Relationships Without Need

Are people you “hit it off” with right away are the only ones worth talking to?

There are some people who require a lot of effort to talk to. The relationship feels heavy.

Then, there are others with whom conversation is quite easy. Yet, it’s not all black and white. I’ve had these dynamics change with people. It goes from one end of the spectrum to the other.

However, for the most part, it seems that it roughly seems the same throughout most of the relationship—no matter how many years long it is. Isn’t that strange? I change, don’t I? Yet my relationships with the people around me don’t?

It seems that the individual relationships themselves may not change, yet my relationship with life does. But doesn’t a change in your relationship with life change everything? Well, yes, indeed, it does.

I used to condemn the “heaviness” of certain relationships. I saw it as the other person as being wrong or downright evil. I still have thoughts of that sort every now and then. But, in general, I know now to curse not the darkness. There simply is no need for doing so.

No need. That’s the key. Perhaps I feel better about all my relationships, no matter how unchanging they may seem externally, because I don’t perceive that I NEED anything from them anymore. When you need… Well, you get needy. The only way to meet your needs without being needy is to not regard them as needs. Put the path first. Your level of consciousness is always more important than the external world. Keep that as high as possible at all times and you’re golden—you’re good to go. There is no thing in this universe that can hurt you. Your body may die, yet the essence of who you are cannot.


Love and Fairness

Still, the question calls to be answered. The quick answer is yes. It can be hard to accept, I know, for those of us who admire from far away, and feel like every single thing on this planet is an obstacle to even saying “Hello” to our beloved (Don’t ask me where that came from ;) ). I know she (or he, or zhee) may be very wonderful and attractive.

 But consider that the sense of heaviness may be there for a reason. You’re dragging a lot of baggage around with you in your attraction to this person. Why? Some part of you believes that you need to. What for? In the hopes that the other person will “heal” it or take it away from you.

Yet, why this particular person? And are you really just projecting your desires on to this person, or are you tapping into a broader destiny here?

I’m sorry to say that projection is more likely to be the case. A sense of heaviness of any sort in a relationship tends to be a result of illusion. In the case of human relationships, the culprit quite often is the illusion of need. You are hoping that the other person will give you something that you do not already have—or take something away that you no longer want.

But, in truth, you don’t need the other person to accomplish these things. The people in our lives simply remind us of what we have, what we can do, and, most importantly, what we are. Each person serves as a context in which we may remember certain things about ourselves.

But, the question. Why do we feel so much needier with some people than others? And heavier? Even if we’ve only just met them… Even if they’ve done us no wrong? What’s that all about?

The short story is that your perspective and theirs are simply too different for the two of you to have much meaningful conversation. You just don’t get why the other person does what he does, and he doesn’t get why you do what you do, either. You make no sense to each other.

But that’s not fair. You love everybody—don’t you? So you can express love for everybody—right? Isn’t everyone inherently worthwhile? And if they are, isn’t everyone worth cultivating a more intimate relationship with, should you choose to do so? And can’t you take a different perspective from time to time? You certainly are not tied to any one perspective. So, how can there be any perspective that is beyond your understanding?

You can reach a point where there is indeed no perspective beyond your understanding. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can deny the role of perspective in human relationships. The general perspective a person takes will determine the type of relationship you have with this person. Indeed, you can and do love everybody, should you choose to do so. But love demonstrates itself in billions of different forms—a new form in every moment, even.


The Roles-Approach

Speak of the Devil, people do put quite a lot of emphasis on the form of their relationships. This is my girlfriend. This is my best friend. This is my boss. This is my son. We classify our relationships by the form they take—as parent-child, friend-friend, employer-employee, lover-lover, even cashier-customer, and so on. We do this with our non-human relationships as well. This is my career. This is my favorite hobby. These are my chores. That one-legged eyeball over there is my pet.

There’s certainly nothing to be condemned here. I’m not quite in the mood for condemnation anyhow. Additionally, it’d be hard to function sociologically without this way of relating to others. These labels make it much easier and faster for people to understand who others are talking about. They also provide a basis on which people connect.

Oh, he’s your boyfriend? I went to school with that guy.

Oh, that guy is your son? Hey, wait a second… he’s my son, too! This just got weird.

Hey, you’re my long lost cousin!

Emphasizing the roles of people in our lives is one way to approach relationships. This is a useful approach sociologically. Personally, however, you have some other options.

It’s fine and well to label people a certain way when you’re talking about them, so that people can grasp what sociological role this person plays in your life. Talking about your father, for instance, provides a much different context than talking about a friend. If you tell someone that a certain friend is holding you back from taking a particular action, that person will probably tell you that your friend is not a very good friend, and you might as well drop that friend from your life (for now, at least). However, if you have the same issue with your Dad, the person you’re talking to probably won’t say, “Screw your Dad! Who needs that guy anyway!” You’re more likely to get a response along the lines of, “Oh. You should talk to him about that.”

Yet, your relationships, as you know them, exist only in one place—your mind. The physical world provides a context in which your relationships play out. There are people who brought you into the world, as your biological offspring. There are people who pay you to do certain tasks. There are people who you pay to do certain tasks.

However, the labels you place on your relationships are of your mind. More importantly, the meaning you attach to those labels is of your mind.

At times, you fall into the trap of thinking that the label is the relationship. The label comes with a countless number of rules which govern how the relationships must be conducted. With each person, you pull out a list of subjects you can and can’t talk about, ways of being you can and can’t be, and things you can and cannot do—all based upon the ideas you have about them and the role they play in society.


The Intuitive-Approach

What if you were to throw all of that away, and save the labels for only when you’re talking about the people and things in your life? What would happen then? Would all the structure of your life fall apart? Would your life as you know it fall to pieces? How would you relate to people then?

Well, an alternative to the role-approach to relationships is to take an intuitive-approach. “Intuitive” is another word for “feelings.” In this type of approach, you relate to others first and foremost via your feelings. How do you feel when you are with this person? Excited? Alive? Lustful? Burdened? Restricted? Trapped? Do you have an affinity for this person? Or do you want to run when they walk into the room?

What is being with this person like? Is conversing with them light and easy? Or does it feel very forced—as though you have nothing to relate to each other on?

This can be scary, I know. The first worry that comes up for me, for instance, is feelings of attraction to people I imagine I shouldn’t be attracted to. But if you put that one under the light for even a second, it’s pretty ridiculous. Who the hell should you be attracted to, anyway?

Still, when you’ve been so used to relating to people on the basis of labels for most of your life, the intuitive-approach can seem to be beyond control. It’s outside of the realm of what can be trusted in oneself. It can be complex. Certain feelings come up regarding certain people, and I’m hesitant to take those feelings anywhere. I don’t know whether to go to this person with excitement or to keep my distance as much as possible.

Of course, hesitance and oscillation are products of the mind. Feelings are not. When you let them be, feelings are really quite simple—and strong. Very strong, in fact. The more often you allow your feelings to be and then act on them, the more powerful their hold becomes on you. Yet it doesn’t feel like you’re being controlled, as though you are a robot programmed by feelings. Robots don’t have feelings anyway, silly.

Trusting what you feel can be done quite consciously. Just as you can make the choice not to trust, and to instead try dominating yourself mentally, you can make a conscious choice to trust. Feelings will still be present either way. They are an integral part of the human experience (well, maybe except for those of us with certain types of brain damage). But how you respond to those feelings is totally within your command.

I find that when I trust my feelings, it just, well, feels better. It feels a lot better than agreeing with, “Well, I shouldn’t do this, because this person might think this, and then this person will say that, and blah blah blah…” Such thoughts imply that I am nothing more than mere drama stew. I like to think of myself a bit more highly than that—and live more highly than that, as well.

You could ask, Why trust feelings? Or, you could simply say, Why not?

In my book, the answer to Why is that trusting what I feel tends to result in me demonstrating a high ideal of myself. Yesterday, for instance, I had a feeling that running so hard during a race that I’m about to keel over by the end is unnecessary. I felt that, instead, I could stay relatively relaxed—that it would be more effective to remain as conscious as possible for the duration of the race, rather than to exert my body as much as possible. So, that’s what I did. I was concerned that I was taking it too easy; yet, according to my feelings, I was doing just fine. In the end, I ran my fastest 5K on a track to date (well, provided that I indeed did run an extra lap, contrary to what the officials believed… But that’s beside the point. ;) ).


Not So Straightforward

Now, what about when trusting my feelings doesn’t result in me demonstrating a high ideal? Well, those are interesting cases, to say the least. Acting on feeling often leads me to be very blunt and straightforward. The less I inhibit myself, the more blunt I am. This is fabulous for getting a message across quickly. However, at times I seem uncaring and harsh. People ask me for something, and I tell them I don’t want to give it to them. Plain and simple, yet not quite the way you’re supposed to do it.

I’m not the kindest person on Earth, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be a jerk. When my internal answer to someone is No, I like for that to be my external answer as well. I don’t see why the two should be different.

I like to think that my feelings always carry the potential of my highest self. When my logical mind disagrees with what my feelings want to do, it’s only because I don’t totally understand my higher self yet. If not for feeling I might act in the same ways over and over again, for lack of a context in which to act differently. Feelings are powerful catalysts of growth. They are deserving of respect.

When you take an intuitive-approach to relationships, your relationships will become more complex. You won’t feel overly attached to any one particular person. You’ll find that the world at large is capable of meeting your desires, and you’ll pay more attention to your relationship with other humans in general. You don’t need any particular relationship to meet any particular need.

In fact, you won’t feel very needy at all. What need is there for that? You simply are calling forth a certain experience—and whatever experience you get is either quite alright as it is, or it can be changed into a new experience rather quickly. You can take care of yourself. You are far more powerful and resourceful than you imagine you are. Besides— you will go on living even in the absence of the experience you desire most.

It’s important to stay in the moment when in the space of the intuitive-approach. Otherwise you might start freaking out at how weird things are getting. You’ll place yourself back in the perspective of the roles-approach and say, What the heck is happening here? This is out of control!

As you get more comfortable with the intuitive-approach, you’ll be able to look ahead and backward in time at your relationships without losing stride. You’ll be better at discerning when to wait and when to act now. Your previous ideas about what certain relationships should look like will fall away. You will function perfectly fine without them. You’ll remove your concern from your third-person appearance and place it on to your first-person experience. And that experience will be damn fine.

As you trust the intuitive approach more completely, you’ll start to get a sense that you knew about certain events in your social life in advance. You won’t experience this at a logical level. The very idea does seem odd, from that standpoint. Yet, when you meet someone who you are quite readily attracted to, for instance, you’ll think, Oh, of course I intended for this happen. This is perfect. It’s not “perfect” or “meant to be” as in the context of a romantic fairytale. Not at all. Intention and destiny are not quite the same.

This sense of intention and of “pre-knowing” reflect that you are very much responsible for all that occurs in your reality. From the standpoint of third-person appearance, the idea of 100% responsibility seems outrageous. But from the standpoint of first-person experience, such an idea is among the most empowering thoughts conceivable.


Take Command-- Needlessly

When you take the intuitive approach, you won’t stand for abuse anymore. No longer will you say, But I have to pledge unwavering, everlasting loyalty to him. He’s my boss! Instead, you’ll declare, This feels wrong to me. I’m out of here. Quick and easy. Plain and simple.

No longer will people intimidate you with their fancy job titles. Maybe that guy is the master chief executive director, but how does he feel to you? Fake? Like his smile is plastered on with rubber? Bland? In that case, unwavering, everlasting loyalty is quite unnecessary.

When you take the intuitive approach, thoughts of loyalty will not come to you often. You’ll be more concerned with being loyal to what you value, rather than any particular person. Say, for instance, that a certain relationship necessitates that you withhold honesty. What would you rather be loyal to? The dishonest relationship? Or to honesty itself? Which would you rather respect?

As for the original question of this article, when you let go of the need to be loyal to a particular person, or to create a certain experience with a certain person, you'll likely find one of two things. The relationship you tried so hard to uphold will become much lighter, and you can at last open your mouth to speak to the other person without fear. Or, the present form of the relationship will simply fall away altogether, for it is not needed.

I assure you—there is no particular way in which you have to do things. You will not be condemned for your loving, nor for the ways in which you love. You may go forth freely—but only if you choose to be free.

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