What is wisdom? Well, many times it is considered to be knowledge. But if you look back to the long tradition, even in the Western world going back to Plato, who portrayed Socrates as the wise teacher, you will see that the wisdom of Socrates was not centered on knowledge. It was centered on something deeper, which we might call an understanding, a deeper understanding of life and how it works.
How can you use wisdom to improve your relationships? When you became aware that there is a path to higher awareness, what did you do? What was the first thing that most of you did? You started studying the path through whatever teaching you found. You realized that there was no way you could really practice the path without having some understanding of what the path is about. And a way to get this understanding is to study the topic.
Many of you have an education, where you have gone to school and studied a particular topic, until you gained a deeper understanding of it than the average person has. Most of you have passed your driver’s tests, and what did you have to do in order to pass the theoretical part of the test? You had to study. Why is it that so many of you have not made a real determined effort to study relationships?
One could argue that one of the most important aspects of your lives is your relationship to other people, primarily your love relationship, your relationship to your children, and then to your parents, co-workers, friends, and so on. But all of you are in a variety of relationships. Relationships have a certain dynamic. How come you have not studied that, as you have studied other topics? If you look at people at large, you will see that all people are in a relationship, but very, very few people have studied it.
This, of course, is easy to understand when you consider that even in the more advanced democracies, they find it necessary that children in school learn about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but not about relationships, not about psychology. Naturally, you have all grown up in a culture where you are not brought up to study relationships. Now, if you look at this and step back from it, what is the underlying assumption that must be ruling these societies? It is that a relationship is just something that works itself out. It is something that people know how to do.
Then, of course, there is the Hollywood illusion that being successful in a relationship is simply a matter of finding the right person. If you find the right person, the relationship takes care of itself, and it will be happily ever after. Well, how many times has this worked out for people? Certainly, you can find examples of people who met each other, fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after. But you will find far more instances of relationships that were not happily ever after and many relationships are, of course, breaking up.
Now, if you look at people who have been through several relationships, you will see that in many cases, these people have a certain issue in their first relationship. They come to a point where they decide that this issue is because their partner is a certain way and will not change. Therefore, they want to get out of the relationship and find a different partner. So people get divorced, they break up a relationship, they find another partner, but in many cases, the dynamic is exactly the same in the new relationship. Perhaps it is a little bit different but there is a core of it that is the same. This is something that you can observe. Some of you can, if you are honest, observe it in your own lives. Others can observe it in the lives of people you know.
What is the conclusion one must draw, when you see that so many times, the same problem repeats itself? People, actually, in some cases attract a partner who is even more extreme, in a certain way, than their previous partner. What is the conclusion one must draw? Well, it is that relationships are not an easy thing. It is a complex thing. And does this not mean that relationships need to be studied? If you want to be successful in relationships, you need to study the topic.
You cannot simply assume that in order to attain a profession, you need to study, in order to make progress on the path, you need to study, in order to get a driver’s license, you need to study. But in order to have a relationship, you don’t need to study at all. It is supposed to just happen by itself. Nothing, happens by itself. It all requires that you apply yourself to the process.
Now, here is where we run into a particular difficulty, and this can only be understood when you understand reincarnation. The simple reality is that most people have, in past lives, been hurt in relationships. They have been in relationships with different people. They have had a very turbulent, very inharmonious relationship and they have been hurt by it. For most people, if you start studying relationships, it will be painful for a time. When you start studying relationships, you will reconnect, or rather, you will activate these selves that you formed in past lives, and it will be painful. And there might even be selves that you have formed that make you think that relationships cannot work, or that you are not good at relationships, or it is so difficult to find a person with whom a relationship can work.
Some of the more aware people have in past lifetimes and most likely also in this lifetime, been in some kind of relationship with one or more manipulators. And quite frankly, when you are in a relationship with a manipulator, that relationship cannot work. Manipulators, whether you call them narcissists, or whatever you call them, they cannot be in a relationship. That is, an equal relationship between equal partners. They cannot be in a harmonious, successful relationship unless, of course, they are in total control of their partner and their partner submits him or herself to the manipulator. And this, of course, is something that an aware person is reluctant to do.
Many aware people have, from previous lives, been in relationships with manipulators and you have formed certain selves based on your relationships. Be aware that a manipulator does one thing primarily: that person is always projecting out—the problem is out there. If you have been in a relationship with a manipulator, there were problems in the relationship, of course, but the problem was not with the manipulator or with both of you, it was with you.
If you have experienced this over several lifetimes, it is possible you have created certain selves that believe that it is you that has the problem, and you that cannot be in a relationship because of whatever it may be in your individual case. There are many aware people who because of this are reluctant to study relationships because doing this reconnects you to these selves. Suddenly you have these thoughts that come up: “Oh, there must be something wrong with me if I can’t have a successful relationship, if I can’t figure out how to get along with other people.” And it is painful for you to deal with this. But what is the path to higher awareness all about?
The path is not just about overcoming illusions and coming to see what you cannot see. It is also about overcoming emotional hang-ups. When you talk about an illusion, you are often talking about something that is in the mental mind, something you understand with the mental mind, the rational, logical, linear mind. But when you start thinking about relationships, you reconnect to these selves that were created in a past life in the emotional body and these selves are dominated by emotional pain.
Just as you need to overcome a certain illusion, in order to rise to a higher level, you also need to overcome the associated pain, the emotional pain that is associated with that illusion. You can ask yourself: “Do you think a being in higher awareness has lingering emotional pain from their time on earth?” They have no such pain. Why not? They were in embodiment on earth, they experienced what you have experienced on earth. It was equally painful to them as it has been for you.
How did we ascend to higher awareness? By letting go of that pain, by resolving that pain, by transforming it. But in order to let go of something, you have to be willing to look at it. And that means you have to be willing to endure the pain for a time.
The one thing you need from the perspective of wisdom is that you need to study relationships. If you find you have a problem with relationships, you need to study them. There are many teachings that talk about relationships, because in the world at large relationships is a big issue. Many books have been written about it. There are various courses and workshops you can participate in. There is much to offer in the worldly teachings on relationships.
The reality here is that pretty much all of students on the path can benefit from studying relationships. Now, mind you, you are not studying relationships in order to learn intellectually how to make a relationship work. In a sense, you could say that as a more aware person, you do not really need to study the worldly books in order to figure out techniques for making a relationship work.
Your primary reason for studying relationships is to bring to your conscious mind these selves that you have from past lives concerning relationships, and also bring up the pain that you may not have resolved yet. The outer books are really just a catalyst for getting in touch with what you have in your own three higher bodies that is unresolved about relationships. And when you then are willing to look at your reaction, try to use the tools for uncovering these selves, you can make much progress.
This is not about making you experts on relationships in the sense that you can give an intellectual dissertation on relationships. It is about helping you free yourselves from the separate selves, the illusions and the accumulated emotional energy, regarding relationships. Also, of course, at the deeper level, helping you shift your identity concerning relationships.
When you have been in a relationship with a manipulator, it is very easy to form a certain self in your identity body that influences how you look at yourself in relation to relationships. What kind of a person are you? What kind of relationships are you capable of having or incapable of having? And this can have a profound effect on your relationships.
The main thought here is: study the topic. If relationships are at all important to you, especially if they are a source of disharmony or conflict, then study the topic. But be aware that the essence of growth is that you observe yourself.
You are not studying relationships in order to come to understand them intellectually and in order to come up with a way that you can present to your relationship partners for how they can change. You are not even really studying relationships in order to change the relationships. You are studying relationships in order to change yourself, in order to heal your psychology, overcome certain illusions, so that you are changing yourself. This is the real purpose. You are not making progress by changing your partner in a relationship. You are only making progress by changing yourself.
Make a decision here that you are not doing this to change your partner. You are not even doing it to change the relationship. You are only doing it to get in contact with something in your own psychology and change yourself. And then you are willing to be non-attached to whether that changes the relationship or how it changes the relationship. If the relationship changes, that is a bonus for your study, but it is not the goal of your study. This is, in a sense, how you attain wisdom, because wisdom is not about creating outer changes.
Wisdom is about getting to know yourself. It has always been so. ‘Know thyself’, as it is said on that ancient temple. This is how you acquire wisdom. You do not acquire wisdom if your intention is to produce specific outer results in this world, but only if your intention is to get to know yourself. You need to get to know yourself in relationships. How do you function? What patterns do you have, often coming from past lives?
Many of the more aware people are in your last embodiment. What does this mean? It means that you can ask yourself this question: “Am I stupid or not?” If you are not stupid, what does that mean?
It means that before you came into embodiment, you were creating your Life plan. And you were creating that plan from a higher, broader, more neutral perspective than you had when you stepped into the four lower bodies and are now colored by the perception filter. You determined in your Life plan at least some of the people that you wanted to have a relationship with, your parents, your spouses, your children. This was not something that just happened by chance. You deliberately chose to embody in a physical circumstance where you were likely to meet these people and therefore likely to enter a relationship with them.
There is a tendency that many people have, especially when you have just gone through or you are going through a difficult relationship. You are always asking yourself, “Why on earth did I choose to be in a relationship with this person? Was I stupid or what?” And it is understandable that you feel this way, but part of wisdom is that you step outside of your immediate feelings. You make that conscious effort to step outside and say, “Assuming I am not stupid, I must have had a reason when I made my Life plan for entering a relationship with this person. Now, what could that reason be?”
If you are in your last embodiment, you know there are certain things you need to overcome, certain illusions you need to see, certain reactionary patterns, certain separate selves. And you are deliberately choosing to put yourself in physical situations where you force yourself to confront these issues in a way that your outer mind cannot ignore. And what is one of the most common ways that people are forced to confront certain issues that their outer minds cannot ignore? Well, it is through a relationship, especially a difficult relationship, a tumultuous, chaotic relationship with people who have very difficult psychology.
Wisdom is to recognize that whatever you have encountered in your life, it did not happen by chance. It was planned by you in your Life plan and the purpose was to force yourself to confront the issue so you could learn the lesson and be free of that issue in your psychology.
There is an attitude in the world that a relationship must be a two-sided thing. And there is, of course, a certain reality to this. Obviously, you should not be completely selfish and egotistical about how you look at relationships. But wisdom is that you go through a period where you say, “I am not going to focus on my partner. I am not going to focus on changing my partner. I am only going to focus on changing myself. What is it that I need to learn? How can I grow? What is in it for me?” And you look at your partner as the guru disguised as an ant, the physical guru that can force you to confront your issues. This may require you to expand your view of what it means to have a guru.
There is often this sense that your spiritual guru should be this elevated person who has completely resolved psychology, who is enlightened and who therefore gives you this wonderful spiritual wisdom that flows freely and always makes you feel good. But the reality of the matter is that the most useful guru is the one who forces you to confront what your ego does not want you to see. And you do not need, in many cases, a spiritual guru to do this. You actually need a person who is so wrapped up in their own psychology, that they react to you in these inharmonious ways, which then brings out your reactionary pattern when you react to them.
This is the guru disguised as an ant. And it is – for certain initiations or certain levels of the path – the most effective way to make progress. The guru disguised as an ant or as a very difficult person is often the most effective guru, at least for specific initiations. Even the manipulators are substitute teachers, because they are willing to do to people what beings with higher awareness would never do, and what a person with a higher level of spiritual evolution or consciousness would never do to people.
You need to be grateful for whatever you have been exposed to by the difficult people in your life. This is not hereby condoning if people have abused you. And, of course, there are certain types of abuse that you should not accept. You should not accept this as just an opportunity to learn a lesson, but you need to recognize that it is an opportunity for you.
Now, of course, specifically, we need to talk in this context about abuse. Manipulators are often willing to abuse other people. They may not see it as abuse, but it is abuse. And naturally, you, especially when you are in your last embodiment, you should not accept that you are being abused by other people. I am not here telling you that you should look at a person who is abusing you and say, “Oh, he is just this wonderful disguised guru, who is teaching me a lesson and therefore I shouldn’t object to what he is doing”.
The person is actually teaching you a lesson, but you should indeed object. Perhaps part of your lesson is that you do object. Many of you have been in relationships with manipulators in past lives, and what do they want? They want to be in control, so that they get other people to submit to them, to submit to their abuse. And some of you have done this in past lifetimes.
You have deliberately put yourself in situations in this lifetime where you are forced to deal with this issue so you can come to this point where YOU draw the line for what you will endure in a relationship. Now, once you have drawn that line and said no to abuse and potentially removed yourself from the abuser, you still need to say, “Yes, but I chose to deliberately put myself in a relationship to this person. Why did I do this? What is the lesson that I want to learn about how I look at relationships? What is it that I need to overcome from the past in terms of accumulated emotional energy, past traumas and these separate selves that were created as a result of my interaction with an abusive personality?”
It is not just a matter of saying no and removing yourself. It is a matter of learning the deeper lesson, but it can certainly be necessary for some of you to make that conscious decision, “I am going to stop the abuse. I am going to remove myself from the abuse right now”. And then you can work on the lessons later. You do not have to be so long-suffering that you say, “Oh, I have to stay with this abusing person until I have learned my lesson fully”. You can, of course, do this, but you do not have to.
Study the topic of relationships. Study the psychology of relationships. Study your own psychological reaction to relationships. And it can lead to much wisdom.