Is it possible to change one’s experience of relationship with the world around them? Absolutely; a basic optimism towards life, founded in deep spiritual awareness can positively influence the results.
In most parts of India people connect with each other using the greeting; Namaste or Namaskar, in place of the English-speaking world’s greeting of Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening. Sometimes it also stands for Good Bye or Good Night. Taken literally, Namaste means “I bow to you.” The word is derived from Sanskrit namas: to bow, obeisance, reverential salutation; and te: “to you.” Usually this greeting is accompanied by a slight bow made with hands press together, palms touching and fingers pointed-upwards, in front of the chest. This gesture is also performed without words and still carries the same renamingthat I wish to relate to you with respect and reverence.
If we were to interpret this gesture spiritually, one hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self. By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above his/her differences with others, and to connect oneself with the person they bow to. In this context the gesture is a symbolic bow of love and respect proclaiming the belief: Ultimately you and I are one, and the world around you and Iis one. Another interpretation of the greeting is “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.”
The basis of all relationships is the above understanding, namely, that we are connected to everyone and everything at its core. Once we accept this meaning of relationship we begin to look at the world around us with an optimistic outlook, and we are able to solve all of our relationship problems.
Recreating the world around us
I feel alone. No one seems to care.” This is a statement we often hear from people who are depressed and ill. Such people often wait for others to show them love and care, but they hardly experience it because their pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They feel that they are the victims of fate and the selfishness of other people. However, if we are able to connect with people with a basic optimistic attitude and acknowledge that the world around us is our own creation, we will be able to overcome the challenge of feeling alone. This awareness gives us the courage to recreate the word around us.
One of the ways to recreate the world around us is to believe that there is some goodness in everyone and then acknowledge that goodness. Whenever we start a conversation with someone we could silently tell ourselves, “I love you” (if we are uncomfortable with that we could modify it by saying, “I like the goodness in you”) and then express that optimism through a smile. This smile and silent praise will create a friendly and supportive world around us.
Optimism can heal the tragic loneliness
Very often people express their concern that family and other relationships are major sources of stress in their lives. Tensions in the relationships with one’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, and close friends create stress. Stress management involves easing the tension by experiencing the other as an “extension of oneself.”
Sometimes people complain about a vicious circle: ” I feel nobody cares about me, so I do not trust that anybody who is showing some care really means it. Someone may be showing some care to get something out of me. So I turn them off. I then start feeling even more miserable.” We can break this vicious circle by beginning to believe, “people do care because it is their essential nature to care.” Yes, an optimistic outlook that people are essentially good, can cut through this vicious circle.
Family and relationships are assets
This optimism would mean that everyone around us is an asset. If we consider our family, certainly, our spouses or partners are assets. “I am fortunate that I have you as my spouse” is a statement we would want to repeat to our spouse or companion as often as we can. We will be able to express this through our words and actions. Even if there might have been differences in the past, they melt away in the warmth of our love. “I am lucky to have you as my lover’ could also be coupled with a smile and a bow. Couples may condition themselves by having an understanding that every time they smile to each other and bow to each other they mean to say “I am lucky to have you.” This gesture could be repeated often in all interactions with each other. This could bring about amazing positive changes in relationships.
Our children are our assets. Many of us experience unconditional love towards our children. When we experience it we also could express it in words and actions, sometimes even by ignoring their negative behaviors. This unconditional love will save us from the experience, “I feel alone.”
Our parents are our assets, whether they are alive or dead today. The love we experienced lives forever. By acknowledging the goodness in them (while ignoring the negative experiences, if any) we can create a friendly and positive world around us. It helps us not to feel alone.
Our siblings are our assets, whether they seem to care about us or not. If we focus only on the good experiences with them we will begin to appreciate their love. Their success will be good news to us because we feel connected. Jealousy, on the other hand, makes us feel isolated and unhappy.
Our friends are our assets. When we love unconditionally, we feel loved unconditionally. We do not need to count what we get out of our friendship, but we feel happy that we can love and feel loved.
There is an elating experience of joy as we acknowledge that we are connected to the world around us. When we breathe in, for example, we acknowledge breathing in billions of molecules of oxygen which came from the plant world around us As we breathe out we realize that billions of molecules of carbon dioxide which used to be part of us (from our heart, lungs, eyes, brain and so on) are going out to be part of the plant world around us. “What used be part of a leaf is now part of my hand. What used to be part of my face is now part of a trunk of a tree,” is a valid experience we all have. We feel connected to the universe around us, literally! When the ancient sages of India proclaimed, “I am Thou” (Tatvam Asi), they were proclaiming this connectedness. We are blessed to be part of the world around us – part of what we experience around us is who we are!
Antony Chatham, LCSW, M. Th., M.Phil, MSW, NBCCH, a Licensed Psychotherapist, a Wellness Coach, and a Fellow of the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists, employs Eastem and Westem approaches to Hofisfic Healing while specializing in UTOPIAN WELLNESS COACHING, a mind-body-spirit approach to WELLNESS. In his work he integrates his knowledge and experience, related to the fields of psychology, theology, and philosophy.
Antony has been training professionals in the U.S. and in India in the areas of stress management and mind-body health for the past seventeen years He lectures and counsels at The Hippocrates Health Institute offering state-of the-art Stress Management using Hypnotherapy Progressive Relaxation EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Guided Imagery, Regression, Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual consultation. He creates an audio CD in most indiidual sessions (except in regression or EMDR sessions), and suggests listening to It consistently for goal achievement and stress management He Is available for consultations at the Oasis Therapy Center. (561) 471-5867
Vol 27 Issue 3 Page 19