Question: I would like to be able to sustain a loving and harmonious relationship, but I always seem to end up being critical or dissatisfied with the other person. How can I learn to avoid these dead-end relationships and find true love and compassion for someone else?
Answer: You wouldn't be having the experiences that you are in your relationships if it weren't for some beautiful Truth that was waiting for you to go through what you need to go through in order to reach it.
Start with this: Before we can solve a problem, we have to understand its nature. And that means that before we can get past the place where we are within ourselves and with others, we have to understand exactly what it is that's keeping us there. Most of us aren't interested in discovering what's keeping us where we are. We're too busy dreaming about where we should be. That means that our attention has to turned around; it has to be brought back to a certain kind of place inside of ourselves where we can start to see what it is that is keeping us from taking the next step.
When you meet the people in your life, you start thinking about them -- what he can do for you, what she's taking from you, what they might have done. If you're married, if you have children, if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend ... when you sit and talk to the person you're talking to, most of the time you look out and you see that person sitting across from you, but what you are talking to is really not that person ... rather it is all of your experiences in the past with them.
Relationships such as these have very little to do with one another, but are much more centered around looking at a picture we hold in our minds of the other person. And the picture that we hold of the person we're talking to is not the person, because it is created by the content that we put in the picture.
This is just a small way of showing that there is a feature inside of us that as it actually operates without our knowing it, is not putting us in relationship with the people and events that are actually before us, but is serving to keep us in relationship with our own past experiences, the content of our own mind. And the purpose of this unconscious relationship that is kept in place is to keep our sense of self in place. I don't have to think about you when I'm sure of myself!
We have a feature of ourselves as human beings, a God-given quality, that makes it possible for us to look at a human being and in the moment to know what that person is going through, to taste the interior life of another man, another woman while we're talking to them.
A self-working man or a woman, the person to whom and in whom the Truth begins to become a living force, cannot have a bad relationship - it's impossible - because everything that happens to that self-working man or woman is used for the purpose it was created, which is to help that person reveal first the condition they're actually in, and at the same time as discovering their actual condition, to be moved to read it, to be moved to want that which rests above them.
Call this the first step in reaching the next level of your relationships - make your first action to first come aware of your own reactions, and as best you know how, simultaneously drop the reaction by reversing your attention in the moment that you're upset. When you get upset with someone, your attention is instantly glued onto the source of your irritation. Try to understand that at the moment that you see the other person as being responsible for this irritation, what you are really seeing is your experience of the moment, so that really what you're experiencing isn't the person, but the content of your own past experience in its narrow confines that is causing you to feel the way you feel. Reverse your attention and stand in the light of what you see about yourself before you turn that light on another person.
Between our known negative reactions towards those who we perceive to have offended us, and that healing/unknown love that restores us to the truth of each other, is hidden a kind of conscious changing ground… an inner realm whose entrance is gained by willing intention to love, and whose sanctuary is won through self-sacrifice. That means that between this place where it would be possible for us to be in touch with what is in true relationship with another human being and the one that we are presently standing in, there is a place that is gained by our willing intention to love, to understand, and the sacrifice of ourselves to stay there.
Before we can change what we do to each other, we must realize that what we must do is change ourselves. Learn to serve Truth first, then in the very attempt to do that, God will bless your home and give you the relationships you are intended to have.