The word “relate” (re + late) is to mean to connect with what has just immediately past – to refer to the previous, prior to the present moment. Do you know that we can only be aware of something after it arises, not concurrently or otherwise? We can only be aware of anger after it arises, not before. As such it is beyond my capacity to say “I must not be angry” or “I should not be angry” for what has arisen cannot be instructed not to arise. It is like telling myself I do not want to experience the next moment, and yet the next moment comes, and another and another – who am I to say I don’t want it? Nature takes its course – who am I to dictate nature?
Similarly it is like forcing myself not to hear, except hearing is constantly occurring, irrelevant whether I want to or don’t want to hear. Hearing is none of my business. Hearing is nature. And the nature of hearing takes its own course, irrelevant of my needs of wanting or not wanting it. Do I have a choice in hearing? No. I am subjected to hearing unless and until the sense itself is impaired.
So what is relationship then? To be precise, relationship is our relation to nature – in short, relating to what comes up in me. In the normal terminology of relationship, we talk about relating to another, the affair or dynamics of relation. Yet in reality, there is no relationship out there “out there” except the way we relate to what comes into our space. In other words, we can’t relate to others except ourselves, though by form, there is an illusionary object for us to connect to.
On a deeper reality, everything is already on my plate, the cards changing itself each moment. I don’t have any say in it since what comes to me is beyond my needs, not to talk of expectations. Next comes a process that determines by next moment – my relationship to it. Anger arises – my relationship with anger determines the next moment. Guilt comes – my relationship with guilt charts my next experience. Unforgiveness forms – my relationship with unforgiveness spells my future emotion. Everything – yes EVERYTHING that comes up is no longer something I can take charge of – except how I respond to it. And “everything” does not come in spurts – it comes constantly to me, whether I am ready for it or not.
Imagine a scene of arrows coming your way that has no intervals and more importantly, no end except you constantly responding to it without a break. That is the reality of the game of this mind – no rest. When nature knocks at my door, I am subjected to play the game of relationship, what choice do I have except how I play it? It is like entering the arena of a game and you have to flow with the game until it ends. But does the game of life ends? No. It doesn’t and it has no intervals. Not even in sleep. Dreams follow. You are relating to it all the time, irrespective whether you are conscious of it or not. It is on autopilot mode. Your experience of the now is predetermined by your unconscious reaction to what has just passed, albeit a brief moment ago. This is it – the truth of existence.
And all our relationship to nature, to what comes to us constantly, is unconscious. It is a life of weary patterns, if ever we define that as Life. How do we change the dynamic of relating, of our relationship to each passed immediate moment? Do we have a choice? Yes, only if we remember to be ever present to the way the relationship is occurring. Mindfulness is the beginning journey of wakefulness to this incessant process of relationship.
To observe and to recognize the dynamics of causal relationship of what passed and the reaction to it is wisdom at work. Overtime the maturity of this understanding brings about a new level of responding to what is. And that’s when a new way of relationship is formed – wisdom relating to what occurred instead of the usual ignorant automated reactions.
So when unforgiveness arise, stop targeting at anyone. It is a byproduct of how one relates to an internal experience that has just passed. It is the consequence of the way we relate to what is, not someone out there. To heal it, we have to awaken ourselves to this process. Only then can true peace and freedom come to our fold.