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Lions Roar : November 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 112 tionship fresh and interesting, but they can only do that if we can accept the ways that those we love are different from us— in their background, values, perspectives, qualities, sensitivities, preferences, ways of doing things, and, finally, their destiny. In the words of Swami Prajnanpad, standing advaita-speak on its head: “To see fully that the other is not you is the way to re- alizing oneness ... Nothing is separate, everything is different ... Love is the ap- preciation of difference.” Two partners not holding themselves separate, while remaining totally dis- tinct—“not two, not one”—may seem like an impossible challenge in a relationship. Bernard Phillips, an early student of East/ West psychology, likens this impossibil- ity of relationship to a Zen koan, a riddle that cannot be solved with the conceptual mind. After continually trying and failing to figure out the answer, Zen students ar- rive at a genuine solution only in the mo- ment of finally giving up and giving in. In Phillips’ words: Every human being with whom we seek relatedness is a koan, that is to say, an impossibility. There is no formula for getting along with a human being. No technique will achieve relatedness. I am impossible to get along with; so is each one of you; all our friends are im- In the end, to love another requires dropping all our narcissistic agendas, movies, hopes, and fears, so that we may look freshly and see “the raw other, the sacred other,” just as he or she is. possible; the members of our families are impossible. How then shall we get along with them? ... If you are seeking a real encounter, then you must con- front the koan represented by the other person. The koan is an invitation to en- ter into reality. In the end, to love another requires dropping all our narcissistic agendas, movies, hopes, and fears, so that we may look freshly and see “the raw other, the sacred other,” just as he or she is. This involves a surrender, or perhaps defeat, as in George Orwell’s words about being “defeated and broken up by life.” What is defeated here, of course, is the ego and its strategies, clearing the way for the genuine person to emerge, the person who is ca- pable of real, full-spectrum contact. The nobility of this kind of defeat is portrayed by Rilke in four powerful lines describing Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel: Winning does not tempt that man For this is how he grows: By being defeated, decisively, By constantly greater beings. 3 In relationship, it is two partners’ greater beings, gradually freeing them- selves from the prison of conditioned patterns, that bring about this decisive defeat. And as this starts reverberating through their relationship, old expecta- tions finally give way, old movies stop running, and a much larger acceptance than they believed possible can start opening up between them. As they be- come willing to face and embrace what- ever stands between them—old relational wounds from the past, personal patholo- gies, difficulties hearing and understand- ing each other, different values and sen- sitivities—all in the name of loving and letting be, they are invited to “enter into reality.” Then it becomes possible to start encountering each other nakedly, in the open field of nowness, fresh and unfab- ricated, the field of love forever vibrating with unimagined possibilities. ♦ 3 From “The Man Watching,” translated by Robert Bly. In R. Bly (Ed.) News of the Universe. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1980. This essay is adapted from a talk given at the Cali- fornia Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Copyright 2008 by John Welwood. All rights reserved. YOGA SIVANANDA Val Morin, Quebec, Canada Year-round Yoga Vacations • Hatha Yoga and Meditation • Ayurvedic Massage and Thai Massage • Pure Vegetarian Food • Wood-fired Sauna • Many outdoor activities Yoga Teachers’ Training Course November 16 to December 13 Asanas Pranayama Meditation Mantras Kriyas Vedanta Bhagavad Gita Yogic Diet Anatomy and Physiology The Art of Forgiveness Nov.21 -23 Christmas and New Year Program Dec. 22 - Jan. 2, 2009 Thanksgiving Weekend Vegetarian Cooking Sitar Concert Oct.10-13 The Power of Chant Mantras Oct.17-19 1 800 263-9642 (819) 322-3226