What is your longest relationship?
By William Bezanson
This question was asked in a group that I belonged to some years ago, “What is the longest relationship that you have been in?” I gave a brief answer then, and this article elaborates on that answer and tries to generalize it.
The longest relationship that I've been in is the one right now, in which I'm related to this physical body. I've occupied it, or been associated with it, for some 71 years. There might have been longer ones, but I can't remember them.
This relationship, my incarnation in this physical form, is a lifetime one. I don't plan to have another such relationship in the near future, I don't plan to terminate this relationship, and I do plan to make the best of it until some natural process causes the relationship to end.
I will likely have longer relationships in future lives, but in the meantime this is the one that I value the most and can remember most clearly. I do remember some seven previous incarnations, but I don’t remember the details of how old I was when I died in each such incarnation. As for the future, who knows what age I will achieve for any specific lifetime?
And it really is a relationship. It is a one-to-one association between my soul and this body, and I chose this relationship by my previous doing and thinking, which means my karma. Between lives, while I was waiting to be reborn, I chose these specific parents and those specific conditions for my next life, based on the karmic influences of earlier lives. I can’t say that I remember making those choices, but I believe that I did so. The result is the soul-body association that I am now experiencing.
One of my hopes is that other people will also realize that their longest relationship is with their current incarnation, and that realizing this will help them see a grander view of Life than otherwise. Ultimately, my hope is that such a realization will enable mankind to continue to evolve in a spiritual way, to respect the life that we have and the Nature that provided it for us.
The question posed above is a trick one. Many people would answer that the relationship with their spouse is their longest one. Or perhaps they might mention a parent or a child. But I have looked beyond physical relationships to include the spiritual association that I have between my inner self and my outer body. My hope is that you, dear reader, might concur for your own case—or at the very least, think of relationships somewhat differently than you have done formerly.
The fact that such a trick question needs to be posed suggests to me that we as a society have drifted away from the actuality that we are spiritual beings over to the reality of our thinking that we are physical beings. I maintain that such a misconception is the root cause of most of the troubles in our modern world. A spiritual solution is needed, because most of the troubles are fundamentally of a spiritual nature. We must escape from our illusory reality and see the true actuality (see my earlier blog article Reality and Actuality at http://community.omtimes.com/profiles/blogs/reality-and-actuality ). We are spiritual beings temporarily occupying, or associated with, or in relationship with, physical bodies.
Once we all realize that distinction, actuality vs. reality, we will realize that we should honour that longest relationship that we have ever had: the relationship between our inner selves and our outer bodies, our spiritual souls and our physical bodies. Further, I hope that we will realize the importance of, and our serious responsibility for, nurturing that relationship for advancing our individual spiritual evolution. Finally, I hope that we realize that our biggest responsibility of all is to nurture the world we live in so that it will be in excellent shape for our return to it in our subsequent incarnations.
There is a lot wrong with our world. It is rapidly degenerating, due to humankind’s neglect. I assert that nurturing the longest relationship that we have had is key to turning around that degeneration and helping the world recover from the pains we have inflicted on it. There is no way that I can prove my assertion, but I encourage you to ponder and meditate on it, to see if you agree with it. If so, then I urge you to find your own ways to nurture the world, perhaps by honouring the longest relationship that you have had during your current life in this world.
William Bezanson is a retired engineer who has turned into an author. He writes on systems design for usability and on personal responsibility for world stewardship. His latest book is I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. His website is www3.sympatico.ca/bezanson1 .