The Meditation Story, 16

Article on The Meditation Story

”Meditation is anything that challenges us to be more alert, more aware, and more alive.”

Mindfulness and Relating

I started meditating in college at the age of twenty-three. I continued to meditate through college and graduate school. I moved to New York City at the age of twenty-nine. At thirty-two I had my first child. By the time I was thirty-seven I had three children and was living in Northern California. Raising children is an incredible experience and successfully navigated will ground you like nothing else can. Life is so much about relationships.

Participating in relationship in a healthy manner is one of the greatest meditations. It is an ongoing exercise in mindfulness. An intimate relationship is an incredible place of learning. Here we must work things out as equals, honoring the divine in one another– two creative sparks of the divine meet and create something together– collaborating and finding a common way. Meditation is anything that challenges us to be more alert, more aware, and more alive.

Relating versus Relationship

A “relationship” is a thing while “relating” is a process. A thing is something to be upheld and managed while a process in something alive and engaging. A relationship has a past and a future while relating is something one does in the moment. All intimate relationships face the complicated problem of involving two absolutely free agents struggling to engage in honest and open relating.

Individuals are brought together by attraction and begin to spend time with each other. The relating becomes intimate. Does negotiation begin? Do rules come into play– arrangements– agreements? Do children become part of the mix? How long do these two individuals stay together and what is it that keeps them together? How does all of this work especially with children involved?

Freedom and Responsibility

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. What village? In a tribal community it is less of a threat to a child’s well being should the parents fail to partner for life. The children simply run free within the structure of the village and though the parents are known the entire tribe participates in the child’s growth and development. Unfortunately this is not the way society is set up for most of the modern world.

At forty-three I was suddenly living in a small house alone and my children moved back and forth weekly between two homes. It was a difficult time. Their Mother and I had been moving away from each other in many ways already. It was only a matter of time before it manifested physically. My current partner and I have a different form of relating. We work on it all of the time and it inevitably survives due to our profound mutual respect for each other’s absolute freedom.

Mindfulness, Relating and Self

It is the prevailing honesty of our relating that keeps us together. Is this the norm? I don’t know. Relating takes so many forms. As human beings we are all the same. We are all equals. The golden rule is active in all relationships. How we treat our partners is a reflection of how we treat ourselves. Unfortunately as much as we may understand all this ourselves, there are those who do not. This is a great test. This is a test we enter into daily in all relating.

How patient are we with ourselves? Can we extend this same patience to those who are as yet unwilling to meet us half way? This is just another form of love for ourselves– extended to those who are essentially no different– deep down where it counts. The fact is that we are one being. Relationships are a deep form of meditation. We learn through relationships what matters most– the heart– the center– equality– respect– love.

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