“Fill yourself with utmost emptiness. Embrace internal tranquility. The ten thousand things, see how they arise and flow around you, each one coming into being, growing, adapting, changing, fulfilling, then returning to the source as you sit in stillness in the center, watching.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching verse 20.
This verse in the Tao Te Ching makes me think about how in our world today, we are facing many confusing and conflicting ideas, agendas and ideologies. There are also many changes taking place in how we view ourselves and relate with one another. They can be very disconcerting to say the least, when you try to make sense of it all. I do think as intelligent beings we should always do our best to better understand one another, and create a peaceful coexistence with all those with whom we share this planet. We do not necessarily all need to agree on everything, which is highly unlikely to ever occur any time soon. We do however need to find ways to both understand and accept each other in order to create more peaceful and happy lives. I have some ideas I hope will help with accomplishing this.
Many times in my life when I have been suffering greatly, the kindness and compassion of others has lifted my spirit, and helped me endure the hardships at hand. On one particular occasion I was moving to a new State 1300 miles away from my old home, due to a very unsafe domestic situation. I was driving with two of my children, across the Country in an old pick up truck that barely ran! It smoked like crazy, and was burning a quart of oil every 40 to 50 miles!
It was very late at night, and we were crossing the desert near Deming, NM. I pulled over at an old abandoned tourist stop, to take a look at the engine, as it was smoking really badly! When out of nowhere it seemed, a Sheriff deputy pulled over to see how we were doing. He said the area was unsafe, and looked at the smoking engine with me. He told me about a truck stop about 20 miles away, where I could get help. He was very kind to my kids and I. He gave us some food and water as well. I asked if he could follow us, but he said “no, he had to go another way, but that we would make it to the truck stop okay.” I got in the truck to drive off, and looked around to see where he had gone. He had simply vanished, as mysteriously as he arrived. I asked my kids if they saw where he went? They had not. I have often wondered if he may have been an angel God sent to help us that night?
Today as I was washing my dishes, I consciously focused on mind-fully washing each dish. I noticed how pleasant the warm water was, and how nice each dish looked and felt as it became clean. I found as I mindfully washed each dish, it felt happy and peaceful inside. Yes, mindfulness can make mundane chores much more pleasant I enjoyed the process so much I plan to continue practicing with other things as well, like sweeping and moping floors, and all my other chores. They need to be done, so if I can find peace and enjoyment by practicing mindfulness while working, all the better!
I invite you to try as well, and let me know if your practice makes your duties more peaceful and enjoyable as well. Life does not need to be lived in a hurry. It is meant to be more like a leisurely stroll through a beautiful garden, where you get to stop and enjoy the sights, and smell the flowers and sit and listen to birds and crickets singing.
“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Be one with the Tao. Act without forcing. Teach by showing. Things come, let them come. Things go, let them go. Give birth without possessing…” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I have been going through some transitions in my life lately, which have been a little hard for me emotionally. My kids are moving on with their own lives, as they should naturally do. I am happy for them, but I feel sad at the same time as we have turned some corners here in our relationships, as we each go on with our separate lives, and I am trying to learn the skill of letting go. It is harder than it sounds, but I am working on it. It is definitely a “work in progress” but isn’t everything we do a “work in progress?” I take comfort in knowing that “nature never hurries, but accomplishes all things in due time.” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Have you ever wondered while walking along a beach what unusual things you may find? Perhaps even a message in a bottle from long ago. While that would be pretty awesome, have you ever stopped to consider that you are “a message in a bottle” to everyone you know? Well we each are a living message to everyone around us. The real question is, what are we saying in this message?
We all spend a great deal of our time each day at work. If your work is anything like mine, you have days at work when one or more co-workers or customers can be very challenging to deal with. I recently had a chance to put some mindfulness skills to the test at work. Thankfully it was helpful for me in dealing with a difficult co-worker. I have found that using the principles of mindfulness, can help handle many situations at work and home with composure and skill.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
While I am not a Physician or Mental Health Care Practitioner, I have studied this subject carefully in my own quest for happiness, and in my own search for the best person to create a life with. I have also carefully observed the actions, decisions and resulting consequences of the decisions that other people have made. This post is based on my observations and learnings, along with others who I have discussed this topic with at length. I have also personally experienced several very dysfunctional relationships, followed by the amazing and happy relationship that I have now. Contemplating the differences between these experiences has added to my understanding as well. Sometimes when comparing our thoughts and ideas we can gain new insights for our lives. With this in mind, I hope my observations will be helpful to you in your own search for happiness.
We are all very amazing and complex beings. We have the innate ability to create or manifest the experiences we need for our growth and development as multidimensional beings. We also consist of many layers or levels within our personal phaneron. We have our physical being, with all our mental formations or thoughts, along with a variety of feelings, which contribute to our emotional experiences. In addition to these we have our spiritual self, which includes our deepest beliefs about ourselves, others and life itself. Our spiritual self contemplates the deeper meanings of life, like why we are here, and what is the purpose of life? Our religious or spiritual beliefs also are within our spiritual self.
Part of this deeper longing for a meaningful happy life is what drives our desire to connect deeply and meaningfully with another person to form a lasting bond. We naturally seek a co-creator, to join with us to form and create a new shared dream of our reality. Together we co-create our relationship, our life experiences, and possibly new little beings to join with us in our story; as it flows like a river throughout our lives.
From my studies and observations I have observed 7 major points or levels that need to be present and have functional connections between us, for our relationships to properly flourish. I am sure there are more as well, but these are the main ones I have observed that need to be present in a good relationship. There are also many other interpretations and ideas that can help create a balanced relationship. These are simply my observations from my experiences and those of others I know.
Once you have found that person with whom you want to co-create a happy and meaningful life, you can begin building connections with each other in each of these seven points. I believe doing this can greatly enhance the quality of your relationship together.
7 Connection Points for Creating a Happy Relationship
Physical Attraction & Sexual Compatibility.
Security and Survivability.
Enjoyment of Life
Loving and Caring for Each Other.
Communication – Ability to Communicate your thoughts with each other.
Contemplation – Thinking and Learning from Each Other
Physical Attraction & Sexual Compatibility
The level of physical attraction and sexual compatibility you have with your partner is extremely important for the longevity of the relationship, and the ability to connect on the other 6 points. When you are first meeting and getting to know each other this is the first point most people connect on. It is the foundation for everything else to be built on.
Security and Survivability
The need for safety, security and trust is extremely important in any relationship. In the beginning of the relationship you will be watching for clues as to the ability of this person to be trusted. You will conscious of how safe or secure you feel with them, along with how much you enjoy being with them. Another factor here is how are they with handling money and making important decisions? This is very important for your future security and financial needs.
Enjoyment of Life
Early in a relationship part of what draws you in and makes think about staying with this person is how much fun you have together. When you are dating it should be fun for both of you. Look for ways to enjoy life together and connect through fun experiences, laughter and creating great memories of your time together. In a permanent relationship it is important to keep doing this, so you can fall in love with each other over and over again, as infatuation only lasts anywhere from 9 to 18 months. This all leads to the next point, Love.
Loving and Caring for Each Other
The next step in this progression of connecting with each other, to create a happy life long relationship together is falling in love. This is a wonderful and highly emotional experience. To flourish it needs the foundation of the physical/sexual attraction, along with the security and survivability, followed by a mutual sense of enjoyment of life together. If all these connections are present falling in love with each other can be a reality here. Love is the greatest experience we create together. As the Sufi mystic and poet Rumi said, “When I am with you, we stay up all night. When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep. Praise God for those two insomnias! And the difference between them.”
Within all relationships this point is vital. If we cannot clearly and honestly communicate our thoughts, feelings and needs with each other, the relationship will suffer. To do this effectively we need to understand each other’s “love languages.” Different things make each person feel loved and cherished, along with respected and valued. It is so important to be able to do this effectively I will seek to do a separate blog post on this in the near future. In addition, I highly suggest reading the book, “The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman to learn more about this awesome relationship skill.
Contemplation and Learning From Each Other
We are not meant to be static beings who grow up and reach a certain point, and then stop growing and learning, which causes us to just go into an existence mode, where we blindly go through life as we meet our obligations. We are happiest and best able to create a wonderful relationship with someone if we continue to grow and learn from each other all our lives. We need to take time to contemplate our experiences and mistakes in order to understand them, and learn from them. If we do not do this we will tend to repeat mistakes over and over again, for lack of understanding. If our communication is working well, and we take time to contemplate what we are learning from each other, we can better create the happy relationship we long for; due to understanding each others needs better. Love is not about “settling for each other,” it is about growing together and helping each other become the best possible versions of yourself, as you hurdle life’s challenges together.
Ultimately as we connect with one another on all these points, we will reach the spiritual connection. It is here at this point in the beginning of a relationship, that a couple decide to commit to each other and create a lasting bond. The spiritual connection is celebrated by the ceremony of marriage, in which you make this connection with each other. To keep the relationship happy and healthy going forward from this point, you need to go back through the 7 points of your connections with each other repeatedly. Reconnecting with each other, will help your relationship by making it possible for you to fall in love with each other, over and over again. “Love is the bridge between you and everything.” Rumi
As you create your lives together consider deeply the words of Rumi at the beginning of this post. We must seek to remove the barriers within our hearts that stop the flow of our love. Love is the greatest healer, source of forgiveness and the life-giving force within our Universe. All things that exist flow from love, and eventually return to the source of all love to begin again. I wish you well on your journey as you seek to create a life of love and happiness with the person who you choose.
I started writing a gratitude journal about a year ago and the process has had a truly positive influence on my life. Gratitude is nothing new, of course, but until I made the conscious decision to think about and acknowledge the things I was grateful for, these little gems of positivity used to go unnoticed. […]