Do Relationships Matter in Happiness?

Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.”

~Eckhart Tolle

I think we underestimate the essential role of genuine, mindful relationships when it comes to wholeness and joyful living. When we are in a genuine relationship with another, we feel seen, loved and free to be who we really are and that brings happiness and relief into our lives.

Eckhart Tolle talks about the pain-body, an emotional pain that leaves a residue on the spirit, a wound that can easily open with a trigger or simply linger over you like unhappiness and exhaustion. He describes it as a negative energy, a filter that can distort your interpretation of reality preventing you from allowing more happiness into your life.

Most of Eckhart Tolle’s work centers on happiness and peace by raising consciousness and meditation. He suggests that you bring light to your pain-body by becoming aware of your thoughts. With light, the pain-body begins to cease and you are left with peace of mind and readiness for joy.

I’m aware of the pain-body. All pain body (emotional wound) occurs from some relationship or another; it is a result of some interaction with another in the universe. While awareness and some healing comes from meditation, applying awareness to relationship brings it full circle and finality to the pain-body. I believe we are drawn to others precisely because of our thoughts, desires and needs, including the need to heal our pain-body. Therefore, a relationship in our life is an opportunity. With this person, we can choose to reveal ourselves, unravel the pain-body. Yes, you are doing work when you are alone in contemplation, yes– but you also need to do this work with another human being. This mindful sharing and revealing leads to renewed trust and bonding. You are reorganizing the dynamics of your inner world, you are creating a new consciousness, a new thought pattern, a new beginning.

It’s actually a tender, loving willingness and it can be very gentle and beautiful when you feel it happening together, with the person of your choosing.

This exchange can happen over a long period of time, or instantly. In long term relationships there may be several elements of pain-body interacting and healing. Stagnation and pain occur in a relationship that is not willing to reveal this inner world, open up, be vulnerable. I’m not suggesting that relationships come together only to share and heal a suffering, as in a pain-body… although this may be true in some cases. I’m saying we’re drawn to people for a shared purpose and part of this purpose is to move into peace and happiness. We all need to be seen, loved in our nakedness, be washed over by the light of unconditional love.

What is Love? More on Entanglement Theory

I have written about Entanglement, that we are entangled with some people more than others and this entanglement will influence how we behave in the world. A spiritualist would say we are entangled at the soul level. A scientist would argue we are entangled at an atomic level. Consciousness is bringing the nature of our entanglements to the surface, bringing them into awareness so that our bodies can act in the space we call earth, in this time and place we call human existence. How do we know when we are entangled? We are entangled with family by way of birth. All other entanglements arise when we are drawn to an individual and this energy, this magnetism, is called Love.

As awareness begins to arise in you, you begin to allow for the possibility of entanglement, this Love being a simple truth. You will begin to realize that your happiness and peace of mind are tied up with the happiness and peace of mind of another. You are confronted with the notion of your total interdependence. And then, there is the question of what to do, if you are to do anything at all.

But let me first say more about this consciousness, this arising awareness, because this is in answer to the pressing question: What is love? There is first a sense, and then a knowing that grows into belief, a truth, residing in the heart and stomach together, a sort of generator of the two occurs, like a spark, a combustion, a steady flame, an energy that arises and falls continuously in your inner world, in your body, as your breath rises and falls, it is there and slowly your mind begins to integrate it. As this settles inside you, as being simply part of you, you are confronted with a deeper knowing that I mentioned before, that your happiness and peace are bound to the happiness and peace of another. And so now, there it is, you are facing the issue of interdependence, of being bound to someone outside yourself. And you are also confronted with this tremendous need to release this energy, because it is roaring inside you, gentle and loving as it feels, it is also very powerful, and it begins to erupt inside of you as all love energy does, it is part of your will, a will-power so to speak, and it grows and tumbles inside you until it finds an outlet, or not.

This, if we allow it to be, to consider moving love energy outward into action— starts with Intention. An intention is the willingness to take something out of the safe cocoon of our consciousness into reality and even this step can feel scary because inside it is pure and safe feeling and depending on the nature of our entanglement it may be complicated. If our happiness and peace are bound by the happiness and peace of another, what is the action that is really required of us? That is the question, if we are truly loving and so it is perfectly natural to be careful about how we proceed with love.

We are talking about Love in action as the manifestation of what already exists in our inner world, and expressing it outward, allowing it to be released into open space, free.

All that we are and all that we experience in human form is this: thought into action. It is the ebb and flow of manifesting our soul onto earth and feeding our soul with evidence of will power and back again, until we are fully situated in the ongoing experience of happiness and peace, that sensation of lightness of being and “I am flying and free.”

There are warnings and trials and errors as we shift into this type of living. Sometimes we trap love in the inner workings of the mind and do not allow it into the spaciousness. We hold on tight and create a blockage that may result in illness and suffering. Pain, regret and feelings of inadequacy are all signs of this malady. Perhaps it’s fear or perhaps we are simply not ready for joy, or the nature of our entanglement is even more complicated than it seemed at first. Feelings of confusion arise. Still, love persists, waiting. Every entanglement requires a quantum release.

So, how to release, how to put our love into action? How do we know what will bring happiness and peace, when we are bound with another? How can we ever really know what the other wants and needs? This is our dilemma. This is the work of our journey toward enlightenment. To raise awareness, to allow and accept that you know how to act in accordance with your unique love entanglement; and to discover the right action that is required in the moment, not for one or the other, but for the happiness and peace of two souls, caught in the phenomena of interdependence.  

All love energy is creative. It moves and grows from thought to seed, that which resides in our inner world– to flowering, that which we can see manifest in the outer world, reality.

Starting from the very beginning, our life is about this essence of the will to create, of creation in its totality. That is how we exist, through the creation of two beings merging together into one, interdependent from the start, producing you, a unique body and soul formed out of this union of two.

Life urges us to move into union, over and over again, to move into this natural state of communion with another, to be in relationship with one another, to experience this intimacy, to find happiness and peace, right now, in this moment, each moment holds a possibility. As you begin to see this, to see yourself as a product and producer of love, born to create and manifest happiness and peace in relationship with others, you will understand your purpose.

A Glimpse into the Pandemic

The ground around the mall is covered with snow and ice. People are covered with masks and parkas. I imagine tight lips behind the masks, but I can’t see so maybe I’m projecting. I follow a couple who looks lost in some random search for Gucci or Kate Spade. We’re in the middle of nowhere shopping and pretending.

Emptiness. A flutter of anxiety. The horror of shopping. I’m thinking everything looks and feels dead and empty. This emptiness feeling is relentless suddenly and I’m having trouble breathing. I pull down my mask and wonder, when will this feeling end? When will this feeling that everything is unreal and wavering end?

We leave empty handed. I’m hungry and driving down the interstate. Now what? People are waiting for normalcy but there’s no normalcy after this. We’ve seen the void, the big black hole in the center of the universe. We know fragile and temporary and how relationships unravel under pressure, revealing. We know that some of us can keeping going on while others lose it. We know there’s an end to wishful thinking. We know we can survive without living.

My son, who is sitting in the passenger seat, lets out a heavy sigh and closes his eyes. I think, this man creation came out of me! He’s grown up now so I see him as my son but not belonging to me. We are two passengers on the same ride but tomorrow is unknown. We are thrown together for this fleeting moment and somehow I find solace in his presence.

I’m exhausted when I get home, like the sensation of emptiness sucked the life out of me. How nice would it be to slip into some drug induced coma right now but instead, I pour myself a scotch and start cooking.

I thought I had learned to surrender to all this already, to just let tomorrow go, find joy in the present ordinary. I thought anxiety would’ve disappeared by now and that I’d be swimming every day in the great big ocean of freedom like a Buddha whale. I thought eventually my heart would stop aching. But alas, this being human is a guest house and I’ll be visited every day in spite of awakening.