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January 09, 2006


The first session of the New Year started off with questions from Manju, Jags, Dinesh and Kamala on relationship:

Among married couple, many women seem to have a natural emotional dependence on men. Men don�t know how to deal with it and women blame it on their nature. What can couples do to cope with it?

Everyone creates an image about oneself and others and most relationships are relationships between images. Are we constantly manipulating with images in our relationships?

How can we invite people into a conversation or to participate in any activity in order to build a community?

What is an image of a person?

Prasad invited one of the participants to describe someone she knows, and she came up with five descriptions � all of them were positive. When asked to describe herself, she came up with many negatives. Just with two descriptions, everyone could see a pattern � when it comes to others, she prefers to think positive and about herself, she is more critical.

Prasad said that if one describes five people, the descriptions would reveal what kind of image the describer could have about oneself. Because, just like sand getting deposited by the riverside, our citta (mind) accumulates impressions. These impressions are all we have to construct images and hence relationships. So the descriptions we use to create an image of someone are the same descriptions (and their opposites) available to us to create an image about our own self. In other words, to know what image we have about ourselves, we just need to describe a few people. Others are our mirrors and relationships are powerful means to know about oneself.

Prasad then asked a participant her permission to allow another participant to describe her. She did not give the permission because she said that the other person will surely be critical of her. This tells us that even if we know that we are holding on to images, the mere knowledge cannot help us because we are attached to the images.

While the data in our memory that gives raise to the images cannot be purged, our attachment with them can be. Which is why, Prasad said, Patanjali begins Yoga sutra with, �Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodha�, that is, the aim of Yoga is the intentional stopping of the spontaneous fluctuations of consciousness (so the Yogi may see what is beyond surface appearances).

So instead of operating from our knowledge (which we are attached to), if we are aware of the impressions we create (or supplied by our mind) in the present moment and pay attention to them when they come up, we can stop being reactive and this allows the right action to emerge. Reflecting on the emergent action and its results gives us greater insight into what is.

This process, Prasad said, is not an easy one to follow. It requires real commitment and complete awareness. If we look into the entire human history, we can see that people change, rulers change, cultures change, technologies change�. But the stories remain the same. All the stories revolve around the vices and virtues that control us which are formed from the negative and positive images we form about ourselves and others. This is way we have social archetypes. But hope comes from the fact that even if one person is bold enough to break away from his images, that has a ripple effect on the people around him and gives everyone else the courage to face their own images.

All images are thought patterns and our ideals, beliefs, standards, expectations are all formed from our images. So to break away from images, one should first be aware of the images one is attached to.

Prasad suggested an experiment to take home. He asked all the participants to write 25 words that describe them and another 25 words that they think others will use to describe them. Looking through these words, he said, we could get a pretty good idea of the kind of box each one of us put ourselves into. Once we are aware of what is in our box, that very awareness will become the first step to get out of the box.

True relationship is the one that goes beyond mental images and communes with the universal spirit present in everyone.

To quote Ramdass, �In India, when people meet, they say Namaste. It means, "I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We are One."

Posted by Ragu at January 9, 2006 10:40 AM