How many of us have been swept away by a good love story? You know, where the lovers overcome obstacle after obstacle to finally end up together, riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after? Oh, how I love those scenes. Yet how many of us truly grasp the reality of relationships? We generally enter relationships because we seek happiness, contentment, and a sense of personal completeness. Of course, some enter relationships with different ends in view: monetary gain, sex, security, or status.
The ancient Chinese sage Chuang Tzu wrote, “Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” I really believe the quest for happiness is what ruins many relationships. How do I mean that? It’s the unrealistic expectations that are so easily formed in a quest for the “perfect” relationship.
Somehow we expect the other person to provide that magical something that makes us forever happy.
Sorry… it doesn’t work that way.
It’s often shocking when the euphoria of the bonding hormone oxytocin begins to fade. This takes place anywhere from six months to a year or two after beginning a relationship. It’s usually at this point that we really begin learning about the other person and come to know them (hopefully) as a friend, as well as a lover. This is someone who can mirror back to us the things we perhaps haven’t fully realized or discovered about ourselves. When we have a friend we can really trust, we feel safe in sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings. We feel safe enough not to make excuses for being human. Any so-called perfection simply comes from accepting ourselves as perfectly imperfect. This is the real secret to a “perfect” relationship. In the absence of striving for the perfect relationship, we begin to see how things are oh-so-perfect.
A perfect relationship begins with recognition of who and what we are. How can we know and relate to another if we’re confused about our own being and motivations? We generally don’t even know our own minds, let alone the inclinations of our hearts.
There’s an ancient story about a musk deer searching here and there to find the source of the musky perfume it detects. Everywhere it looks, the deer believes, “Now I’ve found it!” only to be disappointed again and again and again. The location of the scent continues to elude the deer until one day it discovers it’s coming from its own glands.
After countless failures to find the source of this wondrous scent, the so-called “perfect” relationship, it is one day suddenly revealed to us. The sublime, intoxicating, captivating fragrance is coming from our own hearts. The point of human completeness is when we fall in love with love and discover ourselves for the first time; then we have discovered the source. A new world flowers before us, and we turn all we look upon into love. Our special someone then becomes the perfect mirror of our own beauty, reflecting back to us the love we’ve discovered and the love we share.
We vow to polish that mirror we see in the form of others, day after day, decade after decade until we’re reflected clearly in its polished perfection. May we never give up our quest for that “perfect” relationship! Love is long-enduring and kind. Love knows the end from the beginning and seeks to find only itself. It searches until it finds the source of itself. When two conscious spirits join together with two pairs of eyes seeing one vision, that is the perfect relationship! That is love finding itself!
Reflections from Turtle Lake.