A Conscious Perspective on Relationships

A Conscious Perspective on Relationships

I tend to be a hard liner, and say that your reactions are your mind’s predicament.

That’s a hard line, but for you to be in a relationship where you say, “I can only be happy if you’re different,” seems to be doing an interesting thing. It’s probably perpetuating your suffering and everybody else’s suffering in life.

I think that the work is on oneself, and if you are doing things that irritate me, or that don’t treat my needs the way I would like them, my inclination is to see that as my problem, not yours.

I see people like trees. I really do. I see people like Elms, and Oaks, and little gnarled trees, big beautiful trees, short trees, fat trees, and they’re just doing their tree thing.

When I go out into the woods, and I look at trees, I say, “Oh, look at that one, oh look at that one, oh how interesting!” I don’t ask why an Elm isn’t an Oak… I just appreciate them for what they are. Somehow it’s different when I get near humans, I somehow feel that it’s a whole different category, and I move into my judging mode, saying, “If that person was more like that person, things would be better.”

Now I don’t elevate human relationships that much. I see them as just more of the interaction with the phenomenal world, and another person is a set of phenomena manifested, and I see that I’m getting upset because somebody is a certain way, I take that upset and ask “Why am I upset?” I realize that a part of my upset is because I have a model that I am holding of how the world should be other than the way it is.

I have the choice of either trying to change the world to adhere to my model, or let go of my model to be with the world.

Now when you say, “Well, my needs need to be met,” ask “Whose needs are those?” And, “How much do I identify with those needs?” Like the need to be cherished – how about that one? That’s one – everybody needs to be cherished, but say you’re not. Now what? I mean there are a lot of people in this room that probably aren’t cherished, and I need to be cherished, so you spend your life needing to be cherished and going around asking, “Will you cherish me?” and then, “Will you cherish me enough?” and then you are, but you ask “Am I cherished enough?” and it all passes, then starts again.

You were a moment ago, why aren’t you now? And then you start to see how identified you are with your needs – how it is a bottomless well of suffering, and I hate to be this hard about personality stuff, because I’m an old psychologist, but I want to tell you, I really think it’s time to go on.

I just don’t think it’s interesting to identify that strongly with your needs, with your psychological needs. I really think they’re not that much fun. Now I must say that I am on thin ice in this culture at this time.

Some of you are therapists, and there are ways of being a therapist that understands this, and do what needs to be done without sucking people in deeper to the reality of that.

I mean, somebody comes to me with needs, and I honor that they identify with those needs, and I listen, and I help them in the way that I can help them, but at the same time, my job is to hold onto the plane of awareness where I see that their awareness is identifying with their need, and that is where the root cause of the suffering is.

I think that there can be relationships where you can say to somebody, “What you’re doing is bugging the shit out of me, but that’s my problem, it’s not yours, but I want you to know what you’re doing is bugging the shit out of me. You do what you need to do, and I’ll do what I need to do.”

Your job is to get out from under “being bugged,” because you’re the one responsible for your own consciousness. To lay it on somebody else seems to be a terribly irresponsible maneuver.


-Ram Dass

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