Can’t live with them… Can’t live without them…

Our relationships in this world are riddled with complexities. Differences of opinion, misunderstandings, false expectations, breach of trust and lack of respect to name but a few. How many times were you frustrated, angered or saddened by somebody else’s behaviour today? How many times have you dreamt of flying away to a far-away place, thousands of miles away from everyone and everything? How many times have you just ended up withdrawing yourself from a difficult situation and hiding away in your own safe emotional space?

Living and interacting with others is extremely troublesome. This may well be the reason why significant numbers of spiritual seekers find great solace in the idea of ‘oneness’ – the notion that the perfection of life is to merge into the universal energy where there is no individuality or variety. No more relationships, no more conflicts, no more problems. But can we really live without relationships?

The Bhagavad-gita explains how relationships infused with pure selflessness are actually the most profound expressions of spirituality. As we learn to live in a more and more selfless way, we’ll find our relationships become more and more pleasing. We must develop our vision to see others as spiritual entities, beyond the temporary conditionings they are affected by. Until we reach that pure platform there will inevitably be friction, and one must exercise restraint. As our great teacher Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur once commented: “When faults in others misguide and delude you – have patience, introspect and find faults in yourself. Know that others cannot harm you unless you harm yourself.”

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