We treat the word ‘relationship’ casually. We don’t mean to – we probably don’t know we are dealing with one of the most fundamental parts of our existence. If we could see the full implications of the idea of relationships, we might be better equipped to see how much symbolic ‘gold’ there is in them.
To consider this, we should step back and examine how we come to have any relationships at all…
Relationships, as we know them, exist because of certain assumptions we make from our early years onwards. We are born into a world where an unthinkable separation is happening, The mother that has nurtured ‘us’ as part of her, must, for our own future, distance her body from ours; connecting us, instead, with warmth and sustaining milk as substitute for a shared existence.
Our lives in the world begin with a biological separation, and, though we are not conscious of it at the time, there is already a duality which, until we mature, spiritually, will never equal that former unity.
This is tightly related to the mystery of the feminine principle and its power in our consciousness and our relationship with Nature.
If I didn’t have a strong sense of ‘me’, there would be no-one else with whom to have a relationship. Because I am certain there is a me, and that this me is separate from everything around me, I create an other, which is not-me.
From that point on, I live in a world which is largely body-centric – the body being the identified boundary between the me and the other.
The adult has fixed this into a world-view. The child, however still lives in a world where there is magic…
That magic is part their sense of connectedness with ‘out there’, which is seen as far closer (particularly emotionally) than the adults’ picture where ‘me’ ends with the edges of the body- or the body of a lover. For the adult, the majority of ‘food’ for the soul comes through the senses and the intellect, leaving a chasm of ‘hunger’ at a deeper and unconscious level of the self.
Early psychologists, like Carl Jung, made much of this archetypal ‘diving feminine’, and its part in each of us in the shape of the anima and animus.
But not everything begins in the body.
‘I’ have the keenest senses to tell me what are my thoughts, emotions and hungers – all of which have a self-evident nature, and what are the secondary things that emanate from the world around me – the other.
Much of my education in life is about learning the logic of how other things affect me, in-here, from sources in the apparent out-there. There is great wisdom in investigating these channels of perception and finding the truth about what we actually know of the out-there objects, and what is the automated result of our world-picture…
The generic ‘relationship’ has a central part to play in our understanding. It could be said that having any relationship has the capacity to put the magic back into our world-view… That is, if the relationship is explored to the full, in a spirit of self-truth.
End Part One
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.