Whatever form they take, relationships can be a vehicle for opening the heart. An opening in which, for at least a moment, there is no longer any need to hide, protect, control, or get anything. Opening the heart means to fearlessly face reality, to experience the fullness of relationship. Opening the heart means that you are cultivating your relationship with yourself as a basis for relating with others.
This heart opening is the experience of Namaste - the recognition of the essence in oneself that is also in another. It is the acknowledgement that we are one, separated by our perceptions and physical bodies. To the ecstatic poets, that essence is unconditional Love, to Buddhists, Buddha Nature, to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the soul or the spark of God.
On the surface, Namaste, with hands together at the chest, in prayer position, a slight bow, is simply a greeting of respect, "I bow to you."
A deeper meaning is, "The divine in me bows to the divine in you." The hands engage in prayer pose, Anjali mudra, a yoga posture that means "offering." This simple posture elicits a sense of composure, of returning to the heart where everything is always just fine. It is a posture that connects your right and left brain, unifying your active and receptive qualities in balance. You are offering your essence, your love to the other, recognizing their divinity.
Namaste with or without Anjali mudra becomes a teaching on relationship and self-identity. It is the foundation for healthy relationships.
At the park today, I met an itinerant poet, Mary J. She asked for one word that makes me happy. I said "Here" and she created a poem on the spot, weaving together the connection to the earth, grass, flowers and sky, the solitude in the midst of the city. Lovely. Then she said "I don't take donations -- long pause -- over $1,000.00." Of course, I gave her some money.
In this brief exchange there was a meeting beyond words. The essence of the meeting was a dropping away of all the pretenses and obstacles to allow two people who have never met and who may never meet again to have a moment of connection, peace, and a reminder of what is at the heart of our being.
It is simple when it all takes place within five minutes, no melodramas surrounding it, and there is no clinging to make it stay or return. It is simple and clean.
Complex Relationships - Lovers
But, what of the complex relationships in our lives? The romantic relationship begins with the recognition of a spark - spontaneous Namaste. There is the sense of meeting with the one who completes you, who has always been with you.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.
Then, bodies and egos become engaged as other people and their needs, customs and culture influence the relationship. If the lovers are awake, they will use every aspect of their relationship to keep returning to the essence, the spark and Union beyond self and other. They let the spark become a fire and they drop into it.
In the moments that they are not aware, they will become caught up in the playing out of lust, clinging, jealousy, fear, anger, judging and all the other parts of need-based, neurotic relationships. The lover becomes just one in a chain of substitute fathers or mothers to be seduced and discarded when the old wounds are not healed.
It is unlikely, if not impossible, to have a meaningful relationship without some drama and the playing out of past experiences and relationships. There will be pain. We are who we are, after all.
The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Awareness in the relationship transforms the drama into opportunity for dropping away the obstacles to heart opening. The relationship becomes the crucible for the perfection of the lover's wisdom and compassion.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Or, you can get lost in the drama. The spark is always there, though without awareness, it isn't felt any longer. The initial meeting becomes a fantasy. Because it is not being experienced any longer it becomes an obstacle. There is resentment and longing for what used to be. With awareness there is an appreciation of what is, open to what will be.
Love in All Relationships
Love is the bridge between you and everything
This becomes the foundation for all relationships. Whether it is your boss or co-worker, your child or parent, or just some person who serves you or who you serve coffee, there is Namaste. When you come together take a moment for yourself to silently say Namaste and imagine the mudra. If it is socially appropriate, do it out loud and physically.
The word and mudra, even silent and imagined, center you and remind you to be aware that this other person is to be respected and loved. That in your heart and their heart, the same spark. Then everything else becomes relaxed and easier.
As you see anger arising and the start of a hierarchy building between you and the waiter who has brought you the wrong thing, you remember and handle the error with respect and understanding, instead of treating him like a stupid servant.
As you experience fear or resentment in a work relationship, remember and relate from a calm center that makes it far more likely that you will get what you need.
As you experience the complex of emotions around your significant other's jealousy or indiscretion you remember and open your heart so you can handle the situation with love and respect.
Use each relationship as an opportunity for eliminating the obstacles to healthy relating.
"Some say there is a door that opens from one to another.
But if there is no wall, there is no need for door or window."