Meaningful Spiritual Relationships — Namaste Matters

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What is a “spiritual” relationship?

When I think of a spiritual relationship, I’m not thinking of someone who simply goes to the same church.

I’m not thinking of someone who simply shares some of the same ideas.

To me, a spiritual relationship exists between any two people who recognize and acknowledge that deep inside, we are the same.

Behind the faces, beyond the reach of social conditioning, deeper than individual egos, we are identical. We are presence, consciousness, pure knowingness – the awareness of “I am.”

We are life itself. The fact that we have the ability to recognize who we are as the singular “I am” makes us unique among all other life forms . . . as far as we know.

“I am not ashamed to confess that I am ignorant of what I do not know.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

We are sentient beings, which means we have sensory organs that allow us to perceive and feel the outside world. And we are sapient beings, which refers to consciousness, knowledge and appreciation. Whenever we recognize these same aspects in another, we have an opportunity for a meaningful, spiritual relationship.

Namaste

In the East, there is a word that refers to the recognition of the common divinity within: namaste. It is a greeting and a good-bye, usually accompanied by hands pressed together and a slight bow. The significance of the two palms touching is the combining of the higher, spiritual nature with the worldly self. In combination with the bow, the intention of the person making the namaste gesture is to rise above differences and connect at the place where we are the same.

There are several good ways to express this idea of namaste. Here are a few of my favorites, found on wikipedia.com:

· I salute the God within you.
· I honor the spirit in you, which is also in me.
· The divine light in me salutes the divine light in you.
· I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells,
I honor the place in you, which is Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace,
When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.

So, when I think of a meaningful spiritual relationship, I think of this kind of connection. I’d like to be able to say that I enter into all my relationships from this profound point of singularity but the truth is, I’m still learning. Understanding is one thing, but incorporating the understanding into action in everyday life is something else.

All too often, I catch myself interacting with someone I just met as if she is “just the waitress” or he is “someone else’s friend” or she is from that “other part of the family.” I try not to be so quick to judge.

Beyond First Impressions

Although first impressions can provide us with important insight when we meet someone new, it doesn’t give us the whole story. I have met people who initially wowed me with personality and charisma, but upon getting to know them better, they turned out to be the kind of person whom I wouldn’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time with. On the other hand, I’ve met people who were so reserved and under-spoken, they barely make any kind of impression at all, initially. Later, layers upon layers of depth become apparent and their company turns out to be enjoyable and rewarding.

So, I try to glean whatever I can from my first impressions while reminding myself that we are cut from the same cloth, regardless of the apparent differences.

This attitude is especially helpful when traveling in other countries, immersed in unfamiliar cultures. In this situation, I have found that a willingness to stay open and focus on what we have in common is a big help in interacting with the locals. People all over the world respond to a genuine attempt at interaction, even when there are language barriers. It’s beyond treating people as equals — it’s more like interacting as if the people you meet are a part of yourself.

Inspiring Examples of Namaste in Action

For me, this attitude of namaste is a work in progress — not something I have always done naturally. Fortunately, there are people in my life who inspire me by their example. My wife, Janey, has always had the knack of treating everyone she meets just like her best friend. She has never met a stranger, and her genuine, friendly manner puts everyone at ease.

Her gift is her ability to make the other person feel special and important. Since Janey approaches any new relationship in a wide-open manner, with no egotistical self-importance, she makes friends fast . . . and she makes fast friends.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle (384-322 BC)

I’ve heard her say that she approaches everyone with trust. She assumes she will be interacting with the very best side of everyone she meets and reaches out with her wide-open, trusting style. She gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assumes the best unless they demonstrate otherwise.

“The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Another master of personal relationships is our long-time friend, David Ruthstrom. Like Janey and I, he is also a professional musician and singer. When talking with David, he has the uncanny ability to make you feel like you are the most important person in the world. He listens closely and is quick to let you in on how he feels. He feels deeply and his willingness to share his feelings makes for a quick and powerful connection. He accomplishes this through his music, as well as through his “off-stage” presence.

“There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” and those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are.” – Frederick L. Collins

After years of watching David and Janey in action, it’s clear that they have internalized the spirit of namaste and approach other people from that internal point of commonality, familiarity and unity.

“The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.” – Joan Baez (b. 1941)

Mutual Namaste

When the other person also approaches relationships with this “we-are-all-one” viewpoint, it’s wonderful. It’s easy to be friends. There’s nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Instead, there is so much to share and compare.

In my experience, people like this are relatively few, but I’ve found that my vibrational preference can attract them. I have found more and more people like this simply by being open to the possibility and by extending the namaste vibe first. It doesn’t have to be the formal gesture and bow — it can all be done internally just through intention and attitude. It’s like a silent prayer of goodwill from the spirit in you to the spirit in them.

“When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him. You lift the relationship thereby to a higher level. The best in the other person begins to flow out toward you as your best flows toward him. In the meeting of the best in each a higher unity of understanding is established.” – Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)

I suspect that there are many who are aware of the inner presence we share, and like me, sometimes forget to extend it. When you extend it first, many people recognize it immediately and respond in kind.

Apparent One-Sided Namaste

It’s easy when the other person shares the same attitude. But in the “real” world, most of the people you meet don’t see you in that way. Instead they see you as “just” the waitress, or somebody else’s friend. Or that guy from the other side of the family.

The knee-jerk reaction is to fall into the role they are projecting and start acting like the person they think you are. Just because they mistake what you do for who you are is no reason for you to be knocked off center.

“We control fifty percent of a relationship. We influence one hundred percent of it.” – Barbara Colorose

When meeting anyone for the first time, remind yourself that deep inside, you are both the same, and just because they may have forgotten is no reason for you to forget also. Maintain your viewpoint of singularity and regard them with all the honor and respect they deserve, and you will likely see their ego soften and their memory begin to remind them of who they really are. This viewpoint of singularity is contagious, and if you are well grounded in it — irresistible.

Fear-Based Relationships

Our cultural conditioning does a thorough job of training us to approach new relationships with caution, trepidation and fear.

“Never talk to strangers.”
“Don’t trust anyone you don’t know.”

These ideas are drilled into us from an early age. Why?

It’s natural for parents to be protective, but in the long run, do these ideas protect us or spoil our potential for spontaneous, deep and meaningful relationships?

Do you think we would have the same attitude regarding meeting new people if we weren’t so indoctrinated by the media? If we had not witnessed thousands and thousands of acts of deceit, treachery and murder on our TVs, do you think we would feel the same in our attitudes about personal relationships? (See previous article, “The Trouble with TV.”)

“Hollywood grew to be the most flourishing factory of popular mythology since the Greeks.” – (Alfred) “Alistair” Cooke (b. 1908)

Are We Choosing How We Interact, or Settling for the Default Mindset?

It’s important to recognize from where our attitudes originate and then decide deliberately if they are serving us . . . or not.

If you had only your own personal experiences to help you form the basis for your attitude about other people, how would that affect your style of interacting with others?

Sure, all those nasty scenes so lavishly portrayed by Hollywood actually happen to real people, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Are those rare and isolated events enough to dictate your approach to all the new people you meet?

For many, the answer is obviously, “yes,” but this is seldom a conscious choice. Instead, it is a result of conditioning. People regard one another with suspicion because everyone else seems to act that way.

Thirty years of seeing Janey in action has convinced me that her way of granting everyone the benefit of the doubt is healthier, happier and more empowering.

“There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

(See previous article, “10 Ways to Grow a Relationship of Mutual Personal Development“)

Hard Cases

Everyone has people in their lives who don’t seem to fit. Their attitudes, belief systems and personalities don’t match up with yours. You could try to change them. You could resign yourself to putting up with them. You could try to change your ideas about them. Or, you could just walk away.

Is the relationship serving you both? Is it helping you both to become the best you can be? Do you both feel free to be yourselves without feeling like you’re stepping on each other’s toes?

If not, it’s okay to let the relationship evolve. In some cases, the natural evolution of a relationship is to allow it to come to an end. Just because it may have served you once doesn’t mean it has to continue forever. People change. Belief systems morph over time.

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?” – Douglas Noel Adams (b. 1952)

Even if we are all the same consciousness at our deepest level, our outer manifestation and our current understanding of ourselves is diverse. Outwardly, we are so different in so many ways, it would be amazing if we changed together in the same directions, and at the same rate. What are the odds?

“That’s the risk you take if you change: that people you’ve been involved with won’t like the new you. But other people who do will come along.” – Lisa Alther

As our interests change, our priorities shift, and our diverging belief systems have a way of driving us apart. If you are able to continue to share that “sameness” deep inside, and from there, marvel at the incredible complexities and diversity of life, that is a special relationship — one that will likely continue for the rest of your lives.

“The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is sort of a Divine accident.” – Horace Walpole (1717-97)

On the other hand, if all those outer differences only get in the way of your ability to share the sameness deep inside, that relationship may have run its course. It may be the kind of relationship that takes a lot of work. You may have to constantly nurture it for it to continue. Perhaps you are holding on too tight. If it drains energy from you rather than infusing you both with energy and enthusiasm, what’s the point?

“Relationships–of all kinds–are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.” – Kaleel Jamison

The difficulty of maintaining a struggling relationship could be nature’s way of telling you it’s time to let go and move on. Allow the relationship to do whatever feels best — take a break for a while, or simply let it dissolve naturally.

“If a relationship is to evolve, it must go through a series of endings.” – Lisa Moriyama

“Give me a low maintenance relationship,
One that carries on from right where you left it.
Don’t fuss about it, no need to nurture,
It‘s a low maintenance relationship.
- from the song, “Low Maintenance Relationship” by Tupelo Kenyon

What if . . . we are all different manifestations of the same one?

What if . . . our separation is just an illusion?

What if . . .
others you meet are waiting to be recognized as the same presence of “I am” that resides in you?

What if . . . we really understood the realization behind the word namaste . . . and lived our lives as if it were true?

What if . . . more and more people started regarding one another with the quality of kindness, respect and awe that such a realization deserves?

What if . . . this recognition of one another caught on and began to spread worldwide?

Would it be easier to make friends?

Would we be less fearful of one another?

Would we be able to make such a big fuss over our differences, knowing our profound commonality?

Would it be more difficult for people in power to brainwash the masses about who our enemies should be?

Would it even be possible for the war-mongers to whip us into a frenzy, and convince us to go to war with our fellow man?

Would we be willing to allow our children to be trained to kill?

These are big questions and they are all based upon our understanding of relationships and what we believe about them. Remember, beliefs are simply thoughts we have grown accustomed to thinking over a period of time. (See previous article, “Belief Systems vs. Knowing“).

“A belief is not true because it is useful.” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-81)

Beliefs can change when they no longer serve us. Would a belief in the unity expressed by the namaste greeting make it easier to build meaningful spiritual relationships?

Would it make a difference in your life?

Would it make a difference in the world?

Namaste.

While reading, did you choose to hear the relaxing instrumental music linked at the beginning of this article? To learn more about it, click here.

Listen FREE to the songs below . . . chosen to enhance the ideas in this article.

Related Songs
Low Maintenance Relationship

Life seems to be all about relationships . . . to our friends, families, lovers, and to our creator. There’s always room for improvement.

http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescX.html#Anchor7

Love is Who You Are

“What is love, anyway?” Is it something you give or get, have or make? Or could it be, down deep, simply who we are?

http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescHB.html#Anchor1

What Would Love Do Now

It’s tough to remember to ask yourself this question in the heat of the moment, but it can pay big dividends.

http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescHere.html#Anchor10

Colours of the Rainbow

Sometimes, the right combination of husband and wife equals much more than merely one plus one.

http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescAnth.html#Anchor8

Songs by Tupelo

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This is the end of the article entitled Meaningful Spiritual Relationships — Namaste Matters published by Tupelo Kenyon on June 15, 2007 at 6:00 am | In Awareness, Belief Systems, Communication, Integrity, Relationships, Self-Image - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved worldwide.

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