The psychologist Daniel Kahnemann received a Nobel Prize in economics for demonstrating that most individuals are more actively trying to avoid a loss than attempting to pursue an equal gain. Moreover, he argues that individuals are more likely to remember negative events rather than positive experiences[i]. As result it can be said that bad experiences have a devastating effect over positive experiences. This reminded me of something I used to do: to run away from relationship that in my mind had the potential to harm me. Rather than saving them or cherishing the beautiful moments we once had, I choose to focus on the negative events.
Even though I always valued and respected human relationships and tried my best to help others, at the same time I always found it extremely difficult to allow others to assist me or get close to me. I got into the habit of building a one way channel towards the other, where I would allow my love and good wishes to flow towards them, while blocking any flow from their side towards me. Moreover, if something small would happen, such as: when someone wasn’t happy and I thought it was my fault, when I thought they didn’t like me or they didn’t think I was good enough, I started to move away before they could. I immediately packed all our memories together, placed them in a box, sealed it and announced that I was going away for a while and that was it! I would simply distance myself and leave. This especially seemed to happen, whenever I was going through a difficult time. Instead of being reminded of all the beautiful moments we once shared, I choose to leave, because I was scared to be vulnerable.
According to Osho human relationships are considered to be essential ingredients for our spiritual development and moreover, the key to reach the Divine Light (God). However, in order to be in a relationship, one has to genuinely be open towards receiving and sending love towards the other. This simple step requires a lot of courage, as one has to be vulnerable… something most of us fear.
Relationship is a mirror, and the purer the love is, the higher the love is, the better the mirror, the cleaner the mirror. But the higher love needs you to be open. The higher love needs you to be vulnerable. You have to drop your armour: that is painful. You have to be constantly on guard. You have to drop the calculating mind. You have to risk. You have to live dangerously. The other can reject you: that the fear in being in love. The other can hurt you; that is the fear in being vulnerable. The reflection that you will find in the other of your own self may be ugly; that’s anxiety; avoid the mirror! By avoiding the mirror you are not going to become beautiful. By avoiding the situation you are not going to grow either. The challenge has to be taken. One has to go into love. That’s the first step towards God, and it cannot be bypassed. Those who try to bypass the step of love will never reach God. That is absolutely necessary, because you become aware of your totality only when you are provoked by the presence of the other, when your presence is enhanced by the presence of the other. When you are brought out of your narcissist, closed world under the open sky (…)[ii].
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. (Brené Brown)
I slowly started to realise that I didn’t have to be afraid of human relationships, in whatever form they entered my life. In fact, each individual that entered my life was actually a blessing bestowed upon me by God. An opportunity for growth, that was given to me for a divine reason – such a gift that had the ability to purify myself and allow me to move on step closer towards His light – the Absolute Truth. To move away from these gifts, would actually mean that I turn myself away from His Mercy. It shows lack of faith in the divine and lack of trust in His love for me.
If you don’t go into love, as many people have decided, then you are stuck with yourself. Then your life isn’t a pilgrimage, then your life is not a river going to the ocean; your life is a stagnant pool, dirty. To keep clean, one needs to keep flowing. A river remains clear, because it goes on flowing. (Osho) [iii].
It is painful, but don’t avoid it. If you avoid it, you have avoided the greatest opportunity to grow. (Osho).[iv]
Let there be pain, let there be suffering. Go through the dark night and you will reach a beautiful sunrise. Disappear as a dewdrop and become the ocean – but you will have to pass through the door of love.[v] (Osho)
Even though I am not quite there yet, I do understand that running away from people and other lessons would only make things more difficult for me. Moreover, it is important to remember that the courage and abilities we require to face our deepest fears already lie within us. It is up to us to decide when we want to use it and move forward in life.
… God puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. God will grant after hardship, ease. (Al Qur’an: Surat at-Talaq, 7)
With my love and light,
[i] Handson, R. (2013) Hardwiring Happiness. New York: Harmony. pp.20-40
[ii] Osho (2002) Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The KOAN of Relationships. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 34-35
[iii] Osho (2002) Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The KOAN of Relationships. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. p.35
[iv] Osho (2002) Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The KOAN of Relationships. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. p.36
[v] Osho (2002) Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The KOAN of Relationships. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. p. 37