Have you ever had a flashback of a time in your life when everything was different?
The other day I had a little rumble in my tummy. I don't know what it was about that rumble, but it brought me right back to my university days, maybe around 17 years ago... (Gosh, that makes me feel old!) For a split second, I went right back to a part-time job I had working in a truck factory. I remember feeling exhausted from switching from a night shift schedule on weekends to a daytime schedule during the week for my classes, but also energized by all of the fun and silliness at work, and learning so many interesting things in school! I also had two other part time jobs at the time. I must have been working 40 hours a week and studying another 40. I was running on pure adrenaline for a year.
When you have a flashback like that, and then come back into the present moment, it's quite surprising when you notice how much has changed. Your thoughts, actions, routines, desires, goals, stresses, and pleasures are all completely different! Even your body has completely changed. All of the cells in the body get replaced within seven years according to science. Yet, our memories remain.
So that begs the question,
"Am I the same person as the person I was, or am I a different person?"
I believe the answer is both. I am, and I am not the person I was yesterday. Even though all of the mental thoughts and physical body have changed, there are memories which constantly stay with us. So there is a part of us that is still connected to the "you" of your memory.
Now, what about our relationships with the people around us? When we share a moment with someone, see the same scenery, feel the same wind, connect hands, finish each other's the thoughts, and feel that connection with someone on a deeper level... Am I me? Or am I "us"?
Once again, the answer I believe is both.
In Vipassana meditation, we learn about being a constantly changing cluster of bubbles that is always moving, always changing with bubbles floating away and new bubbles joining the cluster. This happens with every new breath, every bite we eat, every word spoken, and every idea accepted. We have the illusion of being individuals, yet we are one, big, ever-changing constantly evolving, breathing, bubble-being.
When we are in harmony, we are one in harmony. When we are in conflict, we are one in conflict. We are one with our past selves, future selves, and divine selves.
So, when it comes to our relationships, I feel like I can get stressed and caught up in... "Is he right for me? Is he good enough? What does he want? What do I want? Do I want him? What if I hurt him? What if he hurts me? Where will this go?"
But if I can start to see relationships in the same way I see my relationship to the world, as Vipassana teaches, as a cluster of ever-changing bubbles, well, it's so much easier, isn't it?
He is as much me as I am me.
Everything is impermanent.
Just observe, be in the moment.
Accept, and let go, with no attachments or expectations.
Being stressed about relationships implies ego and individuality. But the yogic way would say to breathe, observe, welcome whatever feelings come up, feel those feelings, allow them to be, and allow them to go...Like the relationship between the wind and the bird.