Spiritualizing our relationships 2 – To improve relationships, decrease expectation and increase contribution
[Phone class to everydaychant.com online sanga]
Transcription of Lecture
Last week we discussed how the spiritual is the foundation of all relationships. Without spiritual self-understanding, actually there will be no one with the consciousness with the intension to relate and there will be no capacity to evaluate the quality of a relationship or to improve the relationship.
Now today after looking at the spiritual part of our consciousness… now we look at what spiritualizing our relationship means in terms of seeing the other person spiritually. So, firstly we understand that we ourselves are spiritual beings and similarly we see others also at their core spiritual beings.
One of the main reasons why relationships often lead to frustration or even failure is that we tend to have unrealistic expectations from people. Of course sometimes some people are also unreasonable in not doing even what is expected of them, but at this stage we will focus on changing our vision of people. In a later part we will discuss about what we can do to change people.
So, relationships essentially involve three factors. There is the Person A, there is the Person B, and there is the relationship between them. So, we discussed about person A and how our spirituality is the basis of our very desire for relationships. Then we move forward to the second part; that is how B is in the relationship and how A views B. So, often we expect other people to do certain things for us, and relationships naturally involve a process of give and take.
In my last U.S tour… in Portland I gave a class on… ‘Can we love someone whom we hate?’ I will come to this Love-Hate dynamic in relationships later, but there I made the point how the word love has many different meanings. Now love can convey emotion…. ‘You know I feel so much loved by this person… I feel so much love in the presence of this person.’ Or love can convey attraction… ‘I love this person so much.’… that means that I am so attracted by this person.
Love can also convey expectations. When people say that… ‘You don’t love me.’…what they essentially mean is that, they are expecting certain actions to be done if that other person was loving them, and when that person is not doing those actions they feel that the other person is not loving me. So, love is also a matter of expectation, and beyond expectation we will see later how bhakti offers us a vision of love as contribution… as what we do in a mood of service to others, but at this stage we will focus on the aspect of expectation in relationships.
In every relationship we expect… we do something ourselves and we expect the other person to do something for us, and while such reciprocation are going on, at one level it is natural sometimes… what we expect from others may seem very straightforward for us, may seem obvious for us, but it may turn out to be not so for someone else.
All of us… when we see that… say that we are all souls… at the same time just like us everyone is a soul who is present in a particular body, and the particular body and the particular mind they have… that constraints them in particular ways. Just as our body and mind constraints us… constraint means it controls us; but controls us not in the sense of not allowing us to do anything, but controls us in a way of making us do certain things and not do certain things. So, when a river flow is constricted, that doesn’t mean that the river is not flowing but it simply means that the river is flowing only in a particular channel… not say in the whole river-bed. So, like that our conditionings constrains us… they impel us to function in particular ways and they don’t let us function in other ways.
So, having a spiritual vision of others means recognizing that just as we have our constrictions, we have our limitation, so do others and what makes this difficult to appreciate often is that our limitations are often different than other’s limitations. Now this… two people having a different set of strengths and limitations can work out as a strength if there is complementarities… if the two are complementary… just as by natures arrangement there is complementarities between male and females both physically and psychologically and that is how the relationships between them can be formed in a stable way. Now this is broadly… if this is appreciated and then what we are good at… we don’t expect the other person will be good at. Something may be very easy and effortless for us… some people are very say cleanliness conscious and others are just cleanliness unconscious. As soon as they enter into a room, they make a big mess over there and not only do they make a mess, they don’t even realize that they have made a mess. If we go into their room and tell them, ‘Why are you living so unclean?’, they will say, ‘Is it unclean? I didn’t even notice it.’ So, we may sometimes think that they are doing this simply to irritate us, simply to aggravate us, simply to vex us.
Now of course, sometimes when some people know which buttons to press within us they may do such things to irritate us but quite often people are conditioned in a particular way that they just don’t understand some things. So, we think of them as insensitive… ‘Now why are you not doing this?’ Cleanliness is just one example, and this not to downplay the importance of cleanliness. Cleanliness is important, but at the same time that importance is not equally realized by everyone with the same level of ease, and this can apply to different things.
Some people say are very cautious about saving money, and the more money they have saved the more they feel very secure. On the other hand some people like to spend money, and only when they spend money they feel as if they are doing something, they are living, they are achieving. Some people get a sense of achievement by saving money, some people get a sense of achievement by spending money. Now all these varieties are ultimately the result of the three modes of the material nature. The modes infect different people in different ways and because of the modes influencing people in different ways, different people think differently. Say for example in the traditional culture in India or for that matter in China… there is the ethos of saving. In Western Cultures… like in America, the ethos of saving is not there so much. So, if people get money they spend it and then again they set down to earn it, whereas the Indians they try to save money. Now this is broad… of course this is a generalization and every generalization has expectation but the point I am making over here is that what gives us a sense of self-worth and security and satisfaction… significance to one person can be different from what gives a sense of self-worth, satisfaction, security, significance to another person and… so, the person who like to save will get exasperated with the other person… ‘Why do you spend so much? Why do you spend so thoughtlessly? Why didn’t you ask me? Why do you need this?’ Now their concern may be valid, but the point is that the other person doesn’t see it as valid, and this difference is not logical, it is psychological…. ‘It is not logical, it is psychological.’ Means that psychology of different people is made in different ways and based on the way the psychology is made we just think in particular ways, and this doesn’t mean that the thinking can’t be changed but the point is that we can’t expect people to think the way we think. Some sort of thinking may be just obvious to us, but what is obvious to us may need to be explained to some else.
All of us have a particular way of thinking, way of living, a particular world-view… the world-view we don’t refer to a big world-view… spiritual world-view or material world-view… but world-view also refers to specific things, and that is almost like the language that we think, the language that we view the world.
Just like a word in French is a common word and every person understands that word, but a person who doesn’t know French, for that person the word doesn’t make any sense; it is just sound, it is just noise, it is not even sound. So, similarly before we can expect something from someone we have to understand whether they understand what we are thinking, what we are saying. If their way of thinking is different from our way of thinking, then that is almost like their language, their mental language… their conceptual language is different from our language, and… now just as two people have to communicate and they don’t know each other’s language, then they have to put in some effort by which they can learn each other’s language, but when they don’t put in that effort and are just speaking in their own language and they are exasperated that the other person is not understanding… but the other person is not understanding because they just don’t know the language, they just don’t think in that way.
Sometimes we get frustrated with people because they don’t do what we expect them to do… but our expectation is drawn from our world-view whereas their world-view is different. So, here it is important to understand the difference between being insensitive and being desensitized. Being insensitive means that a person doesn’t care for someone else, they don’t care for someone else’s feelings. Being desensitized means that the person just doesn’t have any sensation, doesn’t feel in that connection.
Now suppose we want to talk with someone and we touch that person; we are behind the person and we touch the person from the shoulder. Now suppose that person has got some disease because of which they have no sensation in the shoulder. Now we are touching them on the shoulder and we are pulling them and pushing them and they are not turning around; they are not even acknowledging us and we may get angry that, ‘how can this person be so rude?’ but they are not being rude. They just don’t understand. They don’t even sense that we are there.
So, often we mistakenly equate the desensitised with the insensitive. Some people just don’t think in particular ways, and that kind of thinking is so innate to us that we can’t even think that somebody will not think of this; it is so obvious… ‘How can you not think of this?’ So, for some of us cleanliness may be very obvious, and for someone else that… if you want to use today’s biological terminology… some people may say that… ‘I don’t have any cleanliness gene within me.’… Now there is no gene for cleanliness, but that terminology is used to convey that… ‘You know, I just think like this. I don’t have that biological or psychological trait within me.’ … Now, it’s learnable… there are some things which needs to be learned. So, for example if a person has a tendency to be unclean and disorderly… then the basic level of cleanliness and orderliness is necessary and that has to be learned. If a person has a tendency to spend too much money too indiscriminately, then that has to be checked, but this is something which we have to learn, and just as somebody learns something we have to be patient while that person is trying to learn.
For a mother walking is an utterly normal thing to do. She does it all the time, but when the child is growing up at that time the child… for him or her to even take the first step is so difficult, and the first step often comes only after the child falls after many times, and if the mother starts chastising it, ‘Why can’t you walk?’… The child will get traumatised… ‘Why is the mother angry with me? I am trying my best.’ But the mother… she will never chastise the child or shout at the child because she knows, ‘The child is small. The child is learning to take the first steps.’ The mother may herself take 10,000 steps everyday but the mother… when the child takes the first step successfully, she will clap and hug and kiss the child… and nowadays they will click a hundred photos, and put them on the facebook and share it with the whole world. Why? Because she understands that for that child the first step is a big landmark. Similarly, when we are relating with each other… something which is very easy when we are relating with each other… something which is very easy and obvious for us may not at all be easy and obvious for others. So, we need to come to a point of mutual… both of us have to walk some distance.
So, for example, a person for whom it is self-evident that person has to acknowledge… the other person may not understand this… they may not register this… and I have to be understanding that they may not realize this importance, and the other person has also to recognize it.
So, B has to recognize that A is very important, and although I don’t feel that it is important… If A considers this to be so important, I have to give it due importance. So, by this mutual give and take both walk a particular distance. Say for example two people are standing far away, and both of them are shouting at each other… shouting to each other… and neither of them are able to hear the other person. If they have to communicate… both of them have to walk some distance, so that they can both come within hearing distance and then they can communicate well. Just like that both of us… both people in the relationship have to walk a certain distance and we see this in the example of Prabhupada when he came to America. Now for him, so many of the aspects of saucham, of cleanliness, of purity were so obvious. Right from his childhood he had learned those things, but he was interacting with people for whom these were not at all obvious, these were… leave alone obvious… they were not even known, and Prabhupada had to teach them from the very basics, and he did that. He did not just condemn them for their ignorance; rather he gently, lovingly, patiently taught them things, and gradually they learned.
So, when we have a spiritual vision of others… A spiritual vision is not a fragmented vision. When we say, ‘At one level spirit are different, and spirit exists beyond matter.’… but when we have a spiritual vision of people, that means that we see them as integrated units; we see them not just as souls, but we see them as souls in particular bodies. So, in a sense spirituality encompasses the totality of reality.
Srila Prabhupada explains in the Bhagavat Gita Purport that sometimes we separate the material world and the spiritual world, but in another sense the material world exists inside the spiritual world. By spiritual world we refer not to the spiritual planets of Vaikuntha… spiritual world can inclusively refer even to brahmajyoti. Srila Prabhupada says in 4.24 purport that actually…
brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma havir
brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyaṁ
That there is a vast expanse of the brahmjyoti and in one corner of the brahmajyoti there is the material world, and within the material world there are so many universes, there are so many planetary systems, so many planets, there are so many places and there are so many people. So, if we use the spiritual world inclusively to include the Brahmajyoti… then the spiritual world includes the material world. Like that the spiritual vision includes the vision of the material. When we see people spiritually… that does not mean we reject their material side. Rather we don’t limit our vision to their material side. We see beyond their material side, to the spiritual side.
So, we see the spiritual side and at the same time we also acknowledge the material side… and other are souls like us, but like we are conditioned by our body and mind they are also conditioned by their body and mind, and being conditioned in a way different from the way we are conditioned… So, we need to appreciate their struggles. Their struggles with their conditionings may be as difficult for them as our struggles with our conditioning. Say for many Indians… when a cricket match is going on… even if they have some important work to do they have to struggle, they are again going to look at the scores, look at who has got out, who has hit what kind of shot, what is happening? They feel all the compulsively pulled to look at the scores. Now on the other hand, if say an Ice-hockey match is going on… they may not even notice it. If someone tells them, ‘Come for a Ice-hockey match.’ he will say, ‘I am not interested.’
Now for people… let’s say Canadians… for people in Canada… say where Ice hockey is a passion… for them if a Ice-hockey match is going on, then they may find it difficult to pull themselves out of that match. So, just as it is difficult for Indians to pull themselves from a Cricket match, similarly it is difficult for Canadians to pull themselves from a Ice-hockey match. So, with respect to this kind of external things it is easy to understand that there are different people with different attachments, but when it comes to… especially when people are coming from widely different cultural backgrounds… but when we are living closely with people and we have known people from a long time and when we share to a large extent our own cultural background… at that time we tend to gloss over the differences among us. We tend to think that, ‘Oh… this is known to me and this is known to even this person.’, but that is not necessarily the case. So, by appreciating the fact that we all are different, we can become more patient, we can become more understanding, we can become more helping rather than judging.
So, spiritualizing our relationships is not just about we start chanting Hare Krishna and we expect our relatives also will start chanting Hare Krishna… then our relationships are spiritualised. No, it is not as simple as that. Sometimes both the… say everybody in the relationship starts chanting Hare Krishna, and still while chanting Hare Krishna in their mind they are quarrelling with others, in their mind they are resenting the other person, in their mind they are condemning the other person…. So, yes of course chanting Hare Krishna and practicing the direct limbs of bhakti is extremely important, and this importance is in the transformation that it brings in us. The transformation is that it actually helps us to see others more holistically, more emphatically, with deeper understanding.
So, when we understand that each person in an individual with their own way of thinking, with their own way of functioning… then we become more patient to accommodate them to understand them and of course to help them change. So, here when a particular person has a particular conditioning then there are two opposite ways of looking at it… one is, we see that person as the perpetrator of that conditioned action and we hold that person up for scrutiny and we blame them, we condemn them… ‘You are doing like this. Why are you doing like this?’ So, that means that the conditioning is what? That we are seeing that the conditioned action… say spending too much money or keeping things disorderly or whatever else it may be… We see the person as the perpetrator of that action and we blame the person for that.
Here it is helpful to remember 3.27 in the Bhagavat Gita,
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
So, Krishna says that, ‘Actually it is the mode of material nature which does everything. So, one who thinks that I am the doer, that person is having ego.’ Now just as it is an egoistic vision to think that I am the doer, it can also be an egoistic vision to think that the other person is the doer because after all the other person is also conditioned by the modes, and being thus conditioned that person is forced to act in particular ways. Now when we force… that doesn’t mean that that person is completely helpless. The modes push us, they apply a force on us, but we also can apply a counter force. We can push back, but for pushing back we need some impetus. First of all we need to have the intelligence to understand that I need to push back, and then after having the intelligence we need to have also the inspiration to want to push back, but all these often just don’t come to people. So, a person who has a tendency to spend a lot, it doesn’t register in them that… ‘I should not be spending so much’… and even if it registers, they feel… ‘Oh, it is too difficult, why should I do it? It is the right thing to do, but I don’t feel like doing it… forget it.’ So, when we see others as the perpetrators of the actions that they are impelled to do by their conditionings, then we see them as the problem and then our relation with them becomes adversarial. We see them as the victimisers and ourselves as the victims, and the mind often has the tendency to proclaim itself as a martyr… that means just as a martyr sacrifices and others glorify the martyr for having sacrificed so much… so our mind likes to think of itself as a martyr… ‘Oh, this person is causing me so much trouble, and I am tolerating it so much, but how much can I tolerate? Now enough is enough. Now I need to put the person in their place.’… and then we hit back… and sometimes the other person is not even aware of what the problem is, and the person is just living in their own world and dealing with their own issues and suddenly we burst out on them as if like a bolt out of blue, and they wonder… ‘What happened… what’s wrong with you?’… We say, ‘There is nothing wrong with me. There are so much wrong with you.’… They sometimes don’t have any idea of what is happening.
So, when they have no such idea of what is happening, at that time the only thing that they can do is… they feel that we attack and we counter-attack, and things just become unnecessarily nasty. So, rather than giving in to the minds tendency to imagine oneself to be a martyr we can actually have the alternative attitude where we see ourselves and the other person as partners in fighting the conditioning. So, that means that A and B are there. B has a particular conditioning, but rather than equating B with the conditioning, we see B separate from the conditioning and understand that B is impelled to act in a particular way and if A and B have a calm, non-judgemental, rational talk then B will also understand… ‘This troubles A so much… and I don’t want to trouble you… if it is so important for you and if you want me to change it, then I will try it, but even if B decides that… sometimes people promise… I will change… but again when they relapse into their old patters then they are frustrated… they feel not only are you irresponsible, not only are you insensitive, but you are also untrustworthy…. ‘You promised me that you won’t do this and still you have done this again?’
So, in this way when that happens… again what are we doing is… we are not understanding the other person struggle. Yes, the other person may have promised that I will not do this, but we can look at our own lives… sometimes when we have some conditionings because of which we do certain things which creates some trouble for others, and we also promise them… ‘I won’t do this thing again’, but our conditionings are not so easy to overcome.
In the eight canto Gajendra says that, ashayavega … the urges that are born from our conditionings they are sometime intolerable, they just overwhelm us completely. So, it is not so easy to even keep our promises. So, rather than… when somebody promises, ‘I won’t do such a thing.’, and they still do it again… rather than seeing them as… labelling them as untrustworthy… it just becomes a pile up of labels. First we label them as insensitive, irresponsible, uncaring, and now we label them as untrustworthy, and when people get such derogatory labels they feel threatened and they go into defensive, and then often the relationship becomes acrimonious over the label and the issue gets forgotten…. ‘ So,…. how dare you call be untrustworthy. I have done so much for you. Where would you be without me.’… and then the labels are what stay in people’s mind….. ‘Oh, he called me that? She called me that? How could they have done that?’ …. and just the relationship becomes bitter and the issue which triggered the relationship that stays as it is as a festering mood which keeps worsening. So, rather than labelling people… even if someone makes a promise and they are not able to keep it we should see that as the conditioning is strong and I need to help them, not just judge them. So, that means that rather than seeing them as the perpetrators of that troubling action, we see them as being pushed by their conditioning to act in that particular role. So, we become their partner in fighting their conditioning. Rather than letting that conditioning come between us and them we ensure that the conditioning brings us closer to each other rather than becoming a wall between each other. That means… this is the conditioning this person has and they also… if they recognize the importance and they want to change…. if they need help. Now, practically how can we help them? Sometimes people need a little gentle reminder but often a gentle reminder is laced with some judgmental label, and when the judgemental label comes along the gentle reminder it doesn’t remain a gentle reminder, it becomes to them a hurting value-judgement, and again they become resentful.
So, we can find our ways in which… whatever is the other persons conditioning… how can we help them to deal with their conditioning? So, when we see the conditioning as a common foe to be counted, as a common enemy to be dealt with, then we don’t see the other person as the enemy, we see their conditioning as their enemy and we see ourselves as their assistants in fighting their conditioning, as their partners in fighting their conditioning. With this vision the whole dynamic can be changed. The whole dynamic can be of… this particular problem which is actually pushing us apart can bring us closer.
Now of course, it’s far easier to tell such things than to implement them… because in relationship often there is history, and because of that history certain kind of emotions are natural, some kind of hurts are there, some kind of sore spots are there, and they all need to be taken in consideration, but if our spiritual vision is actually meant to improve our relationships then that has to begin with this…. that actually rather than seeing people as wrong doers we see that there are wrong which are being done through them. We don’t deny or wish away our wrongs; we don’t imagine that the wrong is right. Yes, certain things are wrong, but rather than seeing them as wrong doers, we see that the wrong are being done through them by their conditionings, and of course at the level of karma they are responsible for their conditionings, but just when we have our conditioning we find it so difficult to overcome that conditioning. Similarly, they also find it very difficult to overcome their conditioning.
So, by striving to become partners in fighting the conditioning and not becoming judges for having that conditioning we can actually ensure that our spirituality becomes a relationship booster and not a relationship breaker. Sometimes unwittingly because we become spiritual, and because say… we by our spiritual practice are able to give us certain things, and the other person is not able to give us certain things, and then we start judging, ‘You are so attached, you are so this, you are so fallen, you are so that.’…. and even if the other person is practicing bhakti and still struggling then we may judge, ‘Your bhakti practice is not sincere, because of it this is happening.’
Now sincerity is not so easy to judge. Yes, there can be certain practices which can be done with more diligence, with more seriousness. Ultimately sincerity is a matter of the heart, and we can’t really go into people’s heart to know whether they are sincere or not. So, it is best to give others the benefit of doubt and understand that…even if we have say have been able to give up a particular conditioning but whether it is by our serious bhakti practice or whether it is by our past upbringing and by our psycho-physical nature that we have from our past karma… that particular conditioning was not so deep rooted within us; so we gave it up very easily whereas somebody else by their particular conditioning, by their particular past karma, by their upbringing… their conditioning may be very deep rooted and so… for them to give it up may be is not so easy. So, it is not necessary that our having giving up the conditioning is necessarily a proof of our spiritual seriousness and their not having been able to give up the conditioning is a proof of their lack of spiritual seriousness. It may be or it may not be. So, it is better to give others the benefit of doubt and move forward non-judgementally in a way by which we help each other rather than that we judge each other.
So, of course as I said, by being understanding… that doesn’t mean that we relativise reality. Yes, un-cleanliness is not good or spending money too extravagantly is not so good, and like that all of us may have certain personality quarks, all of us may have certain conditionings which are detrimental but rather than just… so, we do acknowledge that there are problem areas but we see the problem area as an aspect of the person. We don’t equate the person with that, and we see that this problem area is a part of their conditioning and we need to help them to overcome that conditioning, and Krishna is present in their heart as Krishna is present in our heart. So, if we become more understanding and we moderate our expectations…
So, love at one level… sometimes we see as expectation… ‘You don’t love me.’… but love can also be seen as contribution…. that means, instead of asking, ‘Why are you not doing this for me? I told you so many times to do this.’… The contribution could be that we help the other person understand the importance of that particular thing, and we help the person to do the thing… not that we do it for them all the time. Just they may have to do it, but we help them to do it.
So, the mood of service that we talk about in Bhakti is not restricted to the temple to direct devotional activities. Now we go to the temple and we do some deity worship, we do some preaching, we do some book distribution. Yes, all these are important services, but the mood of service is to expand to our relationships and even to those of our relationships where other people may not be devotees.
Our mood of service is inclusive. We can serve others even by….we can serve Krishna even by serving those who are not devotees, because if we behave well with them, they get a positive impression of devotees and that brings them closer to Krishna, and bringing the closer to Krishna or doing the actions that help people come closer to Krishna… that is service to Krishna. So, with this inclusive vision of service, if we become more understanding in our relationships then that is a tangible way in which we are spiritualizing our relationships and by spiritualizing our relations we are actually doing our part in helping those relationships to become better.
I spoke today about spiritualizing our relationships and specially in terms of spiritualizing our vision of the other person in the relationship. So, often relationships become troubled and strained because others don’t live up to our expectations. So, we need to moderate our expectations, temper our expectations by recognizing that what is self-evident for us, what is important for us, what is natural for us, may not be so for others.
So, sometimes when we feel unloved in a relationship… Love can have different meanings. It can have the meaning of attraction, emotion, expectation or contribution. So, spiritualizing our relationship means changing our conception of love to less of expectation and more of contribution.
So, just as when two people who know different languages and don’t share a common language…then they may speak to each other, they may shout at each other, but they just don’t make sense and what is obvious for one person in the language is greek and latin for the other person. So, the two people keep shouting and increasing their volume but nothing gets communicated. So, like that based on our upbringing, our culture, our world view, we all think and act in a particular way which is like our language. The other people think and act in a different way which is their language and sometimes this languages overlap, and sometimes they don’t overlap.
So, for example for one person cleanliness may be extremely important, and for the other it may just be an irritant. For one person… they get their sense of security, significance, satisfaction, self worth by saving. Others… they get it by spending, and they just don’t understand why the other person doesn’t understand, but that is because they have different languages. So, they have different conceptual languages, the way they think.
Now of course when communication is essential, then languages can also be learnt, and similarly we can help each other learn. But to help each other learn, we need to begin by acknowledging that this other person doesn’t understand, and they will need my help to help them to get them to learn. Just like a mother helps a child to take the first steps; even for her… taking 10,000 steps is effortless. So, like that we may have to help the other person to recognize the importance of certain things.
So, just as by our conditionings we are constrained… our thoughts and desires flow in a particular ways and not in other ways, similarly the others are constrained in their own way by their conditionings. So, we consider as their insensitivity… that is simply their desensitization. Those things just don’t register in their world view, like when we touch someone on the shoulder but that person is desensitized there. So, they don’t feel the touch. So, that’s why they don’t respond. So, then we… rather than seeing others as the perpetrators of troubling actions, we can see them as conditioned souls who are impelled to do those actions which are troubling us, and rather than judging them for their conditioned actions we become their partners who help them understand why that conditioning is so troubling and what they can do to overcome their conditioning.
So, with this understanding attitude… the same conditioning, the same behaviour, that was drawing, that was pushing people apart, one can actually draw them closer to each other. So, the spiritual vision is not just to see the spiritual but to see the material also within the context of the spiritual.
We say the material world is present within the spiritual world in the brahmajyoti. So, like that we see people’s material side and we acknowledge that they will have certain struggling because of their conditionings, but they are souls like us, and just as we struggle with our conditioning they struggle with theirs. So, when we avoid labelling them because of their conditionings… because those labels make them defensive and then aggressive, and the issue shifts from the problem to be solved to the label that is affixed. So, we avoid labelling them, but with a understanding attitude we become their partners in fighting their conditioning by decreasing our expectations and increasing our contribution in trying to help them overcoming their conditioning, help them understand the importance of the need for overcoming their conditioning, then we are actually spiritualizing our relationships in a way that will transform the relationship positively.
That… we may all be chanting Hare Krishna, but chanting Hare Krishna is actually a prayer for service, and the mood of service is not just direct service to Krishna in the temple but it is also service to all the parts of Krishna, even the parts of Krishna who may not be serving Krishna or who may be acting in ways that is presently obstructing us in our service to Krishna.
So, by this inclusive service mood, we will find that the spiritualization of our relationships will make our relationships stronger and eventually better.
Thank You. Hare Krishna.
(Transcription by Sadananda Krishnaprema Prabhu)