Relationship Problems?: Valentine’s Day Prescription
Feb 12, 2022 (reprinted from February 2021)
One day in New York City, I passed a many-windowed bookstore and stopped to look more closely at an unusual window display. There must have been 20 books in this one display, all focused on relationships, with titles like Women Who Love Too Much; Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them; and He’s Just Not That Into You. To my great delight, there was a big sign that the window designer had placed in the front of all these books that said: Women Who Read Too Much.
Don’t mistake me—I strongly support the intention of women to improve their relationships. I believe that we can benefit by considering the ideas of those who have become experts in this field through education, research, deep thought and experience. But I’m also confident that, without the means to grow full within ourselves as a basis for psychological and emotional progress, the words in the books will simply remain in the books.
The Ability to Give
The reason that so many relationships fail is that neither participant is able to do better. When we’re stressed, our mind is clouded and our heart is small like a shallow pond. How can a shallow pond flow over? A shallow pond cannot rise in big waves nor can a pinched heart grace the relationship with waves of love. Our hearts and minds, hampered by stress from experiences of disappointment and loss, are encumbered with doubt and fear–disallowing the full flow of pure love and appreciation. From that shallow psychological and emotional state, we may spend most of our time seeking more from the other person.
The first rule of relationship success is to experience and expand our own fullness of spirit–the ocean of joy that is the very essence of self. You may think that all you are capable of is all you have always been capable of—but the truth is that we have a reservoir of unlimited potential within to tap. At the deepest level of our inner self is an unbounded ocean of potential; by repeatedly transcending–allowing our attention to go deeply within—to the direct experience of that ocean, our love and life will be redefined.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the TM program and of the global organizations that promote peace through development of consciousness, wrote:
The basic fundamental of behavior should be to give. When you are going to meet someone, think what you are going to give him, whether it be a concrete gift of a beautiful object, words of greeting, warm sympathy, praise, adoration, love, elevating advice, or good news for his body, mind, or soul…. The art of behavior is such that the first moment of the meeting should have a real value of the meeting of the two hearts. Thus, we find that the first fundamental in the art of behavior is: meet with warmth, and meet to give…. This sincere sense of giving can only arise on the level of contentment. The contented hearts and minds alone can think in terms of giving. This eternal contentment can only come through the development of bliss consciousness.
As research has indicated, this “eternal contentment” can be developed quickly through Transcendental Meditation.
If a relationship isn’t comfortable and flowing in joy, we cannot pound it into shape–our first priority is to enliven the qualities of tolerance, love, joy and kindness within our own nature.
The Health Impact of Disappointing Relationships
When desires are not fulfilled and disappointment floods the heart, there is actually physical stress that lodges itself in our physiology. Dr Suzanne Steinbaum, nationally acclaimed cardiologist and expert on women and heart disease, explains:
A significant part of a heart healthy life includes happy and positive relationships. For some, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. That stress can lead to an increase in the “fight or flight” hormones and inflammation, leading to plaque in the arteries. The relentless force of emotional stress can manifest physically, and learning how to manage stress is the key to preventing stress related disease. Transcendental Meditation can reduce stress hormones and help to manage the stress related emotional responses. As a twice-a-day tool, TM can be an effective way of managing some of the most emotional and stressful parts of our lives.
Heart and Mind
When joy in the heart is naturally cultivated, it overflows. It engenders kindness and tolerance—solid foundations for good relationships. The root of harmonious behavior also lies in a refined state of mind, easily gained by the repeated experience of subtler levels of thought during the Transcendental Meditation technique. When the minds of both participants are broadened and refined then they can see the whole situation, understand the intent and the needs of each other more thoroughly, and form their behavior accordingly. Your inner happiness radiates to your partner who is nourished by it and is most likely to naturally reflect it back to you as the relationship gains the influence of peace and harmony.
Love is Unifying
Differences will always abide in a couple’s personalities, desires, thoughts and behavior. A pine tree is not a spruce tree is not a fir tree is not a larch. But they live together harmoniously in a forest, with their roots in a common source of nourishment. In our relationships, when stress is alleviated—and competitiveness, resentment and anger dissolve with it—we find ourselves united with our partner in a pure and powerful love that has room for, and celebrates, our differences.
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals, a division of TM for Women in the USA
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