Aren’t the designs of life but fugues, tossing over the other’s plaintive cry or bubbling laughter while the dark fumes of a past, carried into the present for fear of a future that one cannot conceive in its entirety, thread their way through the permanent – made too vague – and the ephemeral – made vital – giving a shade of grey where a glitter once caught your eye and lending chatoyance to the graphite edges of rough sketches? When the lows of today reverberate in the metallic chambers of a promised tomorrow, aren’t the tunes very different and all present?
I watch relationships around me and wonder as to why there are more distraught ones than engaging and invigorating ones. It is not the intricacies of the relationship per se that calls on for turbulent clouds, but the people involved who, often, aren’t clear as to what to expect from the relationship, from the other individuals involved and – what is most unfortunate – from themselves.
Does a person cease to exist once they accept a relationship?
Does a relationship become so important that the rest of the world is not worth one’s time and association?
Isn’t conflict between choices and possibilities the main cause of a fracture in a relationship? (and there was one post, long ago, where a commenter and I discussed this nearly threadbare)
The relationships I talk about aren’t necessarily the “Luhv” ones but just about any association between human beings. I might not discuss the purely monetary/designed forms, though there is a lot to learn form them.
People enter a relationship to satisfy a need, a want and quite often, a lack. There are certain voids in a life which aren’t one’s own creation. A want for companionship or for conversation would be such an example. The human being, being what he is, does prefer company. Hence, entering a relationship, it does help to realise what is the want/need/lack that is being fulfilled.
Often, a consciously chosen relationship also serves the need to possess or make a trophy of the association or the associate. One needs to be aware of that. The want for a good looking girlfriend might be purely that well cloaked need. Rarely does it stem from the objective want to be associated with someone good looking, like the need to furnish your house with the best linen purely for your own personal delight.
Often the need is purely utile. One needs someone to earn the money for the house, cook the meals, have sex, gain social acceptance, enable procreation, etc. I have heard ladies from the older generation say: “You need a wife to light the lamp of the house!” I took it literally and showed them how it could be done easily without a wife!!
I think relationships primarily reward us with a better understanding of ourselves, and only the fool goes about saying that he always knew everything about himself. In the mirror of the alien soul does one find oneself. Thereafter, one might be able to observe and realise oneself devoid of human souls to reflect one’s being. It is like the assistence sought in spotting the hidden pattern in a large clever sketch, and once the outline is familiar to the eye, the rest of the picture disassembles into more tangible elements. Often I wonder whether the only way we recognise ourselves is by denying what we aren’t. Reminds me of Ramana Maharishi’s “Who am I?“.
In life – and so be it in a relationship – there are three patterns which one needs to be aware of. The primary pattern that continues to undulate and chequer one’s life till the very last breath is that of one’s own self which evolves according to the Divine pattern (which isn’t one of the three). The second pattern is that of the one with whom we relate and how it influences our own (or so it appears). The final pattern whose influence is best realised in retrospect, is that of the non-entities, or those (including inanimate entities) with whom we do not recognise an explicit
relationship. I would intrepret these to follow the Hindu concept of the trinity. There are relationships that nurture and preserve our self in the best form. There are relationships that wear out the individual, revealing facets hitherto unknown or ones we never expected to wear over our bare shoulders and then there are relationships which are always there around us and are created as a casual consequence of being alive.
The deterioration of relationships on this Earth are primarily because of lack of understanding these patterns. Neither life nor relationships are made to be perfect. They are made in order to let the soul metamorphose into what it needs to become (hmm, sounds like the Samkhya shaka of Indian philosophy). Some souls will never learn, but that is their role.
So the philosophy of relationships apart, I think what I have observed is that the need for clarity is the singular reason for the deterioration in relationship. Some call it lack of maturity. I like the word clarity.
How can a person relate to someone when he is unaware of himself? If he only has an idea of what he is, then he can only relate to an idea or an image of the other person, and the relationships is fictitious, or rather real till the day when one of of strive to go beyond the mirage. I, often, wonder about the truth of this statement: We only get to love or hate ourselves.
In a happy and smooth sailing relationship, nothing much is required. Understanding and clarity are only required in times of conflict and uncertainty. Since more relationships are likely than not to run into a storm, it makes sense understanding the need that one feels for the particular relationship. This can be endeavoured only after a fair amount of understanding of the self is achieved. The exercise of understanding a relationship aids in understanding oneself too.
Some people enter a relationship because a rooted coconut tree is of greater use than the eddying foam gurgling down a cascade. What they seek is the stability that the knowledge of being in a family numbering more than one person is more reassuring than the possibility of a happier or rewarding life. Some will always wipe it off with a “The grass is always greener on the other side” which isn’t necessarily far from the truth.
Some people are in a relationship because they are unsure of themselves and wish to have another person to placate their worries of insignificance. The dependence is usually very high and negative traits like possessiveness and jealousy creep in.
Think about it, why would I wish to possess someone? A human spirit can never be possessed. Resistance seems to be the most common knee jerk reaction to any attempt at being possessed. I wish to possess when I wish to ensure that no one else shall have what I have. Marriage, according to me, was an institution created in order to realise that. That a few people entered it because they wished to offer themselves to a relationship doesn’t justify the need for marriage. Realise that those few would have done so even without the rigour of marriage, but what becomes of those who can only have a man or a woman by digging moats around their togetherness? One cannot love and also wish to possess. They are orthogonal feelings. One loves by losing oneself, and one wishes to posses because of the self. Where one is, the other is not.
Having understood the design called “I” and twine of the pattern called “us”, understanding the tapestry of “them” is vital too. A relationship exists in a context, in a social setting. While one might be clear of oneself (or so one might think) and is aware of what they expect from a relationship, the sudden introduction of a variety of other and affecting relationships might only confuse things further. Take the case of a man who believed in the freedom of his woman, thought he understood himself well and entered wedlock with his lady-love. What became of them? When the lady was immensely focussed on her work and wasn’t around when the guy wanted her, he didn’t know how to react and didn’t understand the dialect of his relationship. He forbade her to work, there was a major disagreement, she quit her work and sat around whenever he wanted her to, but they couldn’t relate to each other. He might have defined his want from the relationship as a simple “I want her around me”.
Having said all this, I am still stumped by what people do with their relationships. Many things defy all logic or understanding. Possessiveness and jealousy are just some of the acrid venom in a relationship. Some bring in their ego and will not bother to talk or stay in touch with the person they once related to, but will still cling to the memorabilia of the yesterdays. Some people will always want reassurance no matter how often they had received them in the past. Some people will take the other for granted and never invest in the relationship although they expect everything to be normal and work as a well-oiled machinery. Still more do not accept that they are never in the relationship for what the relationship entails, but merely because they don’t want to be out of a relationship. The sordid wants of the human ego disallow realising a relationship in its purest form. And once a pure relationship is realised, the need for exclusivity, for self-propagation, for resisting, for suppressing and the fear of being lonely vanish into thin air. Before relating to anyone else, love yourself. If you can love yourself honestly and in all earnest, then throw your doors open. Well, you are right, there wouldn’t be any door!