#1: A Relationship with Our Self
Mullah (to his wife): I think you should spend a few days in solitude, with yourself
Wife: But Mullah! I would get so bored being alone!
Mullah: My dear, if you find yourself boring, then how can you be interesting for others?
We spend a lot of our time and energy on relationships with others, but hardly any time on our relationship with ourselves. “If you don’t have a relationship with yourself, all other relationships become shallow. And if your relationship with yourself is so profound and steady then you naturally develop the skill to handle any kind of relationship around you,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Meditation develops your relationship with your Self.
#2: Freedom from Doubt
Mullah’s wife to her mother-in-law: I love you, ammi (mother).
Mother-in-law: Really? (Her eyes widen)
Mullah’s wife: Actually, not so much.
Mother-in-law: I knew it! Mullaaaaah!!
The mind has a tendency to always doubt the positive and cling to the negative. Doubt destroys relationships. When does a doubt arise? When you have a low level of prana or life-force energy. Meditation maintains your prana level and helps your mind to be free from doubts and confusions.
#3: Demand Destroys Love
Mulla’s wife (furious): Mullaaaa!!
Mulla: Yes, my dear (smiling)
Mulla’s wife: Why only four birthday gifts this year? Last year there were five!! So you don’t love me the same anymore?
Mulla: I love you the same but prices have increased!
Giving gifts and attention is a part of every relationship. However, after some time, demand creeps in because we want proof of being loved. This demand can become a burden on the relationship very easily. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Demand destroys love”. How can we escape this insecurity and need for proof? How can we take it for granted that we are loved? Here, meditation is the key. It nurtures the qualities of contentment, giving and love in us, so naturally.
#4: Pure Intention and Perfect Expression
Mulla’s wife is dressing up for a party.
Mulla (lovingly): You look so slim in this dress, my dear!
Mulla’s wife: Are you trying to say that I look fat in all my other dresses??!
Mullah: No, I’m thinking it may be time to change my glasses.
Often, we find that we want to do or say something but it is understood otherwise. There is a gap, creating misunderstandings. Meditation gives you the ability to see things as they are, understand them in the right spirit and also communicate them in a way that is pleasant. All three – observation, perception and expression – improve with meditation.
Further, meditation purifies our intention. Our ability to wish well for others, to forgive and bless, is also nourished.
#5: Deeper Communication
Mulla and his wife are shopping when he meets his arch rival in the market.
Mulla (pretending to be friendly): Oh hello there! Long time. Let’s catch up over lunch tomorrow?
Rival: Yes, of course. See you soon!
Soon after, Mulla met his grandmother in the same market.
Mulla’s wife: Dadima (grandma)! Mulla is cooking today!
Grandma: Oh ho! Is that so? Let me come and eat then!
Mullah is dismayed and his wife is surprised!
Wife: You were happy to receive your enemy and sad to receive your dadima?
Mulla: His were empty words! Dadima will actually come!
Communication is an important ingredient in the recipe for a healthy relationship. There are various levels of communication - head-to-head, heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul. Each has its place and is subtler than the other. Words and actions have greater impact when there is a feeling associated with them. However, in soul- to-soul communication, words, feelings and actions don’t matter anymore and yet the connection is there. This is perhaps the best communication you can ever have. “Soul-to-soul communication happens only in silence,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
#6: The Power of Your Presence
Mullah (traveling far on a ship, tells his friend): You know, my wife is very intelligent. I paid so much money to make this journey and she is here without spending one rupee!
Friend: Oh! I haven’t seen her around! Where is she?
Mullah: In my mind! I can feel her around all the time!
Words and feelings in a relationship change with time. Even physical appearance doesn’t stay the same. But what remains and is powerful is the person’s presence, so that nothing else matters. Even if you don’t express your feelings the same way as before, or even sit silent for hours together, simply being in each other’s company and knowing that the other person is there for you can be so comforting. This strength in your presence comes when you meditate (preferably when both the partners meditate together) and nurture your relationship with your Self.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's wisdom talks
For relationships to flourish and grow, we need to let go of any past experiences and focus on nurturing the love. That can only happen when we feel happy and free from within. The techniques taught at The Art of Living Happiness Program help you relax and de-stress, become more aware and sensitive towards others in the family and yourself.