News and AnalysisPodcast

On Relationships

On Relationships

This episode walks through the reality that everything from our first breath to our last, and every last wonder in between are relationships. In the end Love is all.

Podcast transcript here

Good morning, I want to offer a quick word about the nature of relations and relationality.

It struck me this morning that absolutely everything in our lives, comprises, constitutes invites, participates, swims in, and speaks to relationships, and relationality. There’s absolutely no part of human life that is not constituted by relationality. 

People who are considered smart, in fact happen to be people who have the capacity to spot relationships where others don’t. Every field, every practical field of study, science, mathematics, physics, medicine, all of these fields of study are nothing other than the capacity to recognize the positioning between two things or more, the dynamics by which these collections of things interact, and to anticipate the outcomes based on those interactions. Everything from the very simplest beginning of learning at all. For example, when one teaches a child how to speak. The child has intentionality. She has a desire to express. And then you have the neuro-linguistic unfolding, in which gradually, you learn to work with several parts of your body, from the lungs up through the tongue, to formulate an expression that matches what you wish to communicate. 

Athletes. The thing that makes a great athlete superior to his or her contemporaries is simply the capacity to read the subtleties of relationship more quickly and more accurately, and in more refined and more elegant ways than his or her competitors. Whether it’s fencing or basketball, or football or billiards, all athletics, that’s the thing we look to see when watching. I have a friend who was into a hockey game last night. A happy outcome for him. His team won in overtime. Hockey is a riot of relationships, at high speeds. All the players, the best in the world, are reading the subtleties of structure of movement of intensity, and anticipating the outcomes of relational configurations. 

Our whole life, even if we never met another human being is nothing but an incessant unfolding of relationality. From the simplest thing, cooking a meal. You have spices, you have the heat of your oil, the height of the flame, the nature of the primary object you’re going to cook or prepare. It’s all relationships from the simplest to the most complex. 

What about the evolution and development of disciplines in one’s life? What are the obstacles? How do I transcend enticements or impulses of things that interfere with my pursuit of the ends I seek to attain? One can move so far into meditative states in which we study the nature of inner relationships, and our particular subjective command over even movements of mind. All of this is the study of relationships in order to attain our desired outcome. Whether it’s a nanosecond in a hockey game, or whether is is a year in meditation, desired outcomes require the adept person to do nothing more than become evermore perfectly skilled at the study or understanding of relationships. 

Take music, for example. Music is nothing other than relationships. Relationships between time, tempo, timbre and various instruments, all the way from the human voice to banging a stick on a rock. They all contribute to music and the beauty that arises from music.  Music is nothing but the command of the composer or singer, or instrumentalist to command, refine and perfect relationships. Listen to how many relational developments happen in these few seconds. [some bars from Irving Berlin]. An infinite piece, somehow magically coming out of the mind and pen of a single great man. 

If that’s the case, in every version of being good at anything, everything that we have to do, from all the way down to survival all the way up to the pursuit of our own enlightenment, all of that is, in fact, nothing more than the command of relationality. 

Why is it the case that this is not the central obsession of every human being? Curiously, I believe that the central obsession of every human being alive is the concept of “I” or “me.” But in a certain way, that’s, that’s hostile to relationality. Or if it’s embraced properly, it’s the beginning of relationality. But it’s not the end of the story. If the “I” or the “me” is predominant, or the end of the story, it’s in violation of every last single moment of our existence from birth to death, which is relation, the only thing that should ever be embraced about the very strong fact of the “I” is its place in relational reality. 

Again, I believe it’s the case, I can’t speculate, but I believe that every human being seeks the infinite love of their life. They seek the one they dream of from morning to night, can’t stay away from, adores, wants to serve and make happy, and around whom happiness knows no bounds. That obviously is the highest, sweetest and most magnificent flower of relationship. But in a certain way, it’s no different than a three year old learning one plus one. Give them a little truck, give them a second little truck. Now how many trucks do you have? This is learning about a relationship. And if every single thing we learn, if you’re a tumbler, or young hockey player, and your coach is training you in the angle of the stick, the velocity of the puck the trajectory or the vector of the person to whom you’re passing, and so forth. It’s all just the introduction of relationships. If all we ever learned in our efforts to strive and become superior and to have command, if all we ever learned is relationships, and we know that the one

desire more than anything, is a perfect bond to the one we love. That’s the sine qua non of relationships. There are four such types of these. How we feel toward our parents, how we feel toward our siblings, how we feel toward our conjugal partners, and how we feel toward children. These are the axes, these are the infrastructure, these are the roads on which our life travels, these four things. In a certain way, every second of life can be seen as a study of what I want to bring to those four loves. In the West most abundantly, my partner, my conjugal partner.

So I just wanted to offer these couple of thoughts, trying to introduce, or maybe it’s obvious to everybody, that there’s never a moment that is not helping us improve toward the sweetest and finest truth of life. Those four relationships. 

Thanks a lot for listening. Talk again soon.