Relationships can be tricky. They demand so much of our emotional thought processes. Even in the best of times they can seem to overshadow other parts of our lives. Yet they are important for our well-being. We all crave a partner of some kind, whether it be physical, romantic or both. Humans are proven to crave companionship; as long as man has been a presence on this earth societal infrastructures have existed. And none as personal or pervasive as a romantic bond. But learning to balance that aspect of our lives with all the others can be difficult. Relationships tend to take up more space in our heads than we can afford to give them. So it is important to find the balance to make it just one of our many plains of existence.
Part of the reason love issues normally get shuffled to the top of our mental lists, is due to all the time and effort we put into finding the perfect mate. We create experiences to meet someone, narrow down or choices and then weed out candidates based on an internal check list. However I often wonder if this is the wrong way to go about it. The more our mind focuses on only one area of our lives the more we become attached to it. Thus begins the danger. It is easy to get attached to the ones we love, to the situation they help create and the feelings they bring to the surface. To embrace non-attachment in regards to intimate partners feels almost unnatural at first. That is until we retrain ourselves to accept that love and non-attachment are not mutually exclusive concepts. They can coexist but they must be balanced.
A common misconception in intimate relationships is the idea that a person needs someone outside themselves to make them whole. Yoga teaches us that our whole encompassing Self is what’s important and focusing on only the small self is what limits us. For instance, our self often desires the validation of another, fitting them into a specific mold and often not seeing the other person for who they truly are. This can limit our journey in seeking universal truths and living a full life.
A healthy relationship should resemble the yin and the yang, the opposite and balanced completion of one entity, two halves creating a whole. Through spiritual training we come to realize that love should never be so limited as to only include one person. The world is made up love; it is not something to be stingy with or possessive over. It also teaches us that relationships with other people are only parts of our existence, not the whole thing.
Removing our attachment to the past and our expectations of the person is the next step. While our past experiences can be incredible learning tools the exact dynamics do not pertain to our current situation. Comparing and contrasting can lead us down a complicated road, one that will derail us and take away from the life we are living in this moment. When we find ourselves drifting into the past it is important to mentally bring ourselves back, gently and with understanding. Only then can we deal with the issues at hand, only then can we see our situation for what it truly is. This leads into the domain of expectations, another stumbling block in balancing our thoughts.
It is important to understand where our expectations come from. Following one down to its root is a way to save us pain in the future. Do we expect our partner to be perfect because we are afraid that we are not? Do we criticize their outward appearance because we ourselves are insecure? Do we judge the way they spend money because we spend to frivolously? The list can go and on. The key is to understand those feelings within ourselves so that we don’t project them onto others. This allows us to free up our thoughts for other things. We begin to form a balance, one that will be tweaked and experimented with hopefully for years to come. This may seem a less romantic outlook than we are used to, but the symmetry of love in the universe is the very definition of intimacy, crisscrossing lines of energy combusting to create a new world. A world just for you and the one you choose to share it with.