All physical relationships are about ‘give and take’.
Whether its parents and children or husband and wife or siblings or friends or lovers or teacher and student or Church and believer or society / city / country and individual / citizen, there is a mutual give and take involved. This give and take could be physical /material or emotional or spiritual.
As long as the mutual give and take continues to be balanced, i.e., we get what we feel we deservein view of what we are putting into the relationship, the relationship flourishes. As soon we start thinking there is an imbalance between our ‘give’ and our ‘take’, things start going down-hill.
Then comes a time when, if matters are not, or cannot be, sorted out, all or one of the parties starts moving away. They’ve had their fill and now its time to move on to so-called ‘greener pastures’, other more nourishing relationships. It is natural. At different ages, we have different needs. No single person or thing can fulfil all of our life’s needs.
A child who has grown up starts spending more time out of the house and finally vanishes.
A couple starts spending more of alone time than together time.
Lovers start finding each other less interesting than before and start moving away.
A son or daughter has his / her own family and cannot give the same amount of time to parents.
One of the friends acquires a new set of friends and cannot find time for the older friends.
A Church-goer finds another place for spiritual development.
Most of us have experienced at least one or more of these situations. There is disappointment or a heart gets heavy or broken. Eyes get tearful. We long for that time again when things were so beautiful. The past continues to have its hold on us. We keep living in the hope that things will get better.
This hope seems better than facing the truth.
Even when we know that something has already died, we continue to hold on to the dead body of the relationship, unable to let go of it, unable to bury it. The attachment is too strong. And the fear of what we will do in the absence of the dead body is too strong. We cling to it for our life, praying that things will be back to normal.
We, human beings, are collectors and hoarders. We hate letting go of things and people. Why? Fear of death. We think this life is the only life we have and once we die then that’s it. This fear makes us want to become bigger and stronger and to have a longer life and ‘leave behind a legacy’ and to find eternal life in the hereafter. That is the whole game. That is the reason for having all the attachments. And the reason for being unable to let go.
Relationships are part of this whole scheme. We think that these relationships will make us stronger and will keep us alive even after death, i.e., leaving behind a good reputation and our kids and our legacy. Even when these relationships have started drying up, we hold on to them. Empty shells of relationships.
If we take a good look at our lives, we will find a lot of such empty relationship shells around us. We hold on to these relationships because of past emotional remembrances and imprints. We still feel the memory of a warmth that is long gone. There is now just that memory, which is an image. That image seems to be alive and creates the illusion of a living, growing relationship. Actually, its not.
From a deeper and more spiritual point of view, the most important relationship we have is with ourselves and that is the one we neglect most. We do not spend any time trying to understand ourself, to look at ourself. We spend time looking at others, trying to understand others. The only true parent, the only true friend, the only true lover, the only true beloved is inside. If we have not discovered it yet, then we have not understood anything in depth. Our understanding, whether about everyday life or whether scientific, philosophical, academic or scholarly, is superficial, skin deep. We are utterly lost and confused and that confusion makes us run around trying to find the ideal relationship outside. And we never do find that. The relationships that we do find outside are all fake, all illusions. But they feel real because we haven’t dug deep enough as yet. We find fake relationships and, in our desperation, we get attached to them. And the attachment is such that it becomes impossible even to think of letting go of them.
There is an old mystical tale of a beggar who used to sit outside a small town, asking for money from everyone entering or leaving the town. He did that all his life. When he died, the people of the town came to gather all of his stuff and to clean up the place. In the process of cleaning up, they dug up the whole area where he used to sit and they found a huge treasure. The beggar spent decades begging for money, not knowing that he was sitting on top of the huge treasure.
This tale is about discovering the inner treasure that we sit on top of. We spend our whole lives seeking for fulfilment from outside when the only real fulfilment is already inside.