WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO RELATE ?
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO RELATE?
Because you are not yet. There is an inner emptiness and the fear that if you relate with somebody, sooner or later you will be exposed as empty. Hence it seems safer to keep a distance with people; at least you can pretend you are.
You are not. You are not yet born, you are only an opportunity. You are not yet a fulfillment — and only two fulfilled persons can relate. To relate is one of the greatest things of life: to relate means to love, to relate means to share. But before you can share, you must have. And before you can love you must be full of love, overflowing with love.
Two seeds cannot relate, they are closed. Two flowers can relate; they are open, they can send their fragrances to each other, they can dance in the same sun and in the same wind, they can have a dialogue, they can whisper. But that is not possible for two seeds. Seeds are utterly closed, windowless — how to relate?
And that is the situation. Man is born as a seed; he can become a flower, he may not. It all depends on you, what you do with yourself; it all depends on you whether you grow or you don’t. It is your choice — and each moment the choice has to be faced; each moment you are on the crossroads.
Millions of people decide not to grow. They remain seeds; they remain potentialities, they never become actualities. They don’t know what self-realization is, they don’t know what self-actualization is, they don’t know anything of being. Utterly empty they live, utterly empty they die. How can they relate?
It will be exposing yourself — your nudity, your ugliness, your emptiness — safer, it seems, to keep a distance. Even lovers keep distance; they come only so far, and they remain alert to when to turn back. They have boundaries; they never cross the boundaries, they remain confined to their boundaries.
Yes, there is a kind of relationship, but it is not that of relating, it is that of possession: the husband possesses the wife, the wife possesses the husband, the parents possess the children, and so on and so forth. But to possess is not to relate. In fact to possess is to destroy all possibilities of relating. If you relate, you respect; you cannot possess. If you relate, there is great reverence. If you relate, you come very close, very very close, in deep intimacy, overlapping. Still the others freedom is not interfered with, still the other remains an independent individual. The relationship is that of I-thou, not that of I-it — overlapping, interpenetrating, yet in a sense independent.
Khalil Gibran says: “Be like two pillars that support the same roof, but don’t start possessing the other, leave the other independent. Support the same roof — that roof is love.”
Two lovers support something invisible and something immensely valuable: some poetry of being, some music heard in the deepest recesses of their existence. They support both, they support some harmony, but still they remain independent. They can expose themselves to the other, because there is no fear. They know they ARE. They know their inner beauty, they know their inner perfume; there is no fear.
But ordinarily the fear exists, because you don’t have any perfume. If you expose yourself you will simply stink. You will stink of jealousies, hatreds, angers, lust. You will not have the perfume of love, prayer, compassion.
Millions of people have decided to remain seeds. Why? When they can become flowers and they can also have a dance in the wind and the sun and the moon, why have they decided to remain seeds? There is something in their decision: the seed is more secure than the flower. The flower is fragile; the seed is not fragile, the seed looks stronger. The flower can be destroyed very easily; just a strong wind and the petals will blow away. The seed cannot be destroyed so easily by the wind, the seed is very protected, secure. The flower is exposed — such a delicate thing, and exposed to so many hazards: a strong wind may come, it may rain cats and dogs, the sun may be too hot, some foolish man may pluck the flower. Anything can happen to the flower, everything can happen to the flower, the flower is constantly in danger. But the seed is safe; hence millions of people decide to remain seeds. But to remain a seed is to remain dead, to remain a seed is not to live at all. It is secure, certainly, but it has no life. Death is secure, life is insecurity. One who really wants to live has to live in danger, in constant danger. One who wants to reach to the peaks has to take the risk of getting lost. One who wants to climb the highest peaks has to take the risk of falling from somewhere, slipping down.
The greater is the longing to grow, the more and more danger has to be accepted. The real man accepts danger as his very style of life, as his very climate of growth.
You ask me, Shanta: “Why is it so difficult to relate?”
It is difficult because you are not yet. First be. Everything else is possible only afterwards: first be.
Jesus says it in his own way: “First seek ye the kingdom of God, then all else shall be added unto you.” This is just an old expression for the same thing that I am saying: First be, then all else shall be added unto you.
But being is the basic requirement. If you are, courage comes as a consequence. If you are, great desire for adventure, to explore, arises — and when you are ready to explore, you can relate. Relating is exploring — exploring the others consciousness, exploring the others territory. But when you explore the others territory, you have to allow and welcome the other to explore you; it cannot be one-way traffic. And you can allow the other to explore you only when you have something, some treasure within you. Then there is no fear. In fact you invite the guest, you embrace the guest, you call him in, you want him in. You want him to see what you have discovered in yourself, you want to share it.
First be, then you can relate — and remember, to relate is beautiful. Relationship is a totally different phenomenon; relationship is something dead, fixed, a full point has arrived. You get married to a woman; a full point has arrived. Now things will only decline. You have reached the limit, nothing is growing any more. The river has stopped and it is becoming a reservoir. Relationship is already a thing, complete; relating is a process. Avoid relationships, and go deeper and deeper into relating.
My emphasis is on verbs, not on nouns; avoid nouns as much as possible. In language you cannot avoid, that I know; but in life, avoid — because life is a verb. Life is not a noun, it is really “living” not “life.” It is not love, it is loving. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not a dance, it is dancing.
See the difference, savor the difference. A dance is something complete; the last touches have been made, now there is nothing else to do. Something complete is something dead. Life knows no full point; commas are okay, but no full points. Resting places are okay, but no destination.
Instead of thinking how to relate, fulfill the first requirement: meditate, be, and then relating will arise out of it on its own accord. One who becomes silent, blissful, one who starts having overflowing energies, becomes a flower, has to relate. It is not something that he has to learn how to do, it starts happening. He relates with people, he relates with animals, he relates with trees, he relates even with rocks.
In fact, twenty-four hours a day he relates. If he is walking on the earth, he is relating with the earth… his feet touching the earth, he is relating. If he is swimming in the river he is relating with the river, and if he is looking at the stars he is relating with the stars.
It is not a question of a relationship with somebody in particular. The basic fact is, if you are, your whole life becomes a relating. It is a constant song, a constant dance, it is a continuum, a river like flow.
Meditate, find out your own center first. Before you can relate with somebody else, relate with yourself: that is the basic requirement to be fulfilled. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.
From : The Book of Wisdom ch. 27