Are there certain ingredients that sustain lasting relationships? The general consensus has been that these are love, respect and communication. But times have changed and those three components do not seem to be enough. The fact is, we live in a fast-paced era surrounded by technology that keeps us on our toes.
We all have a relationship with our handheld devices as much as we have a relationship with the person we're sharing dinner with. In between conversations, and sometimes during them, we find information and inspiration through our phone. It's reached a point that we seem to live in two worlds at the same time. So: Could the missing ingredient for a lasting relationship be space?
I understand that, on one level, we all have too much space to ourselves, with our heads buried in our devices. So I'm not implying that we should let the other person be, or push their presence even further away from us during a supposed shared moment. On the contrary, in my opinion it's rude to not give full attention to the person before you. It is a form of disrespect. Rather, I'm suggesting that we give each other space to just be in moments of isolation.
In this era when we're so inundated with information, the space of nothingness is becoming ever more important. And I'm not implying sitting around, doing nothing. There are aspects of 'nothingness' that are actually very proactive. They are called meditation and stillness, and they fuel the human spirit, allowing us to process, reflect and reset in a profound way.
While the human mind is capable of taking on endless obligations and information, it also needs time just to be. It needs time for self-reflection and life-reflection. If you cannot sit in stillness, turn to a hobby. Whether it is golf, walking in nature, playing a musical instrument, or cooking, the activity that fuels your spirit also resets you. However, the most profound tools for aligning our lives back to our Source are stillness and meditation.
When our lives are so mile-a-minute, when time is a luxury, when we feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of our obligations, the thing to do is stop. Take a moment out of the race to catch your breath. Think of your mind as equivalent to your stomach: If you ceaselessly ate without taking into account the effects on your organs, it wouldn't take long to see the damage from your behavior.
Likewise, if you are continuously running your mind like a hamster wheel filled with information, to-do lists, random thoughts and worry about the future, then it will only be a matter of time before you begin to experience the problematic results of this behavior. And the damage you do presents itself in the form of anxiety or illness. Everything begins with the mind. A healthy mind is equivalent to a healthy life. Creating space in the mind through sitting in stillness is an antidote to this chaos.
So again, in a time when we feel more connected to our texts and posts than we do to the people in our lives, I am not implying that we disconnect even more. The essence of our current plight is that we are increasingly lacking in true human connections and bonds. But the most important relationship a person can have is the one with his or her own Self.
If we do not have contentment within, we certainly will not have any to share. Our relationships become much more fulfilling after we become fulfilled in ourselves, from within. It is illusory to seek well-being from other people, as much to seek it in material possessions or job promotions. All of those satisfactions are temporary.
So in a world spilling over with ideas, innovation, materialism and population, the one thing that is lacking is space: Space to be; space to take it all in. And the couples who honor this space are the couples who've incorporated the missing ingredient of lasting relationships.