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Excerpt from "The Yoga of Relationships"

by Yogi Amrit Desai

Living Without Holding

Very early in life, I saw that what weighed me down and disturbed my peace of mind the most was holding someone else responsible for my happiness. When I would blame someone for an incident that made me unhappy, I became more agitated by that emotion than from the situation that caused it. Further it was a distraction from my highest purpose in yoga—realizing one’s true Self. As soon as I recognized this fact, I decided never to hold onto blame or malice in my heart, no matter what others did. I never wanted to do anything that would disturb the contentment in my heart. This abiding principle has deep relevance in personal relationships. But when we are in love or in a committed relationship, we forget that this truth applies to our beloved, as well as to those with whom we have only a passing relationship, such as in the workplace, traffic jams and the line at the market. Relationships that work are based on our inner process more than on the dynamics between lovers. If we use the external relationship as a vehicle to transform our internal connection with ourselves, everything will transform. Only then is there the possibility for true intimacy and closeness with the other.

Deficiency Consciousness

When the other fails to fulfill our desires or meet our expectations, the natural tendency is to criticize or even reject them. Exclusive love invariably becomes possessive, which then resorts

to control. The need for control comes from fear of loss. This unhealthy reaction causes both an internal and an external split. On the one hand we must be aggressive to get what we want and, on the other hand, defensive about protecting our freedom. When both partners play this game, distance develops between them that makes meaningful communication impossible.

The need for more and better (e.g., comfort, pleasure, security, love, money and recognition) ignores what is already present in abundance. Deficiency consciousness says: “I am not good enough” or “I don’t have enough.” These are lies we continually tell ourselves. It is not reality, but the work of fear, greed and attachment. It is the carrot we hang in front of our own noses.

Getting what we want and expect from our loved ones eventually reaches a level of improbability for fulfillment. What we want is symbolic of our need for attention, validation of their love, a device to determine their fidelity or, conversely, trust in us. Such subtle needs behind apparent demands are beyond the grasp of the one who is producing them. So how can the one who is supposed to fulfill them conceive of the other’s underlying needs? It is a game in which there are no winners.

Even if our loved one was a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker with scientific knowledge of the psyche of hidden motives, they would be baffled if they were on the receiving end

of such demands.

Try this exercise to see if you receive what you want from another. If you consistently ask someone to love you, ask yourself, “Do I love myself consistently?” If you want someone to

always trust you, examine whether you trust your own decisions all the time. If you want someone to always accept you, do you always accept yourself? What you cannot give to yourself is impossible for someone else to give to you. They cannot give what they want for themselves, let alone serve you.

A sense of deficiency builds barriers to protect what we believe is ours. Insecurity creates the desire to accumulate (Aparigraha – the fifth Yama) or possess the other, as if that will make us

secure in their love. Yet the more we have, the more we have to protect, the more we must keep distance to defend ourselves. We believe we must control or change everyone around us,

hoping that one day we will have enough, and then we will be happy. The question is: how much is going to be enough? Does the need continue to grow exponentially and never end? When

we get to the exasperating point where enough is enough, then we finally stop looking for more.

That realization comes either from frustration or from understanding. If it comes from frustration, we may say, “That’s enough of that relationship,” and start looking for a replacement

because we think the “enough” had do with the other person. But when the “enough” comes from realizing that it is emanating from inside, then we can begin to change ourselves and our distorted perspective.

When you change yourself, the whole world changes.

Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses now takes on a whole new meaning. When you wear pink glasses, the whole world turns pink instantly. When you wear leather sandals, the whole earth is suddenly covered with leather. It all starts…and ends…with you.

Visit us at: www.AmritKala.com

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