When you take your confusions to the wilderness, among those are going to be relationship issues.
Ever hear of the Johari Window? Imagine a quadrant. The first row is things you can see (i.e., recognize), and the second is things you cannot see (recognize). The first column is things your partner can see/recognize; the last column is things your partner cannot see/recognize.
So there’s an area where you are both on the same page. There’s also an area where both of you are clueless. And there’s an area where you see what your partner doesn’t, and another where your partner sees what you don’t.
That’s the first problem–and the first need–with relationships and learning. We think we’re on top of it, but we’re largely clueless, and much of what we think we know is not only mistaken, but also arrogant to pretend we could know it at all. Our individual vision is limited.
But the strength of a healthy relationship, one with trust and communication, is that second pair of eyes, that second mind, bringing extra information and perspectives from different vantage points than any person can ever have alone. “I know and you don’t” is simply always wrong–at the very least, an incomplete and hence flawed picture of reality.
To get to that communication, that trust, that free flow of knowledge and perspective–we need to let go of ego. You simply cannot stand reasonably above or ahead or in place of another person–you must stand side by side. And isn’t that what you wanted from the relationship? If you can’t do it, learn to do it. No relationship can happen without it in any real and lasting terms. If this is not a person you can or choose to do this with, that’s fine, find another. But take responsibility–personal responsibility–for the change and the reason for it. Otherwise, you’ll just repeat the same patterns with new people.
The second way we learn (and the second problem) is through growing with another person.
We don’t really grow by ourselves. Yes, we can work on ourselves, and that’s beneficial, but we are always going to grow in our own image by ourselves. To some extent, that’s helpful, because we can follow our own vision without distortion. But very, very few people ever actually do that. Fears, excuses, time constraints, justifications, all very human, all very common, chip away at most people’s dreams and visions. Day to day redundancy thrives instead. But a second person shakes out of those self-made ruts, those worn paths we follow not by inspired choice but by established habit. Do follow those dreams, but the interaction with others keeps you from creating a pretty fiction for yourself.
We tell ourselves all kinds of things that don’t really hold up to careful scrutiny. The mere presence of other people quickly shakes that foundation. And while that can happen negatively, as in “the turkeys are dragging you down,” it also wakes you up to mediocrity, error, and self-delusion in ways that can clarify your thinking and direction and purpose, leaving you better able to follow your dreams. Now, in a relationship–this is, I would hope, by definition a person you see as a positive influence in your life, not a dull anchor, so assuming you chose someone positive in the first place, let that person in.
Lots of people tell themselves they do just fine by themselves. I’ve said that myself, more than once. But those periods of retreat are periods of abstinence from growth. Isolation is helpful for a time, but a detriment long term. It is easy to be a holy man on a mountain. Only when we can take who we’ve realized and share do we really move beyond where we are stuck. We don’t live as well alone as we think…we just live as we are telling ourselves, and support the myth.
We are meant to be together. Our physical selves are made not only to fit, but also for that union to be pleasurable, with hormones driving us to the pairing. But our emotional selves also are driven to come together–the stereotypes of strong and nurturing are simplistic, but underscore that we recognize a dynamic here. The same applies to our mental approaches; again from the stereotypes of single-focused and broadly-focused to a more complex reality, we recognize a dynamic here as well. Male and female energy differs as well, and even flows differently. Between two people tuned to each other, an amazing cycle of energy flows naturally, each increasing the energy in the other, she increasing his masculine energy level, he increasing her feminine energy level, higher and higher, a beautiful synergy building taking each far beyond any level either will reach alone. And we’ve all felt this, at least at times.
It’s so perfect. So why do we have so much trouble with this? We even institutionalize those problems in our culture, assuring ourselves they are real. They aren’t. They really, really, aren’t.
Maybe we all just need to get away to the wilderness for a while and re-find our natures. Or at least calm down and stop creating problems where there are none.
October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
The series continues through Oct. 31.