Relationships are the stuff of life. Whether it’s loved ones, colleagues, or neighbours, relationships are key. We constantly have to relate to others – they’re fundamental to how we experience life.
For Couplepreneurs, this is even more of a touchpoint. As co-founder of London Meditation Centre and New York Meditation Center with my partner, Michael, I know this first-hand. We work, live and play, and raise our daughter together. And because our work is so much a part of our lives, there are fewer defined boundaries between work and personal time. It means our relationship must be flexible, resilient, and full of understanding.
In our work as Vedic Meditation teachers, we witness the power of meditation. Our students report more nourishing and functional relationships. So much so, that when people learn to meditate, it’s one of the first areas they notice positive change.
“I’m better able to listen”
“I feel more at ease around people”
“I’m more confident about my personal and emotional boundaries”
“My son and I have had more fun together”
“I’m calmer and more patient and loving”
Often, changes in close, personal relationships get highlighted most quickly. And new meditators also report a shift in the way they interact with other people – whether it be the person serving them a coffee, or the tourist asking for directions on the street corner.
Why is meditation such a powerful tool for bringing about an upgrade to relationships?
1. Relationships are all about giving
This is the fundamental principle that lies behind all relating: what you give is what you get. Give kindness and get kindness. Pay attention and receive attention. Offer up stress and you’ll get stress back.
So what are you giving?
Are you giving tiredness, neediness, impatience, mixed messages, doubt or selfishness?
Or are you giving awareness, kindness, friendliness, patience, clarity, generosity?
Meditation transforms what you bring to a relationship. Without fatigue and stress getting in the way, you bring awareness and energy to the other person. Then you give what’s needed and of value in the moment.
2. Good relationships depend on empathy
To experience empathy is to understand and share the feelings of another person.
When you’re stressed, you lose the ability to recognize the experience and feelings of others. When you’re caught in the cycle of stress reaction, you go in to survival mode. “How do I get through the day?” “How do I get what I want?” It’s all about ‘I, me, mine’. With meditation it moves to ‘we, us, our’.
Meditation removes stress. When you’re not stressed you can think beyond yourself. What does the other person need? Why are they behaving like this? What is she feeling right now? How can I help?
When you’re able to move past ‘what about me?’ and into ‘what about us?’, relationships are transformed.
3. Staying in the present moment is key.
Meditation makes you more alert to the present. Rather than worrying about the past or speculating about the future, you’re able to hold the present moment and tune in to the reality of the situation.
When you’re more aware of the present, you perceive more clearly. Then you act in a way that is based on what’s actually going on, rather than some mistaken idea based on what you imagine. This immediately upgrades your interactions with other people. Perhaps you need to listen more, ask different questions, give someone some space, or step up and do something? Awareness of the present will give you the information you need to help you and the people around you.
Meditation is key to keeping all three of these aspects lively and stable in your relationships. Give that which is of value, connect with others based on reality and stay tuned into the present moment. Your relationships will be stronger and more balanced.
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