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  • Seyran Maryam Khalili

The Philosophy about 'us-ness’

Photo by Birmingham Museums; Trust on Unsplash Kennet, 1883, By William Morris

I once took a sabbatical. For months, I essentially did only what inspired me, what gave me joy and fueled positive energy. It was the most spiritually inspiring time of my life. Pretty much all I did was meditate, enjoy my yoga classes, read, hiked and slept. Above all – wrote. There was no plan, no "shoulds". What mattered was how I understood "Maitri" (loving-kindness toward oneself – Pema Chödrön) – from that developing an awakening to fundamental happiness and contentment that I'd never known before. I had not written this article if it weren't for these fleeting months of reflective thought.

I had spent much of the last decade thinking about the development of the future of relations. Well before this sabbatical, I had sought the well-known "eat-pray-love" trail of thoughts:

"I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you." Or so I've come to believe." (Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, pray, love).

Physics and mortals

I wondered if there wasn't some physics for the future of relations. Maybe two forces repelled; perhaps the forces could only be attracted to ordinary humans.

Do you know what the odds of making a balanced relationship between two entities last are? I didn't. I couldn't help wondering if it ever dissolved or if it simply…broke…Years of building up relationships with our loved ones, families, friends. Some lasting. Some are ending in a break. If I were a philosopher, I'd be batting…whatever bad is.

A break can mean so much. First, it can ruin people's acute lives, sense of security and trust over time. But more than anything, it destroys our conversations. The most important ones. Without those, we can get nowhere.

The fact is the first days after the break are quite messy and in a condition of survival. Unfortunately, the most important thing for the partner who is breaking up is to mark distance rather than showing empathy. But this takes us apart from the bigger picture. What we should instead do, is to lift our eyes on the overall dynamic. And this is often not enough put into attention in the first phase, especially if one is not open to listening to complex thoughts and solving issues.

I've lived alone and been to many different spheres of life, seen a division between east and west. There is not enough room to divide the power balance. For the moments you would be proud of, those are the moments you would want to share - regardless. How indifferent those little fights may seem. Bigger questions. Much bigger. As Pema Chödron so delicately puts it, "making friends with our demons and their accompanying insecurity leads to an effortless, understated relaxation and joy."

We still have time, for time doesn't build on minutes but moments.

The future of relations

So, what about philosophy about 'us-ness? That we have different identities and are challenged by personal standing points. What can give us this feeling of a 'we'... That it is wiser to focus together. That we nicely must accept that in a relation, we meet our deepest emotions and mirror each other in ways we choose to handle them. Are you sensitive? Then it can be wise to listen to the conversation. Think about what empathy and tolerance mean to you whilst telling the other how you want your partner to deal with it. If one doesn't do that, you actively take away any chance for communication.

What's frightening is no communication. Easily burnt, short-sighted and infantile, sometimes totalitarian thoughts of courses, principles, rules, and shut down of conversations. When ideas are supposed to be closed, words forbidden, and distance implemented. Is this supposed to help? This is how someone with fear and insecurity thinks - that one is undefined and not reliable. The right person is often the most scared to be tested, on the other hand.

The break pushes us into the direction of these types of conversation. Unfortunately, we gradually are pulled away without mutual communication and go each other into different poles into a survival mode. We are often paralyzed at the thought of a break where it takes us. Dissolution. To be in dissolution.

That's not good. We need to go on a cooperative level.

The path is the goal

We must think of it like this: the outer edges are precisely that, outer edges. We will fall if we continue to push each other towards the edge - and then it turns wrong. The middle is not only important, the middle is the centre. The break doesn't imply we are incompetent, but it only means the centre is suppressed and attacked. We must take care of the middle centre of where everything comes from and hold a circle around everything we hold dear.

We must dare to stand in the unknown, to stand firm by one's self by oneself alone. This is the path to go for the seeking human. In this path, every act counts. Every thought and emotion count too. This is all the path we have. Here we come to understand why we need to mend our relations, for we are only here living for a short while, not even long enough to witness all its wonders.

Suppose we are at last willing to see the difference between the broad, valuable midway and the extreme edges. In that case, this break can be a source of growth and renewable for a new spring.

Dear reader, should you ask me “Well, how is this future of relationships?” The answer is simple. Learn to stand in the unknown. This should be our goal in the world: Learn to stand by oneself by one self alone. This is the notion of being on the straight path. Every man and every woman have an excellent opportunity to understand the known and the unknown in the world in every day of our lives. In the absence of the other, learn the language of the unseen.


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