I see that we are all One, but also that we are separate, existing as individuals on this planet, where each of us is an integral part, making up the Whole. As such, I see that each of us is important and gives something unique to the totality of our existence. We are all needed and we all have something special to offer. I see that each individual exists on their path within their own growing process. Given this, we are also each at a different stage in our journey where the conditions around us are set up perfectly for us to continue to grow. Being growing individuals we can know that the way that we perceive our lives and things around us is continuously changing as we change. The environment that we are within is also changing outside and thus it continuously triggers new reactions inside of us. These reactions inside of us, which consist primarily of thoughts and feelings, are given meaning by us to put the happening into something we can understand. This meaning for us is individual, and it is given a tangible definition by us, according to our past or what we have experienced so far up to this moment in our lives.
A very important part of our relationship experience is learning about our reactions and how we can creatively deal with them. To be able to deal with one’s reactions, the first step is that one can’t personally identify with them and one must be willing to take a close look at them to see what we might need to change about ourselves. To be personally identified with a reaction, means that one believes that one’s reaction is truth. Because of this belief, then it often happens that the personality will arise and try to gain confirmation in some way to convince oneself of one’s truth. Often it will be the case that one’s thoughts about a happening will have a small grain of truth inside of it, which makes that ‘our personality’ can easily be fooled into thinking that all we are telling ourselves about a happening is in fact true. However, this is hardly ever the actuality, that one’s reaction or one’s way of seeing things is truth. If we look again and see that we are changing, then we know our reactions are changing, and thus where can ‘truth’ be found in such a momentary happening? What we need to keep foremost in mind in order to deal creatively with our reactions is that our reaction is merely a reflection coming out of our current state of being. Keeping this in mind, then we can gain some distance from how we ‘saw’ things, and be willing to look at it from different angles.
To live and work together it is necessary that we not only learn how to deal with our individual reactions but also those reactions that come up for us, which have to do with the actions of other people that we are living or working with. Being human beings, what we can know that is common to all of us, is that we all have our individual desires, needs, expectations, etc. In relationships we come together to work towards the common intention of the group, yet also we hope that we can fulfill our individual needs within that context. This is where things get difficult, because often it happens that the actions of one or more others can cause a conflict within us having to do with the feeling that our individual needs are somehow not being met or even being thwarted by others. In essence there is a conflict.
It is imperative for our relationships that we learn how to creatively deal with these conflicts that arise between people. The same can be said about one-to-one relationships, however these are somewhat easier in that there is a close bond that brings significant others together, where in our larger community we have to learn how to resolve conflicting interests with multiple individuals whom we don’t have close relationship with. What happens in all relationships is that there will continuously arise ‘issues’ with each other, which result because of the growing process that all individuals are involved in. Our viewpoints change as we change, the world outside is changing – it is our constant challenge to adapt ourselves and change to the outside changing conditions. Thus the reality is that people have issues with each other, but often it is the case that the issue is not dealt with in a timely manner, if at all, and then what results is mounting tension between the people with issues. For humanity to survive, not only is it important that we learn how to creatively deal with our inner relationship with ourselves, but also we must learn how to creatively deal with our relationships with others. An issue between people often results when each is holding onto their grain of truth of their ‘rightness’ in a happening or situation, and then over time, elaborating the story based on their grain of truth, becoming more convinced that their point of view is the correct one and that the other is at fault or is causing continued infringements or aggravations to them. As long as these issues are not confronted and not discussed with the involved parties, then the unresolved issue will still exist under the surface – unexpressed – then this unresolved tension will enlarge, having the result that ‘more issues’ are piled on top of the first one, eventually causing such a wide rift between the people that the possibility of ever coming to reconciliation will be hopeless. This is what we see happen in so many relationships these days, where hardly ever the couple can work out their differences and it ends in divorce.
I think one of the most important things that must be done in all relationships is to deal with the issue in a timely manner. If we don’t, then unresolved tension and misunderstandings can cause further harm, pain and more ‘issues’ for everyone involved. Not a good way to live, to exist with such turmoil inside! I think it can help us do this step if we remember that primarily ‘our issues’ are coming out of our personal viewpoint, which has to do with our past history, and are being provoked from happenings. Seeing their ephemeral nature, we might see that what might be an issue for us today, often won’t be an issue for us months later, as we are also changing. The most important value of an ‘issue’ is that it’s our momentary reaction.
The most effective method of dealing with issues as they arise is through dialog. As an ‘issue’ is very much attached to the personal viewpoint, then when we hear an issue of another person, we should see clearly that this is primarily an ‘issue’ for that person. Because it is the personal viewpoint of the other person, which has to do with their history, we can know that often it won’t have very much to do with us personally. Remembering this is important, because then we can be more relaxed and be able to simply ‘hear the other person’ without feeling the need to defend our own position, if they might express something that doesn’t confirm us or they feel that we might be the obstacle that is preventing them from fulfilling their individual needs.
Probably within many ‘issues’ that are brought up, there will be found one small grain of truth that is in actuality ‘our part’ of their issue, which triggered the reaction in them. If we are interested in changing ourselves for the good of the whole, then we should be on the lookout for seeing what might be our actual part in the issue of the other. In dialogs of this nature it will be quite challenging for us to stay relaxed, and simply to be willing to listen attentively to the other to hear them without automatically responding to defend ourselves. Living in the world, we must realize that it is a multiple person relationship, and for any relationship to survive there must be give and take. This means that when issues arise regarding one’s own behavior coming from other people, then we need to look near and see what might in actuality be our part in it, so that we can see what we might need to change about ourselves to benefit the relationship. By going into dialog about issues, it is very likely that a creative result will be that the issue dissolves without anybody having to take further action or make any changes. This is because of the nature of an ‘issue’ – issues are separated personal viewpoints being held and maintained by individuals, and are kept alive primarily because the parties haven’t come together to find out each other’s viewpoints about the happening. Often, after it is thoroughly discussed and both parties understand the other’s point of view, this is enough to dissolve the issue.
Then there might exist a new possibility – that of getting a warm hug of reconciliation afterwards.