How to learn about oneself in the mirror of relationships?

How can you develop a conscious relationship without the ego interfering?

The fact is that one has an ego. So if one is talking about having a relationship without the ego interfering, one would go into denial of one’s ego, which is a very dangerous situation. This is much more dangerous than staying with the fact of your ego. Most spiritual people develop such a kind of ego, called the spiritual ego. Because of it’s cleverness, it almost never comes into the purview of self inquiry and investigation.

A more awakened relationship would be one where one is open to understand one’s ego and it’s working in the mirror of relationship. In our relationships, we are constantly relating through images. We have a self image and we have an image of the other. In relating we are constantly trying to defend our image and form an image of the other, so that we do not get hurt.

If we are truly interested in understanding our self, we have to become aware of this whole process of forming images. All image formation is the result of comparison. Since childhood we are always compared by certain standards. There are standards of wealth, intelligence, looks, talents and behavior. Unconsciously we adopt these standards for our self and this is how the process of image construction begins, both for oneself and the other. A relationship then becomes a dynamic of interaction between two self images. I get attracted to a person who confirms to my self image and repelled by someone who attacks my self image. And we are constantly seeking validation for our self image through our friends, family and peers. Almost all the time, this process of seeking validation for our self image is happening in the back of our mind, unconsciously. It’s like the self image lives us out rather than we living out our self image.

So in order to have deep relationships we have to become aware of this whole process of image creation in ourselves. Which means one has to understand this whole process of creation of standards, and the judgments we pass on others on the basis of these standards. I have standards of how I judge myself others on the basis of wealth, qualifications, looks and behavior. I have to become conscious of these standards, question them for their truth if any? Is it true that a more qualified person is a more intelligent person. What is intelligence? Is it that I am attracted to people who confer on me the trophy of intelligence? I am not talking about “not judging” because that would become another “should or should not” in one’s machinery of creating standards. I am talking of becoming aware of this machinery within oneself and others. If I become aware of this process, when someone says something to me, I realize what is getting hurt and why I am getting hurt, instead of making a very simple conclusion that the other person is hurting me. I begin to understand this whole complex process of hurt.

When I come to relationships with the intent to understand how I have constructed and how I am constantly constructing my images, then relationships take a very different dimension. Then I am not using relationships as a source of mere pleasure seeking and attachment. Then I become a deeply responsible human being, responsible not in the superficial, ethical sense of society, but in a far deeper way of being a holistic human being. This is no romantic, sentimental slush of relationships we see in movies and soap operas. This is something extremely rare. It’s not about becoming some goody, goody, likable person of society. (As such there is no one whom the whole world likes. There are always going to be critics and always people who will praise you.) Once a person goes deeply and completely into this whole issue of standards, measurement, comparison, image creation and judgement, such a person undergoes a psychological revolution. He/she is no longer relating to people out of a need for pleasure and security. These only arise for the sake of self image. When one is deconstructing one’s self image, then relationships are also going to undergo a transformation. Many people may leave you because you will no longer be a party to this whole business of pleasure giving and seeking. Such a person would not be seeking to fill his/her inner emptiness, so he/she will have no need to please others just to keep them as his/her friends. Such a person is not going to coerce, influence and manipulate anyone to stay with him or like him. His/her relationships are going to be for the sake of self inquiry and truth – a relationship of freedom.

If one does all this, one has a chance to understand what it means to live without conflict of any kind in life, because all conflict arises in relationships. But this is something which no one ever wants to do, one prefers the known devil rather than taking the risk of discovering something totally unknown.

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