Simple ways to live in

Although a spiritual journey is one of inner solitude, the influence that relationships have on
that journey cannot be underestimated. Relationships show us how far along we are on our path.
It is in relationships that our biggest challenges come. We can see them as obstacles, or we can see them as real opportunities to look deeply within and see what we need to change. It is only in relationships that we become aware of many habit patterns that need to be transformed. One of the main habits that many have, is that of becoming angry. In the world today, there are so many triggers for anger as everyone’s life is under some form of stress or strain, with tensions and misunderstandings, confusion and miscommunication. Meditation helps us to see what hidden anger we are holding on to. We may be able to disguise it by being superficially sweet and considerate, but the attitude we hold in our mind, the criticism that is unspoken, the irritation we try to divert, is deeply felt by others, no matter what words we use to the contrary.
Relationships are based on an energetic exchange of thoughts and feelings, and it is when we begin to take responsibility for the energy we are vibrating through our attitude, that our relationships are transformed. There are three main ways that anger is triggered.
1. When someone behaves in a way that does not align with my values.
2. When I hold a negative belief or judgement about someone because I remember their past.
3. When I over-focus on someone’s weakness.
All of the above causes pain to ourselves and others. If we can hold a pure intention of never wanting to hurt anyone else on our spiritual journey, we can water this seed of pure intention in three simple ways.
1. Express our appreciation of a specific quality and sincerely point that out. When we do this, we begin to see the value in another and have a more balanced perspective than when we only see their weaknesses.
2. Take very great care not to gossip. When we are finding a relationship difficult, we have the urge to tell someone how badly the other behaved, often sharing our judgement of them. This does a great deal of damage and reinforces our thoughts about the person, and we carry an even heavier burden towards the next meeting with them, as our irritation amplifies to hostility. If we must gossip, gossip of specialities and qualities.
3. Strengthen our daily routine to develop the power to accommodate and toleratewhat we need to in our relationships. Be in silence in the early morning, cultivate powerful, elevated, spiritual thoughts and feelings, and spend some time after that studying spiritual knowledge. It is after meditation that we can absorb understanding and these powers.
The next most important aspect is to take responsibility for the way we feel. It is never about the other person, it is always, without exception, about us. There are five levels of response to the triggers that we may face in our relationships.
1. I do not know what I feel – I just react with no control, and cause pain.
2. I do know what I feel but choose to respond with violent words, actions, or thoughts.
3. I do know what I feel but choose to walk away, because I do not wish to cause harm and I am aware of the consequences.
4. I know what I feel and choose to respond with an observation and honest, non-violent expression of my feelings, without evaluation or judgement.
5. I choose to respond with stability, calm and love. This is the highest response, and in that, I am free of influence and can even influence others and the environment for the good.
The ability to respond in the last way is born in silence, in detached observation filled with loving feelings. Silent listening in detachment, with love, is the key to harmony.

Aashish Patel works in IT and coordinates Brahma Kumaris activities at the Lighthouse Retreat Centre, Worthing, UK.

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