Once upon a time, a student asked her spiritual teacher: "Could you tell me please
what healthy relationships should be like?
I am having trouble with my
closest relationship at the moment."
The master replied with a couple of questions: "Do you feel that your relationship
is nurturing to you?
Do you feel that your relationship
The student thought for a moment: "Nurturing - yes, sometimes.
But purifying? In what sense?"
"Does it burn your ego?
Does it feel like fire
once in a while?"
"Yes, it does."
"Well, there you have it."
The master confirmed. "Any good healthy relationship
must be both nurturing
to your values, beliefs, and ideals,
and uncomfortable, or purifying,
to your ego at the same time.
... So this conversation, for example, is nurturing.
Now please go and wash
all the dishes in the kitchen
and the floor in the bathroom,
- that's purifying."
Healthy Habit #2-1 Take a look
at your closest relationships,
on a regular basis, and question:
Is this nurturing to my Self?
Is this purifying to my ego?
Healthy Habit #2-2 Always seek nurturing & purifying
associations and friendships.
We've heard the saying: "the most important relationship is the one with your Self."
What about other relationships?
Most of them should be healing relationships if we want to experience a healthy lifestyle.
As social animals, human beings need other human beings. We define ourselves and other people through the associations we make.
|Healthy relationships are those associations|
that uplift and inspire us,
that allow us to be ourselves,
and that encourage us to strive toward our personal highest ideals.
Our closest relationship, whether with a parent, a child, a marriage partner, or a friend, can be challenging at times. In those times, it's easy to see fault with others and try to 'help' correct their actions, to 'help' them be a better person.
In every one of those instances, our 'help' and energy are wasted. We can never really affect change in someone by getting them to shape up and clean up their act.
The only person YOU CAN CONTROL IS YOU.
This is where our effort should go:
Can I be different to allow and accept my closest mate the way they are?
Can I be a source of unconditional love for them?
Can I work on being more loving in the face of hardships?
Can I work on being more kind with my words?
Can I work on being more compassionate despite adverse circumstances?
Can I work on being more accepting of others' faults?
Can I work on being more forgiving of others' negative actions?
Can I cultivate an inner strength and resourcefulness to withstand any difficult and negative situation with an inner smile?
Can I be more diligent, more creative, more cooperative?
Healthy Habit #2-3 In your closest relationship,
What quality can you cultivate?
What quality can you have more of?
Another such healing relationship is the presence of a spiritual teacher. Even the most advanced spiritual masters have a teacher.
Having a teacher, or a personal spiritual ally, or mentor, should not be underestimated. It's healing, empowering, uplifting, and grounding.
When I met my teacher, Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga, my life's path became more clear to me. I couldn't remove a smile from my face and a shine from my eyes. Thus, I got the name Surya, which is the name of the shining Sun-deity in the Hindu mythology.
Since then, I have met a few other important spiritual guides on my path. I make an effort to stay connected to them, to be in their healing presence, and get their spiritual guidance.
Healthy Habit #2-4 Find a spiritual mentor/teacher
who resonates with you.
Whether in a yoga setting, or at Toastmasters. It doesn't matter where. They should be able to see you for who you are and take you to the next level of your own evolution. They may even introduce you to their own teacher, or lead you to another source.
Another essential relationship for health is to belong to a group of like-minded individuals who are on the same, or a similar, path as you are.
Group support has shown to be critical in cancer recovery, addiction treatment, and violence prevention.
But why wait till we have a health condition?Healthy Habit #2-5 Find a healing support group,
or a spiritual community.
There are many of them all around. Look into different yoga communities. Check out different healing centers. It has to feel right to you.
Yoga community of like-minded spiritual seekers is called Yoga Sangha. If you can't find a Yoga Sangha in your area, create your own.
You may already have a circle of friends whom you 'hang out' with. Those may or may not be the kind of healthy relationships you need.
If your friends tend to engage in gossip and negative talk, steer clear of it, or allot yourself a limited time for it. Or it will drag your mind (and physical health) down.
As in the above Healthy Habit, such group associations must be uplifting, empowering, and healing to you.
1. Yoga centers/ashrams;
2. Buddhist temples/meditation centers;
3. Theosophical Society (
4. Self-Realization Fellowship (
see their website here);
5. Transcendental Meditation/Mindfulness meditation groups;
6. EXPOs on Holistic Health and Spirituality are also good places to connect to a number of organizations that promote spiritual community and such healthy relationships.
|Disclaimer: The contents of this website are based upon the opinions, research, and experiences of Surya (Slava Kolpakov), unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, or replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or yoga therapist and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.|