Leela writes that life is not just about being with the other. It is about finding your inner being.
Intimate relationships, whether in marriage or not, reveal to us many of the major challenges in life. They push us against the wall, demanding we see our neediness, our fears, our wanting to control and possess. We try every trick in the book to get the other to be according to how we think they should be, so that we feel safe, loved, appreciated, and so on.
Presently we seem to be in an enormous transition of how we should relate, because the old standard practice from the past is over. Boy meets girl, they date, fall in love, get married and have children. Husband goes to work to earn money while wife stays home and takes care of children, home and husband. That framework has been going on for hundreds of years but it is now falling apart as we are in search for a more free, intelligent and aware format that will allow us to be together without all the baggage that we bring from our past.
This is no small task however, as it requires such a high degree of attention when relating with another that it is like being in a personal growth process 24/7. There are exceptions of course for those who just do get on really well and don’t have to suffer such intense ups and downs and ins and outs of what most couples go through.
One of the big problems is that when we get together with someone, a number of not-so-subtle beliefs begin to run as an undercurrent in our minds. For instance, ‘this person belongs to me’. A possession born out of our fear of being alone and the old framework of ‘till death do us part’ still functions in the collective unconscious.
We want commitment, someone to stay the course and yet, in the back of our mind is the knowing that love is not something that can be possessed. In fact it will kill love and friendship; love cannot thrive in fear.
Men and women do function differently and acknowledging that can bring greater understanding. So many of us who have been with Osho have been given a multitude of insights into the art of relating and yet many still struggle and suffer because of their expectations of the other.
What I often suggest to people who come to me for couple counselling is that they need to be friends. They should enjoy life together as friends would. That prevents the ‘taking for granted’ attitude that dulls so many couples. Be creative together, do things together as friends would. Care for each other as dear friends would rather than feeling duty bound.
Very importantly, take space on your own and always feel that you can move apart for some time without guilt or blame. We absolutely need to have time to come back to ourselves to feel again who we are ‘without’ the other.
Independence is freedom and without it a relationship will die. We need to be courageous and speak from the heart. Work on having honest and clear communications with each other. Express what you feel, not reciting a litany of how the other is not fulfilling your needs.
Hold the understanding that both of you are always ready to work out the blocks and fears so that greater compassion for yourself and your partner can arise.
Look deeply into eyes of your beloved and see the long journey he or she has been on, the difficulties and pain they have had to endure. We all have frailties and are not perfect in the journey of life. It is through all the so-called imperfections and feelings of our limitations that we grow in love and wisdom.
As with a dear friend, make sure you learn to laugh together. Laughter and a good sense of humour are vital in a healthy relationship. Seriousness, complaining and dissatisfaction indicate too much mind and unawareness.
Be creative and have fun. Too many couples just go through the motions of being together day in and day out and have no idea that relationships require creativity and freshness continuously. Do not bore each other to death!
Sexuality does change over time. It doesn’t stay hot and excited forever. Doing a Tantra group often helps lovers to become more deeply intimate energetically and that can raise love and tenderness to a new level. I often recommend more general physical contact to keep the sweetness. Taking time to hug each other in the course of the day connects the energy and allows you both to feel loving. Be a little romantic, for instance swim in the ocean together on a full moon night…
If you have children, make sure you take time out for yourself and time for you and your partner to connect.
Your relationship needs to have an underlying understanding that sharing a life together may not last forever. We really have no idea what each day will bring and sometimes we journey together for some time and then our roads begin to go in different directions. There is no guarantee and so each day is precious and the future simply unknown.
A mature relationship will also allow for the possibility of what Osho calls an occasional “cup of tea.” That means that on occasion one partner may have a sexual encounter with someone else. This does not necessarily mean your relationship is on the rocks. While married to my husband, we were at times in different countries and on a few occasions he or I would spend a night with someone else. For me it was something that can just happen and I did not find it to be a threat; it was simply a new experience. Yet that is not to say that if either of you is having an ongoing story with someone else that we should be OK with it.
For deepening in to yourself and love, we have to bring in our inner dimension – our being. This is the absolute essential for being grounded in awareness. It is the inner journey that we should give our urgency to. Whether in relationships or not, we need to make time for meditation and reflection.
Life is not just about being with the other. It is about finding your inner being. Two people living together will have the most rewarding relationship if they both meditate and seek a greater awareness for themselves.
Ultimately we are alone even when we are together with another.
Prem Leela was born in South Africa and took sannyas in 1973; in Pune 1 she worked in the press office, while in Rajneeshpuram she was running the Welding Shop, part of RBG. It was in Pune 2 that Osho asked her to start conducting the Mystic Rose Group by giving her a few suggestions, which she then further developed into its present concept. When she is not abroad conducting workshops, she lives in Australia. mysticrosemeditation.com