It is always refreshing to hear someone else's insight - especially from someone with deep wisdom - on things that relate to aspects of our daily lives. This occurred for me at a lecture by Dr. Vasant Lad , BAM&S, MASc from the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. The subject for the lecture on Friday night was "Detoxifying with Ayurveda", in which Dr. Lad discussed the intricate process of detoxing our bodies through diet, exercise and herbs. He then moved into discussing the process of detoxing our minds and emotions through meditation, pranayama (breath work) and mantric chanting. Yet, from here he went even deeper - to something I hadn't consciously considered before - into detoxifying our relationships.
In relation to our bodies, he referred to the red blood cells as our "sangha" (our community) within our bodies and said that dis-ease can accumulate and cause trouble if we don't let go of the stagnant build up in our sangha by detoxing. With this same concept, our partnerships can have painful memories, imprints and patterns lodged within it that can cause difficulty.
When things "get under our skin", it is more challenging to be in a loving and receptive space. We begin to react defensively when our partners point out things that are troubling to them. We may react by denying, numbing out or completely ignoring their feelings. Yet, if we are able to really LISTEN (Dr. Lad emphasized this) to our partners in an open and compassionate way, things can shift and detoxify quite effectively. He pointed out that it is only because our partners actually care that they are taking the time to share something that is disturbing to them. If they didn't care or didn't love us, why would they even bother being vulnerable with us and sharing their feelings?
Of course it's hard to hear criticism, yet putting the ego aside (the one that would feel bruised) and seeing the value in what is being shared can open up new possibilities. Relationships are a mirror - they offer a place where we can see where we are being critical, afraid, angry and hurtful. We can step outside of our ourselves and look at the ways we move and react due to patterns from the past. We can also step outside of the situation and take a few deep breaths, chant or meditate - even with our partner - to connect with that which sees it all and is untouched by the criticism. From here, we are able to love the soul of our partner and the soul of ourselves, seeing that we are both trying our best to live from a place of wholeness. Quite beautifully, behind the confusion and emotion that we need to face and move through is Illumination. And without expectation of what our relationships are supposed to be, we can love what is and be in the space of openness and compassion. This person standing in front of us is our Self - the inner and outer worlds are the same. How could we not be open and loving to this being that reflects who we are?
Dr. Lad offered a conclusion to this possibility of cleansing our relationships by saying that when we are able to live this way, each day becomes a honeymoon, meaning "sweet tranquility". This may seem far away right now, but spending some time each day, recognizing our true nature and our partner's true nature through meditation, conscious breathing and open sharing, can shift patterns. If we are able to detoxify our past and fully live in the present, with this beautiful person who we are blessed to know and share our lives with, can become sweet nectar. Honoring our relationships in this way can not only detoxify them, but also create more love that can then spread into other areas of our lives. From here, all of live becomes sweet and held by a foundation of peacefulness, even when challenging things are occurring on the surface.
Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute can be found at: www.ayurveda.com