By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 10-06-2010

The whole
universe is a network of physical, emotional, and spiritual relationships.
While a relationship is not an entity in itself, it connects two or more
entities. A human society cannot be conceived without relationships. When
relationships among individuals, families, communities and nations are cordial,
trusting, and non-exploitative, the world functions smoothly, and gives
opportunities for everyone’s growth and development. Any healthy relationship
is based on two key elements: trust and mutuality. Trust is generated from
reliability and predictability. Without mutuality and reciprocity, a
relationship is one-sided and unequal. In an unequal relationship, one pursues
the other or one is more needed than the other. The relationship is at the whim
and mercy of the other in an unequal relationship. In such a relationship one
party calls all the shots, and often manipulates the neediness of the other.
Persons stay in a relationship for various reasons. Humans by nature are
relational. They are born out of a relationship; they grow up and live in
relationships. Their whole life is marked by relationships. Some, for instance,
stay in an unequal relationship hoping it will change in time. Sometimes an
unequal relationship is better than no relationship at all in that it at least
keeps some kind of connectedness. A parent might stay in an unequal
relationship with a child hoping that the child might change for a mutually
beneficial relationship with age, maturity, and wisdom.

A healthy
relationship is the most enjoyable and satisfying happening in the world.
Without it, life is not really worth living. In it there is sensitivity,
thoughtful consideration, fond affection, and respect for the other; there is
love and surrendering; absolutely no exploitation or use of the other. Both are
sovereign subjects. It is marked by frequent sharing and communication. Both
take calculated risks, yet the relationship is not based on opportunism or
convenience. There is no conscious selfishness. While one or the other may be
used or exploited in the initial stages of a relationship, the unhealthy and
pathological elements are gradually eliminated with thoughtful communication
and mutual feed-back. In my thinking, hell, if there is one, is marked by
selfishness. I am reminded of a little story that indicates the difference
between heaven and hell. In heaven and hell everything is the same except the
attitude of the people. In both places in the middle of the dining hall, there
is a delicious and nutritious potion that all like. The long ladles to scoop
out the liquid food are tied to the arms in such a way that the elbows cannot
be bent to feed themselves. In heaven one person feeds another; in hell each
one tries to feed self in vain. Selfishness marked by self-centeredness is the
root of all evil. Selfishness does not permit to give to the other person the
advantage, opportunity, and freedom one enjoys. Love, the most precious gift
humans have, functions only in the medium of a relationship. Relationship
problems lead to conflicts even wars. We are living in a world where trust is
waning and distrust is waxing. Distrust is the greatest emotional cancer that
eats into the very marrow of humanity, and destroys countless relationships. We
need to change this climate of suspicion and distrust where death and
destruction reign. A new world order wherein good and healthy relationships
characterized by non-violent love, sharing resources, and compassionate
relating is needed now more than ever for sheer survival of humanity. This
world order alone can prove wrong the fundamentalist and fanatic prophets of
doom, gloom, and rapture, and, above all, thwart evil terrorists bent on
indiscriminate death and destruction.  A
good and healthy relationship may be compared to a lush tropical paradise where
everything thrives, flourishes, and blooms. On the other hand, a bad, unhealthy,
and conflict-ridden relationship may be compared to a barren desert where
everything withers and dies.

About The Author

Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti

Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.