Love is not an exclusive relationship; love is a quality and depth of being. Our outer relationships are a mirror of our basic inner relationship with ourselves. Relationships are a balance, a development and a dance between our male and female qualities. All people seek love, joy and harmony in their own way. We all want to be loved for who we are. We all want to be acknowledged and accepted for the unique individual we are. The problem in relationships arises when we seek our own center, our own source of love, in another person. We seek a source of love outside of ourselves.
The problem in relationships is that the other person also seeks after his own center, his own source of love, in the other person. In this way both persons will sooner or later feel disappointed and cheated, because of their expectation on the other person. It is first when we let go of the idea and expectation that the other person will give us the love that we do not have inside ourselves, that the base for a really loving, satisfying and meaningful relationship is possible. It is first when the relationship becomes a giving of love, instead of a taking of love, that the relationship becomes really nourishing and satisfying. As long as we look for the source of love outside of ourselves, we will eventually become disappointed and disillusioned.
It is first when we can relate from our inner being, from our inner center, from our inner source of love and truth, that relationships becomes really loving, creative and satisfying. It is first when we discover the source of love within ourselves, which is our true nature, that we can become really happy and satisfied. As long as we need another person to cover up our inner feeling of emptiness, to cover up our inner darkness and loneliness, the relationship will sooner or later end up in disappointment frustration and disillusioned expectations. It is first when we no longer need the other person to fill our inner emptiness, that we consciously can relate from our inner being, from the authentic self, from our overflowing inner source of love.
When relationships are based on the expectation that a partner should fill our inner emptiness, it is like offering an empty cup to our partner with the expectation that the partner should fill our empty cup – instead of overflowing from our inner being and filling our cup from within ourselves. The difference between acting out of our inner being, from our inner source of love, and acting out of our inner emptiness, is like the difference between acting out of light and darkness. I have noticed how much of my professional life – as a therapist and a course leader – that has been a way to fill my own inner emptiness and a way to receive love, acknowledgement and acceptance. I notice what a difference it is to be in contact with another person from a desire to get love from the other person or to be in contact with another person without any desire to receive anything from the other person.
When I can rest in my own inner source of love, it creates a joy and a relaxation in me. It also gives me the freedom to give others the space to be who they are in the moment. I have also learnt not to act when I am not in the light. I have learnt to wait to act until I am in the light again. I have noticed that when I can be in contact with myself – instead of reacting automatically and searching love outside of myself – I can witness my own inner feeling of emptiness, my own need of love from without myself. This awareness changes my need to look for love outside of myself and it makes my own inner source of love begin to flow from within myself. It is awareness and acceptance that allows me to be with myself and witness my own feeling of wanting love from without myself. It is like being with this feeling and embrace it like a mother embraces her child. This awareness and acceptance makes me come back to my own center, instead of seeking source of love from without myself. I also notice that the more I can accept both when am in the light and when I am in the dark, the more this awareness and acceptance makes more light than dark moments arise.
A key to relationships is to know the difference between when it is time to hold on and when it is time to let go. The criteria are the degree of joy and satisfaction that the relationship creates. If there is love and truth in the relationship, life will sustain the relationship by itself. If there are not love and truth in the relationship, it will change. Expectations are the basic problem in relationships. Expectations are ideas of I should be, how my partner should be and how the relationship should be. When the relationship does not fit with our preconceived ideas and expectations, we become disappointed.
When I told a beautiful woman who I had a relationship with that I loved her for the first time, she did not answer back that she also love me. Instead she was silent for a long time and then she said: “You are courageous to say that!” Her own truth was that she was not ripe at that moment to say that she also loved me. At that moment she was not ripe to take the commitment that it means to say to another human being that “I love you.” I had no expectation that she should say that she also love me. For me it was a giving without expecting anything in return. For me it was a way to overflow from my inner source of love and truth. Instead of asking if she loves me, it is simply more creative to ask myself if I love her. It is a sharing of my love – and then it is up to the other person what he or she wants to do with it. He or she does not have to do anything with it either.
What is the difference between the love pole and the freedom pole in relationships? Relationships are a balance between love and freedom, where often one partner chooses the freedom pole and the other partner chooses the love pole. The freedom pole means that the partner chooses his own freedom, independence and individuality before the relationship. The love pole means that the partner chooses love, to be together and the relationship. It is like the image that one partner is always trying to run away from the relationship, while the other partner is running after. Earlier I have almost always chosen the freedom pole in relationships, but in one of my latest relationships I found myself in the love pole as she continuously chose her own freedom and independence before the relationship. It did not bother me as I loved her and it was also a valuable meditation for me. But I could also see that if the relationship should be alive and develop, both partners need to have a basic commitment to the relationship. Both partners need to have a love for each other so that these two poles do not become a mechanical way of reacting. If there is love and truth in the relationship, life will sustain the relationship by itself. If there are not love and truth in the relationship, it will change.
Through learning to both be alone with ourselves and to relate in love with other people, we can easier appreciate and accept when life offers us periods of both love and aloneness. It also makes it easier to see when it is authentic to be alone with ourselves and when it is authentic to relate to other people. Some people cling to relationships to avoid meeting their own aloneness. Other people chose aloneness so that they do not have to relate with other people and risk being hurt or betrayed. Through learning to both be alone with ourselves and to relate with other people, it gives us a new freedom to relate to life. It gives us a new joy and freedom in both being happy and satisfied in our own aloneness and in relating with people in joy, acceptance, trust, friendship, humor, playfulness, understanding, compassion, silence, sincerity, freedom and a sense of oneness in love.