together in new roles to perfect our relationship. A perfected relationship is one founded on unconditional love. But what is love?
My favorite quote by Yogananda is in his poem FRIENDSHIP.
“When ne’er the lover seeks self-comfort at the cost of the one beloved, then in that garden of garden of selflessness fragrant friendship perfectly flowers. Ah, friendship! Flowering, heaven-born plant! Nurtured art though in the soil of measureless love, In the seeking of soul-progress together By two who would smooth the way each for the other and though art watered by attention of affection and tender dews of inner and outer sweetness of the inmost, selfless heart’s devotion. Ah friendship! Where thy soul-born flowers fall there on that sacred shrine of fragrance the Friend of all Friends craves to come and to remain! “
According to the teachings of one of my favorite saints, Sai Baba of Shirdi, the true meaning of religion is duty. Following religion means doing your duty as a friend, mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister, husband, wife, employer, employee. Etc. We all have a conscience that whispers what is the right way to behave in all circumstances. The ego does not usually want to do it because it almost always involves self sacrifice and effort and egos are self serving IE do as little as you can get away with and get as much as you can for nothing. The book Road Less Traveled defines love as the wishing the spiritual growth of another. He points out that all other feelings can be seen in the animal kingdom and are therefore animal instinct, not love. Humans are the only ones capable of wishing spiritual realization on another. He points out that love always involves effort and self sacrifice. Calling love a verb and not a feeling is the definition that comes closest to the truth. Your deeds express your love more than your words. If my plants are dead from my neglect will you believe I love them?
Relationships and family life are training to expand ourselves beyond our own skin to include someone else as a part of our self and to consider others well being as important as our own. Growing beyond our skin encapsulated ego identification to include others is the first step towards expanding our consciousness in the direction of our true identity as a soul which is part and parcel of God. Everything God does is designed in consideration for what is best for all of creation. The closer we can come to thinking that way the closer we are to expressing our true identity as a spark of God.
For more about relationships please see Urge to Merge – In To Me See, The True meaning of intimacy.