The Courageous Heart
Abdul Hameed Ali
Chapter 11, Diamond Heart book four, Indestructible Innocence - A.H. Almaas
Today I will talk about a question that is difficult to talk about, something most people look for without knowing exactly what it is they are seeking. It is something normal, nothing out of the ordinary for human beings. The question is: What is a real relationship? What is a real relationship between one human being and another? The exact answer is very simple and straightforward: The real relationship you have between you and another human being is exactly the relationship you have between you and that human being. The real relationship is the relationship that is actually there. Now, saying that the real relationship is the relationship that is really there is not necessarily the same thing as saying it is the relationship that you perceive to be there. That is the crux of the problem. The relationship that is actually there is very rarely perceived as it is. In fact, most people tend to do everything possible not to perceive or acknowledge the real relationship. We always try to make it something that fits with our mind or our ideas.
The difficulty is that we do not see the relationship that is actually there, and we do not even experience ourselves to be engaged in the relationship that we are actually engaged in. We are engaged in many kinds of other relationships that are not actually there, which exist only in our minds. We could call these mental relationships. So we are distin-guishing a real relationship from the relationship that a human being usually perceives.
So far, it is simple but not easy to understand or to actua-lize. Rarely will you acknowledge the relationship that really exists. What you acknowledge is usually something in your mind, a mental relationship and the feelings that go along with that concept of the relationship. For some time, part of our work will focus on clarifying our relationships, all relationships. For instance, the relationship you have with me is the relationship that actually exists. In your relation-ships with me, with each other, with everyone in your life, you need to see what is happening, what the relationships are. If we do not clarify, perceive, and live according to the true relationship that is actually happening, there will be no contact. There will be no real relating. There will be only mental interaction, one image interacting with another image. There will not be a real human being relating to another human being; there will be your past interacting with someone else's past. It is obvious how complicated that can be. If your personal history is interacting with someone else's personal history, but you are not interacting with the other person, you are not really relating.
Now, saying that the real relationship is the relationship that is actually present does not say what it is yet, because we do not perceive the relationship that is really there. We can only perceive what our mind tells us is there. When I say the real relationship, I do not necessarily mean a purely pos-itive relationship, although some people might assume that. The purely positive relationship is one of mental relation-ships because the true relationship is rarely purely positive. If you really experience and examine any relationship you have with any human being, you will notice that it is never purely positive. In fact, that is where the problem starts: We want it to be purely positive, whatever that means to us. The drive towards a purely positive relationship is the main rea-son our relationships are not real; this is why we do not per-ceive the true or real relationship that is actually there.
The mind tends to see relationships in black and white -a relationship is either purely good or purely bad. If you look, any moment, at what you feel your relationship to another human being is, you will usually realize that it is either purely good or purely bad. You do not allow yourself to have both at the same time. On the one hand, you either feel that you like the person, it is wonderful, it is great, they love you and you love them, no problem. If there is any problem, you do not want to see it or consider it. You do not want to take it into consideration in the relationship. On the other hand, the moment you start to become aware of problems, you want to make the whole relationship purely bad. Then the person is bad, you are bad, you are angry and hurt, and the person is this or that.
We look at most relationships in these absolute terms: Either the other person is good or the other person is bad. When we believe that the other person is good, we believe we have a good relationship, a purely positive relationship, with the hope that it will continue to become more and more positive. This negative hope will make you want to exclude, not allow, not recognize, not acknowledge the neg-ative aspects of it. When you see the other person as bad, you tend to see them as purely bad, and you react in a way that makes the whole relationship frustrating, hostile, or bad. That is the tendency of the mind.
This is a simplification, but it highlights a primary ten-dency in human relationships. There is the tendency to want to make relationships either all good or all bad, although we know that a relationship is never one or the other; it is always a mixture. In our minds, we do not think of it as a mixture; we think of it as either good or bad, as black or white. The moment we begin to perceive the good, we want it to be all good. The moment we perceive the bad, we feel disappointed and hurt, and the tendency is to make it all bad, to react in a negative way. In a real relationship, what actually happens, the interaction that actually occurs, is rarely purely one way or the other. Interactions are mixtures of various proportions. Our mind does not let us acknowl-edge and live according to the actual reality of what tran-spires in the relationship, but is always thinking in terms of absolutes. When your friend is bad, you respond in a com-pletely reactive way.
This might seem an extreme way of viewing normal rela-tionships-we are not usually absolute in our responses to pleasant or unpleasant interactions. But it is true that we tend to make things one way or the other. This tendency is much more pervasive, ubiquitous, and powerful than we are usually conscious of. While the tendency might be mostly unconscious, it is a major force in determining our responses. If a person frustrates you or rejects you, you react by being hurt and angry, even hateful. All negative. If you believe that the other person loves you, that they are good and are sat-isfying you, you want to respond with positive, wonderful feelings, and you do not want to have any negative feelings. If you have negative feelings in those situations, you feel they are disturbing and interfering, that it shouldn't be that way. So that is the situation. The tendency of the human mind is to look at relationships in terms of splitting the all-good from the all-bad, while in reality, it is rarely ever all good or all bad. It is always a mixture.
When you see a relationship in absolute terms of all good or all bad, it cannot be a real relationship. It is a mental relationship-something in your mind. It is not what is actually happening. A true relationship is not like that. When you look at and perceive things from that absolute perspective, obviously you are not involved in the real rela-tionship. You are reacting and being involved in a mental relationship that is not actually there. Don't you notice, for instance, if you are having a good time with your friend or your spouse and something happens that disappoints you, you tend to get disappointed or hurt or angry as if all of the good is gone? It is as if whatever happened destroyed the whole thing. Of course, in time, after a few minutes, hours, or a few days, you might become more realistic. You might say, "Oh, it wasn't true," but in the moment you react, as if the relationship is all bad.
As long as we are engaged in a relationship in that way, having to be absolute in it, we are not able to engage in true and real relationships. We cannot relate to another human being in a real way. Our relationships remain men-tal, based on past relationships. When you split your rela-tionship and see it as all wonderful or as all bad, it is not only that you are taking the good part and seeing it by itself or the bad part and seeing it by itself, but the bad part is not necessarily what is even happening. It might be some part of what is happening, but most of it is the result of all the bad relationships you have had before. All your neg-ative history comes into it. You start seeing and experienc-ing and feeling things, reacting to things, projecting things, that are mostly not there. When you see it as all wonderful, positive, purely good, that is also not what is there: You are feeling, projecting, responding with reactions based on past experiences.
Rather than being aware of what is really there, you are seeing your projections and reacting to those projections. This means that you are bringing a part of your mind to bear upon the present situation. You are engaged in, and activating, a certain one-sided relationship that you have in your mind all the time anyway. You might notice, for instance, that the moment your relationship with someone becomes good, something curious occurs. It feels similar to all positive relationships you have had in your life: There are the same feelings, the same way of seeing the other per-son. There is very little variation in how you see yourself, how you see the other person, the kinds of feelings that arise, things you hope for, your plans and dreams. They are always the same. And when it becomes negative, isn't it the same kind of negative feeling that you have always had before in relationships? If you see the person as rejecting you, it is the same way you always feel whenever a relation-ship gets bad. It is rarely different. Some people are perpet-ually engaged in negative relationships where they feel rejected. Some people are always the rejecting and angry one. Some people engage in negative relationships where they are continually frustrated. They want someone, and that person is not giving them what they want. It is always the same flavor; there is little variation. Now, that same fla-vor is a little suspicious, to say the least. Obviously it cannot always be what is happening. That same old flavor must be something you bring with you from the past.
If we delineate these mental relationships, we can distin-guish three kinds that our mind is engaged in all or most of the time. There is the positive one, which is usually an idealized relationship. The other person is an idealized other-all wonderful, powerful, good, perfect, whatever the idealization is. You feel when you are with that person, everything will be wonderful, and you will be taken care of, loving, melted, and so on. That is what we call the all-good, idealized relationship. The moment you know you are feel-ing that way in a relationship, you can take it for granted that it is a mental one, not a real one. Also, when people are in that kind of relationship, they feel that they are com-pletely in love. But you can be sure that your feeling of being in love is in your mind and not real, because it is not taking into consideration the real relationship.
The second kind of mental relationship is where the other person is what we call the frustrating other. The other is the yummy one that you always want but you can-not have. That's why we call the other the frustrating object-exciting, wonderful, but unavailable. I think many people are aware of that relationship. They spend much of their life wanting somebody they cannot have, either in reality or in their dreams. But there is a hope and belief that one of these days you are going to get that thing or that person. You do not understand that that is only the relationship your mind is actualizing all of the time, that you are invested in that kind of relationship. You do not want the satisfaction to become actuality. If you make it become an actuality, you will lose that mental relation-ship. Then all kinds of new things will happen. So, if you are one who is always involved in the frustrating relation-ship, you will find that it is important that that relation-ship continues to be frustrating even though you are always complaining about it. You do not want your hope to become an actuality. If it became an actuality, you would have to become real. So it stays like that: pie in the sky. You pine for something year after year, you are always excited about it, but you cannot have it. That is the frus-trating kind of relationship.
The third kind of mental relationship is the hostile rela-tionship, where you feel unwanted, rejected, or hated; or vice versa, where you are the one who is not wanting, rejecting, hateful, and hostile. Although you might think you do not like it or want it, if you keep being engaged in that relation-ship, you will notice that in reality your mind is attached to that relationship. You are engaged with it either with the other person or in your mind. Your mind needs the relation-ship for its own equilibrium. That is why some people feel rejected in most of their relationships with other people; whatever happens, they take it as rejection. If someone turns his head away, they feel rejected. If someone says something, they feel rejected. If someone does not say something, they feel rejected. It would be very difficult to convince them that the rejection is not true. It is difficult because they do not want it to not be true. It is important for them for it to be true. If it becomes clear that the rejection is not true, then the person's mind will lose its equilibrium.
These are the basic mental relationships, and they are dependent on the basic perception of the other. Depending on what kind of object the other is, you become the corre-sponding person relating to that object. Most human rela-tionships that are conflictual, that cause suffering, fall into one of these three categories of mental relationships. Also, if you investigate this issue of your relationships, you realize that those mental relationships are the source and the site of most of your emotional suffering. Most human suffering comes as a result of these mental relationships. There are other sources of suffering, but the primary source of emo-tional suffering is engaging in those mental relationships.
The real relationship usually contains elements of all three kinds of mental relationships. With any human being there is satisfaction, fulfillment, and love, there is some neg-ativity, anger, and hatred, and there is frustration. The real relationship is the relationship where these three are ack-nowledged, where the person realizes, "Yes, of course, I love this person, but I know he is angry at me," or "I do not like this or that, but I still like her anyway." Even when we are feeling rejected or hated or hateful, it does not make us forget that we love each other. But in the moment that the other person hates us, our normal tendency is to forget that he or she loves us. The moment that we are hurt, we forget that we love the other person. It is difficult to keep the whole thing together. The mind does not allow us to keep the totality of the relationship in perspective. The mind is always trying to protect itself by splitting relationships into purely good or purely bad components. It is very difficult for the mind to allow the perception of the complete, real relationship that exists.
Because we usually engage in mental relationships instead of real relationships, we are not present and we are not in contact. Contact requires real relationship. Contact means contact with what is actually there, with the actual relationship. The moment you split it, make it all positive or all frustrating or all hostile, you are not in contact. You are in your mind then. You are operating through your thoughts, and emotional reactions which are reacting to your thoughts. You think you are reacting to the other per-son. No, you are reacting to your thoughts. I am not talking only about couples or love relationships, but any relation-ships you have with any other human being, or with any other object. It could be a work relationship, a business relationship, a friendship, a love relationship, or a marriage. We see that one major reason we are not present, why we are not in contact with ourselves or with the other, with reality, is that we are engaged in these mental relationships. And we are very attached to these mental relationships because we do not want to see the totality of the situation. We do not want to be in contact with the real relationship. That would be devastating for a part of our mind that is based on that splitting.
It would be good for everyone here to spend some time observing your relationships. How do you experience your relationships? We have to perceive our tendency to divide into absolutes to be able to work with it. It is not enough to just hear about it. You have to see your minute-to-minute interactions with people. You have to see how at each minute, interaction is either all positive or all negative and rarely a mixture. But when we step back and look at our interactions, we realize that they are usually a mixture. It is extremely rare that when you are with another human being, the relationship itself is all purely wonderful or purely negative. You might feel all-wonderful, but the relationship is always mixed. The person may not be doing exactly what you want them to do, or whatever. So, although you might feel all-wonderful, the relationship itself is not all-wonderful. And of course, engaging in the mental relationships involves all the judging and blaming of the other or oneself, or the idealization of the other, or grandiosity about oneself. This splitting is a protective mechanism that the ego employs to continue existing. The ego cannot exist if there is true rela-tionship. The ego's continued survival depends on this sep-aration of relationship into black and white.
What is the resolution of this situation? The resolution is to be aware, and to allow, accept, and acknowledge the real relationship that is actually happening, instead of try-ing to make it something different from what it is. But to be able to do that you need to manifest what I call the courageous heart. The real relationship is the relationship of the courageous heart. If you look at the reason you split your relationships, the reason you do not see them as they are, you will see it is because you are a coward in your heart. You are scared. Why do I say that? Because when you are splitting relationships, making them black or white, good or bad, what you are doing is separating love from hatred. You are separating what you see as the good feelings in your heart from what you call the negative feelings. You either feel love, by itself, or you feel a negative feeling by itself. You do not let them co-exist. You do that mainly to protect your love. You are afraid of the negative feelings. If the other person is good, the relationship is good, you are loving, and you allow your heart to be there. The moment something negative comes in, it brings in the negative mental relation-ship. "It is fine to feel all angry and frustrated, it is fine to feel all loving, but I do not know if I can do both. What will happen to my love? It will be contaminated. It will be destroyed by the hatred, by the negativity."
Now a courageous heart is a heart willing to love regard-less of the negativity. The courageous heart is the heart that will love in spite of the badness that is there. The coura-geous heart is not just the heart that only loves and nothing else; it is the heart that loves regardless of what happens. The courageous heart is the heart of unconditional love: whether the other is good or bad, you continue loving them. Usually, with your friend or your spouse it is easy for you to be loving if the other is loving. But if the other is frustrating or mad, angry or rejecting, right away you shift, and close your love and bring in another reaction. You are hurt, you are angry, hateful, or frustrated, and if you are angry, frustrated, or hurt, you do not let yourself feel your love, at least not at the time of your initial reaction. What splitting does, more than anything else, is close the heart. Whether you are all bad or all good, whether you are all loving or all hateful, what you are doing more than any-thing else is covering up your courageous heart. You are not allowing yourself to have your courageous heart, to be your courageous heart. You are not allowing your love to be unconditional. Your love becomes conditional. You respond lovingly only under certain conditions, or with certain manifestations of the other.
So true relationship, real relationship is based ultimately on love, and does not exclude anything else. The coura-geous heart does not exclude negativity. If your heart is lov-ing, you do not have to exclude the negative. You do not have to forget what you know about the situation, about yourself, about the other person. If you have to make the situation unreal, then your love is not real yet. It is condi-tioned by the beliefs in your mind. Your heart is not spon-taneous yet, not real, not courageous yet.
For instance, if you notice you like or love someone and have a relationship with this person, and then when some-thing happens, you feel hurt, attacked, scared, or jealous, you will realize that your tendency is to not want to love at that time. It is not only that you do not want to love; in your mind you say that you shouldn't love that person. You feel that if you love that person even though they are doing that, you are going to lose. You feel that you are going to lose your pride. What is your pride? It is your ego. So if the other person responds or manifests anything that you take to be unacceptable, negative, or bad, most of the time your tendency is to not want to be in contact. So you react-you feel hurt, betrayed, angry, hateful, or you want to get even.
But why not continue loving? Yes, you might even feel angry, you might feel frustrated in the situation, but why does that have to close off the love? Why not continue lov-ing, continue being open, and let that love, that openness, contain whatever else is there? Why not let it be bigger and stronger than any negativity that is there-whether the neg-ativity is yours or the other person's? The moment we see the other person as the bad object, the bad person, right away we want to react by closing our heart. That's it. A desire for revenge comes. Not only does vengefulness or hatred come; when it comes, it is the only thing we want to feel. We do not want to remember the love.
When there is frustration, it is natural that there will be hatred and anger. That is not bad. But it is destructive to allow that anger or hatred to eliminate everything else. The courageous heart does not allow that. The courageous heart wins all the time, by continuing to love regardless of what is happening. You do not love the other because he is good; you do not stop loving him because he is bad. You love because it is your nature to love. Your nature, part of being a human being, is to have a heart; and the heart loves and appreciates and understands and forgives and accepts. Part of that acceptance and understanding is to have room, space, for the other parts of the relationship. You realize that yes, there is frustration, there is difficulty sometimes, sometimes the other person does not like me or I do not like him. But that does not eliminate the courageous heart. It all becomes contained within and absorbed by it. If we allow that to happen, then the relationship is real. We see it as it is. We are not making it something that it is not. We are not looking at it in a purified, artificial way. We are being total, all of ourselves.
If you take just one reaction and be that, and that's it, you are not a complete human being. You are not seeing the other person as a complete human being. You are seeing a mental relationship that has been extracted from other situations. The fact that there is always love for the other person regardless of what else you feel comes from the fact that it is your nature to love. Your heart is always there. You might not be aware of it, but it is there. Although you might not hear the beating of your heart, it does not mean that your heart is not there. Having a heart is part of being a human being. You cannot lose it. Never. If you lose your heart you cannot live any more. It is just like saying to someone, "Well, I do not love this person and that's it." What does that mean? Does that mean that you lost your heart? There is no such thing. You can never purely hate a human being without love being there; it is not possible. You might not be aware of the love, you might be blocking it, but it is there.
It is our nature to love. We are the source of love. We can-not help but have love somewhere; love always underlies any relationship. If there is no love, there is ultimately no relationship. The fact that there is love is absolute-whether you feel the love or not, it is there. When we take one side of the relationship and focus our attention on it and fail to see the other part we are not allowing love. Sometimes there is love and there is no hatred and no negativity, but there is never hatred with no love, because hatred is a reac-tion, while love is being; it is not a reaction. Love is the flow of your nature. Hatred is the reaction to that flow being blocked, that's all. Whenever there is hatred, whenever there is negativity, there is love somewhere. If there was no love, there would be no hatred.
A person who does not have a heart cannot hate, cannot be angry, cannot be hurt, cannot be jealous. Without love there is no such thing as jealousy, hurt, fear, hatred, or anger. All of these things are reactions to the absence of love, to the blockage of it, to the non-perceiving of it. To be aware of the real relationship means that there is always awareness of love. This never goes, in any relationship. There is always the lovingness, and love has understanding in it. Love has forgiveness and acceptance in it. Love has compassion, appreciation, pleasure, happiness, strength, and gratitude. All these are elements of love, and it is there all the time; it is part of our nature. The courageous heart is the heart that is always present, regardless of what hap-pens. If your heart is present only if good things happen, your heart is not yet free, not actualized. You are still a cow-ard, still afraid. You have a heart, but not yet a courageous heart. So to have a true relationship, a real relationship, means to manifest the courageous heart.
To manifest the courageous heart means to continue lov-ing regardless of the situation. It does not mean seeing or clot seeing the situation. The moment you make the situ-ation all wonderful, all positive, with no negativity, no dif-ficulty, no frustration, the courageous heart is no longer present. It is an idealized relationship. It is a mental, unreal relationship. There is ultimately no such thing as an all-good relationship. As long as we are embodied in a physical body, there will be difficulty and frustration. If you hope that one day you are going to have a relationship that is all wonderful, all satisfying, never frustrating, you are dream-ing. There is no such thing here.
And because there is heart and there is love, we can live, we can take in that difficulty, that frustration. We can tol-erate it and continue loving and continue being happy. Love is not here just for enjoyment, for happiness. Love is also here to help you tolerate and accept and understand the difficulties. Love is here to help you continue being happy regardless of the difficulty. Love does not reject dif-ficulty. It is not in the nature of love to reject hatred. Love loves. It does not stop loving when there is hatred or frus-tration or pain. So when something negative happens in a relationship, whether you feel hurt or anger or frustration, and that event makes you forget about love, then you know you are engaged in a relationship that is not real. You are involved in your mind and not in the actuality of the sit-uation. You are not perceiving the real situation. You are not perceiving yourself in a real way. You are not perceiving the other in a real way. You are not seeing the relationship in a real way. And you are not in contact with the other per-son. You are only in contact with that part of your mind, but not with reality.
If we allow ourselves to be in contact, to acknowledge the relationship that actually exists, for a while there will be hurt, there will be frustration and hatred, there will be fear and vulnerability. You might feel a lot of negativity for some time. But if you do not withdraw out of fear, and you allow your heart to be courageous and let yourself be present, in time, love will triumph, and there will be mostly love in the relationship. That does not mean that the frustration and difficulty will go away, but they will not be as powerful. They are never really as powerful. Difficulties are powerful only because we are identified with the negative relationship. Our nature is love. We are, in fact, the source of love. So the most powerful force within us is the loving force. That is the real-ity. We do not see it and we do not allow it to happen because we are identified with another part of ourselves that is not real. We are engaged in something mental, not some-thing real. The more we allow ourselves to be, and to be in contact, the more we are able to perceive the difficulties, the frustrations, the painful feelings and emotions, the more we are able to accept them and tolerate them. We are more able to absorb them, contain them, assimilate them into some-thing larger, bigger, something indestructible, which is the heart. It is important to see that the courageous heart does not reject the bad, does not judge the bad, does not with-draw from the bad, does not exclude the bad. The bad is contained, perceived, felt, acknowledged, accepted, and understood. And the heart continues to love, regardless. When the heart is courageous, then love is unconditional. When the heart is afraid, then love is conditional.
Originally, to start with, human beings create all these mind relationships, these mental relationships, these split-tings in relationships, to protect the love, to protect the heart from hurt. That protection comes from ignorance. We do not know that our heart is indestructible. The heart cannot be destroyed. Your heart is more permanent than your body. Even when you feel hurt, it is not ultimately your heart that is hurt. What is hurt are your identifica-tions, your self-image, your pride. So to continue loving regardless of what happens is not giving in to the other person; it is giving in to your heart, to your nature. Some-times we do not allow ourselves to feel loving, and to be I oving, and to act loving. This is because we think that lov-ing means we are going to be weak, or that we are going to be taken advantage of, or exploited, or that we are being stupid, or that we are going to lose something.
The fact is that the moment you close your heart, you are the one who loses. If you give in to your heart, it does not mean that you are giving in to the other person. It does not mean you are giving in to negativity. You are giving in to your nature. You are surrendering to who you are. To be always loving does not mean that you do not defend your-self. The courageous heart perceives and acknowledges what is there-good or bad. It does not pretend that there is no negativity. It perceives the negativity and deals with it with love. So to continue to be loving does not mean that you are weak. It does not mean that you are going to be domi-nated by someone. In fact, to have a courageous heart means you are able to be inwardly alone and independent. There is no true autonomy without a courageous heart. And there is no courageous heart without true autonomy. To have a courageous heart means to continue loving in spite of the situation, which means your heart is really autonomous. You have achieved the aloneness of the heart. It does not mean you are weak or relinquishing anything. It does not mean you are being exploited. It does not mean you are a dupe. I am saying all this because that is how most people see it: If someone has done something bad to you, you feel that you shouldn't love them, that you are dumb if you do. No, you are being courageous.
I am not talking about continuing to love someone and letting them walk all over you. No, that is not what I am talk-ing about. That is not love. That is dependency. That is need. I'm talking about real understanding, forgiveness, appreci-ation, joy, and pleasure. That's the love I'm talking about. I'm not talking about a situation where there is negativity, the person hates you and exploits you, and you still stick around-that's not love. You are probably just engaged in the frustrating relationship then, the mental relationship.
Real love is courageous, it is strong, it is no bullshit. If some-one does something hateful to you, you deal with it with strength, but you do not stop loving. You do not eliminate the good just because there is bad. You do not eliminate what is really there just because there is also something you do not like. So your courage is in being real, and in being real, you are truly courageous to see the other person as who they are, the whole package.
You can be angry sometimes and still have the coura-geous heart. You can even hate, and still the courageous heart is there. Hate does not contradict love because it can coexist with it. If you are really courageous, sometimes there will be hate, sometimes there will be anger, some-times frustration, but these are passing reactions. They are not real. What exists, what is permanent, is the heart itself. The heart is beingness, an expression of Being. Being is indestructible. It is independent of your mind. A human being is not truly realized unless he can be the courageous heart. No matter how much you are realized, if your heart is conditional, it is dependent on the situation and fright-ened; it is cowardly. You are still not yet real, not complete, regardless of how you experience yourself or how you expe-rience the other. This means that your relationships are not yet real. The real person has real relationships.
The courageous heart is independent of what the other person does and what the other person thinks of you. To have a courageous heart, you need to accept a certain kind of aloneness, a certain kind of independence. With the courageous heart, you are so independent that the person can do all kinds of unpleasant things but you can still see the reality. In that independence, the feeling is that you have to give constantly, regardless of what the other person does or what the situation is. That is where many people balk. If the person is being a jerk, why should I give? Right? Why should I give in to a jerk? Why should I be understanding?
Why should I be accepting? You are understanding, accept-ing, and forgiving not because of who the other person is, but because of who you are. That is independence, that is autonomy, and that is aloneness. So you have a real rela-tionship with yourself. Having a real relationship with yourself allows you to have real relationships with others.
You understand and accept that in human relationships all kinds of negative things happen. There are difficulties, frustrations, and disappointments, but that is part of life that can be tolerated, accepted and learned from. As a mat-ter of fact, we cannot really learn and grow from those inter-actions unless love is there. If we eliminate love from the scene, it is not possible to learn; we are completely reactive. If you become completely reactive, then there is no learn-ing. You just bring something from the past to bear on the present, and that's it. You are just repeating the reaction, an automatic habit. But if love is there, it is possible to understand the situation. It is possible to use the experience as some kind of food for your soul.
I am not talking about something easy; it is not easy for most of us. It is very difficult. It is not easy, but at the same time, it is what is there. I am not saying you should do any-thing about your relationships, that you should make your-self change them. Just see what is. Just acknowledge the facts. What is the actual relationship? Acknowledge all of the feelings, not just some of them. We tend to see just some of the feelings; we do not want to see all of them. So to have a real relationship means to really acknowledge, perceive, feel, and be the whole thing. This is courageous. You are willing to take on the totality of who you are and the totality of the relationship.
The totality is already present; it is not something to be created. All the time you are creating something that is not there. You need to see through your creation and see what really is there. If you see what is really there, you are bound to see that love is the governing force, and that everything else is a reaction to it, or about it. So we are not trying to create something that is not there. What I am saying is: See what actually is there. Your ego self will not let you see what is there. It does not want to see what is actually there. It wants to maintain its distorted vision of one color or another. To see the totality of the relationship means to experience the totality of who you are. This means to become a real human being, a real person, and to see the other person as a real human being. Then you know that both of those persons are grounded in, and are manifesta-tions of, awareness, a larger ground. The other person, and you, and all persons, are nothing but the manifestation, the expression, of the love of that ground. That love is not only in our hearts, that is, something we feel in a relationship; love is what creates us. We are the manifestations of the heart. The human being is the manifestation of the heart.
The human being is nothing but the manifestation of the heart of God. So if there were no love we would not exist. hove is that basic. The heart is that basic. All that you see is a manifestation of love. When you actually, finally, let your-self see it, you see that you are a particularization of loving energy. Your atoms are made out of love. Your body is made out of love. Your mind is made out of love. Your surround-ings are made out of love. Everything is made out of love. I f there were no love, you would see nothing. Beyond love there is just God. Out of that love that manifests from the Cod state, or from the supreme reality, emerge all of the par-t icularizations. We are the final fruit of that particularization, and because we are the final fruit, we have the microcosmic heart that reflects the universal heart.
Just as the universal heart does not judge or reject negative things in the world, the personal heart, the human heart, also has the capacity to do that, not to reject, not to judge, i o continue loving, to continue enjoying, regardless of what happens. So in the usual mental relationship-which is avoiding contact-you will notice that you avoid contact if there is no experience of love. If you are in complete contact, you will perceive some love there. Being in contact does not mean you will experience only love. To be really in contact means to be in contact with whatever is there, all of it in all of its dimensions. If you feel that you are in contact, but you feel only pure frustration or anger or hurt or hatred, you real-ize that there is something there that you are not in contact with. You are avoiding something: your heart. Your heart is always there; you cannot lose your heart. So where does it go? Sometimes you do not see it, do not perceive it; you do not feel it, but it is there. It cannot go. How could it go? There is no such thing as your heart being gone, or your being will disappear. To say that your heart will go is like saying that you can continue living without a brain. If the heart completely goes, you will not be able to live. There is no life. You will not be able to feel anything.
Student: Do you mean to have contact, it has to be between a heart and another heart?
AHA: Contact is the totality of who you are, and the total-ity of the other. Heart is part of who we are, but not the totality.
S: So when you are actually having contact, you are angry, you are hating, there is joy or pleasure, whatever?
AHA: Yes. If you are really in contact, there is all of that. When you can experience and be in contact with the totality of what is there, then you can be the totality of your essence. And the totality of Essence is the courageous heart, what I call the Crystal Heart.
S: Is the ego based on separation because of love and neg-ative emotions?
AHA: The beginning of ego is really the splitting between positive and negative, between love and hatred, between pain and pleasure. That is how ego starts. Without the need to protect oneself from the negative, or to protect the posi-tive part from the negative parts, ego would not arise. So ego is based ultimately on splitting. We see it manifest in relationships. These split relationships are the basis of ego. Without split relationships there would be no ego.
At the beginning, in childhood, there is a relationship between the child and the mother, the parents, the envi-ronment. When the relationship is difficult or painful, the child deals with it by splitting the difficult from the easy, the love from the hatred. But to do that, you have to do it with your mind, because it is not real. You have to split your perception. You have to split your mind. You have to believe something that is not there. That is the beginning of mental structure. You have to split the reality into this and that, split mother into good mother and bad mother. Well, your mother is never all good or all bad. She is a mix-ture. So if you split her into good mother and bad mother, and you have to remember this and that, you are creating something in your mind that is not really there. In time, that becomes the mental relationship that you reenact in your life relationships. So there is the idealized mother, there is the frustrating mother, and there is the attacking mother. And your relationships with those three parts are what become reenacted in your life as mental relationships.
We usually look at ego from the perspective of self-image. I am looking at it now in terms of relationship, instead of only from self-image: That includes both the self-image and the object image, both you and your mother. I am looking at the totality of the relationship, within which the self--image and the ego developed. We are seeing how we split those relationships, and how that splitting led to the ego and the identifications of the ego. At the beginning, there may have been a need for that splitting, because the child actually could not tolerate the whole thing, didn't have enough understanding, didn't know. The system was not developed, the perception was not developed enough to see the totality, to understand it, and tolerate it. The child had to split the different parts. But for us now, this splitting is no longer needed. We can tolerate reality now. The child, we could say, could not tolerate reality completely.
The ego is based on not wanting to see all of reality. The ego is always based on dissociation and splitting. If the ego sees all of reality, it won't exist any more. Ego continues to exist because it believes its own perception. Ego is part of the mind, and the mind has a great capacity for self-deception. The mind can be lied to; Being cannot be deceived. So in the beginning the mind deceives itself, and it continues to believe that deception, taking it to be reality. But the moment it recognizes that something is not the truth, it cannot hold on to it. In a sense, the mind is very honest, very sincere. It is honest and sincere, but it is not completely knowledgeable or intelligent. But the moment it sees the truth, it cannot pre-tend that things are any other way. The mind continues to believe the false only because it thinks that it is the truth. The moment you show it that something is false, the mind will I let go of it. So the moment the mind sees the whole totality of the truth, it will let go of the false, and the ego will go. One way of going about this is seeing the complete relationship. If you really see, acknowledge, and live a complete relation-ship, you will have to live as a real human being, not as an ego, not as a mental structure. A mental structure-which is a self-image-persists because you keep engaging in mental relationships, which are split relationships, unreal relation-ships. When a relationship is complete and real, you have to be complete and real.
I am the heart, the courageous heart, not the uncondi-tional heart. People use the word unconditional to mean subservient, staying in a situation regardless of what someone does to you. I am not talking about that. Yes, you love regardless of what someone does to you, but you also love yourself. You do not just sit there and let people abuse you. You are courageous. You are willing to see the truth. So the love here is real, it is a mature kind of love, objective love. I call it Crystal Love. The crystalline clarity that is love.
S: When one is involved in one of those three different relationships, is it usually one of them that you involve yourself in, or can you involve yourself in several of them, in different stages of relationship?
AHA: Usually you shift back and forth between the dif-ferent kinds of mental relationships. Sometimes a person's overall or general pattern is to be involved in one of them, but from moment to moment, the person shifts back and forth between them. People have their own patterns. When you are engaged in a relationship, you go back and forth between the three, or you see the totality of it which has all of them in various proportions.
S: So isn't there one that is predominantly the way you are?
AHA: Usually there is. Some people have one, or they might have one that is predominant for a month or two, or a few years, and then another one predominates.
S: If you are rejecting your hatred, you are also rejecting your love?
AHA: Yes. If you reject your hatred, split away from your hatred, your love becomes unreal, because it is based on an idealization, an unreality. Usually you will be disappointed at some point. So this is what happens: There is love, it is an idealized relationship, all loving, all wonderful. Every-thing you see is wonderful: the way your love moves, her eyes, the color of her hair. You can stare at your love for hours and hours. Then one day something happens-the other person does something and you become really hurt and disappointed. You are hurt and disappointed not because of how bad it is that the other person did something, but because that idealized image is destroyed. The other per-son is not perfect. Then the relationship turns sour.
But if you are mature and you have learned how to have a real relationship, you will accept that imperfection. You see that it cannot be wonderful all the time. It was never that way anyway. The person has not really changed. You realize how the capacity for a real relationship is necessary for a long-lasting relationship. There is no long-lasting, satisfying relationship if you can't have a real relationship. Those men-tal relationships cannot last very long. They are not real. With the idealized relationship, at some point you will be disappointed. With the negative relationship, at some point it will be too negative and you will have to get out of it. The frustrating one means there is no relationship there anyway; it is just something that you want and cannot have.
Many people who are not in a relationship but are always wanting one, tend to engage in the frustrating relationship. They have an idea in their mind that they should have a good relationship, but they are destined to not get it. If they got it, they would have to deal with the splitting in their rela-tionships, and the feeling of aloneness that arises, the absence of relationship, the absence of contact. Every time you see through a mental relationship, you have to deal with some kind of absence of relationship because the fake rela-tionship is a substitute, filling the hole of real relationship.
If there is no real contact, there is no real relationship. So you have to constantly activate one of those mental relation-ships because you cannot tolerate being with no relation-ship in your mind. You cannot live without relationship, so there is always an activation of some kind of mental rela-tionship. That is why most of the time people are thinking about other people. If you examine your thoughts about other people, you will see that you categorize them into these three groups. You are always engaged in some kind of relationship in your mind. You do not allow yourself to be alone. You do not allow yourself to feel the absence of the real relationship.
But you have to allow yourself to feel that absence, feel the aloneness-which is the hole of the real relationship -before you will be able to experience the real relationship. You have to experience the absence of it completely-no relationship, I'm empty, nothing there, no contact. When you feel that way, you may also feel that you are not real, that you do not exist, because you cannot exist without rela-tionship. The moment you allow the negative relationship to go, the mental relationship to go, the ego starts freaking out, starts disintegrating, disappearing, and the aloneness will be felt as some sort of emptiness, some kind of absence of self. So when the mental relationship goes, the part of you that is relating to it goes, too, and you start feeling the absence of self, an emptiness which will be felt as an alone-ness. When the aloneness is accepted and tolerated, it is then possible for real contact to happen, and not before that.
When the relationship is in the present, you can see when there is negativity in it, what is really negative in it, not what your mind says. If the other person does not understand you, you know that it really is because the other person does not understand, not only because you believe that they do not understand you. If the person loves you, it is because he really loves you, not because you want him to love you.
This is all part of the new perspective that we are exploring. Real relationship is a way that true digestion of experience happens. That is how we grow. It is the context in which a real human being grows and develops. Because we split our relationships, making them all good or all bad, we cannot digest and metabolize them. We cannot digest something that is not real. We have to see the truth in order to learn.