A recurrent question that comes my way is about relationships. Why are they so difficult? Does unconditional love exist? Or, is it a myth?
Generally, human beings have made relationships within frameworks that are comfortable and profitable for themselves. People have physical, psychological, emotional, financial or social needs. To fulfil these needs, they enter into various kinds of associations with others.
If you see this, there is a possibility that you can grow into a relationship of love as per your natural qualities. Or, you can go on fooling yourself that these relationships of convenience, comfort and well-being are actually relationships of love. What most people call love today is little more than a mutual benefit scheme? ‘I love you’ has become a mantra that spells ‘open sesame’. You can get what you want by saying it. I am not saying there is no experience of love at all in these relationships, but it is within certain limitations.
There is really no such thing as conditional love as unconditional love: it is just that there are conditions and there is love. When you talk about love, it has to be unconditional. The moment there is a condition, it just amounts to a transaction. Maybe a good transaction, but, basically, just convenient. Love need not necessarily be convenient. Most of the time it is not.
Love is a quality; it is not something you do. It does not mean acting in a particular way. Once you become pleasant within yourself, love is just the way you are. It is as natural as breathing. It is a way of being that is so overwhelming that who you are becomes unimportant. Once that happens, love simply permeates every area and activity of your life. You will see then that your relationships will become fantastic and disentangling, because you are not trying to give or take; you are not trying to make a deal.
Economics is the basis of our lives, so we believe we must constantly curtail. We think that if we give something, something of equal worth must be returned to us. But joy and love are not in ration. You don’t have to save them for tomorrow. If you throw all the love and joy that you have today on the street, tomorrow you will not be empty.
What you do and do not do, is according to the circumstances around you. Our external actions are always subject to many conditions. But love is an inner state—how you are within yourself can definitely be unconditional.
Perhaps my ideas are old-fashioned, but I have always seen friendships as the overlapping of two lives. Since my childhood, I have never seen sharing as an advantageous transaction. I have always seen friendship as a process of uniting and becoming one—not emotionally, but in terms of life.
I meet people from all walks of life all over the world every day, but I don’t network with them. I simply share something very deep of myself with them in those few moments of being together. For me, that sharing is permanent; it is not just a passing process.
Maybe my behaviour is not socially savvy, but I believe my ability to bond deeply, to form a friendship with anything or anyone—whether it is a tree, a piece of land, a rock, or person—has in many ways been the key which has opened up the many dimensions of life and nature for me.
There is another way to approach this—become totally utilitarian. Use everybody as a device so that you become a better human being every moment. You use people anyway; you’re just not using them properly!
It is not necessary to be against anybody for your ultimate well-being. If you’re thinking of using people towards a small goal, then it could be against their well-being. If you are using people for your ultimate well-being, it is never ever against them. They will benefit and so will you.
Sadhguru, a yogi, is a visionary, humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader (www.ishafoundation.org)