Understanding and Honoring Relationships – by Dudley Evenson
Our world in crisis. War, terrorism, violence, broken families, over population, crime, poverty, environmental degradation, epidemics. An overwhelming array of conditions yet each with a common cause. We go deeply enough into any of these issues and we see that the underlying crisis is the deterioration of our relationships – with ourselves and with the world around us. Our challenge and our solution is to look at these root causes and learn to change the way we relate to each other, to heal the very essence of the connective tissue which joins us together.
We already know a lot about relationships because we are involved in so many of them, however we often limit our thinking only to the spouse or significant other category and overlook the rest. Our lives are in fact rich with relationships occurring at many levels. Our initiation into the interconnected world of relativity begins with the very first sense we have as a baby of the nurturing relationship of our mother. The quality of this primary contact colors our worldview which extends outward to include the rest of our nuclear family, other relatives and friends who come into awareness. Over time, the field of our relationships grows to encompass a multitude of beings with their accumulated effects and influences.
As we mature, we become more aware of ourselves as individuals and are determined to define our own identity as separate and distinct from our immediate family. We may search for an understanding of our higher self, or long for a spiritual connection with the universe or God or however we perceive the infinite. Some of us even recognize our inherent nature as a soul in a body, made from the earth, sustained by the elements of earth itself, and very much in relationship to the planet as well.
The Native tribal people of this land have a saying that brings it all home. They usually end their prayers with the phrase that means “All my relations”. In so doing, they show their respect for the sacred circle of life: the unity of creation. For them, the sense of relations or relatives goes beyond the nuclear or even extended family to include all of life – the plants, the trees, two-leggeds, four-leggeds, winged ones and even the unseen ones and future generations. Their gentle prayer is a reminder of how very connected we all are. The album Native Healing reflects this wisdom that comes from these original earth people.
This same basic truth is mirrored in the teachings of many of the world’s religions, particularly the Eastern traditions. Fritjof Capra states clearly in his landmark book, The Tao of Physics, that the essence of these philosophies is “the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena in the world as manifestations of a basic oneness. All things are seen as interdependent and inseparable parts of this cosmic whole.” Even the Christian world view supports this concept as reflected in Jesus’ statement, “I am in you and you are in me… I and the Father are One.”
Now we are seeing these ideas supported by modern quantum physics. At atomic and subatomic levels, scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the interconnectedness of all nature, that the basic constituents of matter cannot be understood as isolated entities but must be considered as interrelated parts of whole systems. In Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra states that “despite the appearance of being separate individuals, we are all connected to patterns of intelligence governing the cosmos.” He reminds us that we and our environment are one and in a very real sense our environment is actually our extended body.
How can this awareness of cosmic oneness aid us in improving the very real relationships we deal with on a daily basis? How can our sense of unity with all life help us to create harmonious relationships with our friends and co-inhabitants of this planet, with the very earth itself, with the greater universe and even with ourselves?
Let’s begin with ourselves, the center of our personal universe. It is here that all our individualized thoughts begin. Here, our beingness resides. Here is the source of our actions. How are we doing? Are we peaceful? Do we treat our fellow beings with love and respect? Do we even love and respect ourselves? We know the concept “Love your neighbor as yourself” but do we truly love ourselves? Do we forgive ourselves for whatever we think we have done wrong? Wrong. Right. Should we even be dealing with such polarities? How are we feeling? Yes, there are a lot of questions here, but this is the place to begin the healing of all our relations. The good news is, this is the place where we have maximum control and power to influence the state of affairs.
This individualized self is the place where we can experience the fulfillment of our purpose if we could only let go of all the “stuff” that keeps repeating itself in our minds. You know, the proverbial tape loops that we have allowed ourselves to be programmed with over the years. It is important to listen carefully to those messages we are giving to ourselves because they are creating the very way that we are choosing to experience life, our own perception of the universe. We observe the quality of the relationship with ourselves by listening to our own inner conversation. The question becomes, how are we treating that inner self and how can we best nurture that self.
Inner peace. One proven method is to learn to stop the unsupportive inner chatter. Mystical religious experiences have always involved clearing and quieting the mind in order to hear the higher self or universal mind. In the Old Testament story, Elijah went searching for the voice of God. He listened in the storm and tempest and mighty sounds of nature but only when he sought the quiet of his own mind was he able to hear the “still small voice of God”. Each of us can seek out that spiritual cave and give ourselves time each day to get in touch with our own inner peace. Imagine if we all took a moment to be in the silence what a peaceful world we could create together. We need to use whatever tools are available to help us reach this state of inner clarity. The album Meditation Moods is designed to create a peaceful space for quiet contemplation.
(stay tuned for Part 2 of All Our Relations)
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