For a while now I’ve been contemplating my relationships to other people. It’s both a deep and wide sort of thing to explore. Who do I connect with? How does that connection occur, and evolve? Why do I make a connection? What does such a connection mean?
I don’t have any ready pithy answers for you. My connections to others are varied in a myriad of ways.
They do all have one thing in common: me.
There’s a Lao-tzu quote I’m rather fond of which is front and center in this particular contemplation:
It is damn hard to understand what you feel and why you feel it. I’m often very tough on myself in any number of ways, including relationships.
I often stumble into a binary of being in the right or wrong in my relationships. Am I being a good partner, husband, friend, employee, business owner?
But it’s not that simple. And part of that is that I have to consider myself.
That can be challenging. Plus, ultimately, I have to do that considering by myself. It comes from me, and it’s for me.
There’s this particular scene in The Matrix that speaks to this process and its value.
Today that scene is very much on my mind. The way the Oracle describes Neo’s knowing he’s the One is a kind of mindfulness. She says it’s like being in love.
I know my love for others from experience of it . That means I know what it’s like to love vs to be in love. They’re very different things. And it means that when it comes to relationships, there aren’t any hard and fast rules, no black and white hats.
That’s a very helpful thing to realize.
Compassion for the self is challenging but worthwhile.