Relationship between men and women | November 2019

Question –
We’ve talked a lot about relationships during the weekend. Can you tell us the essential points in a relationship between a man and a woman?

Nathalie –
The main ingredient is honesty. A very beautiful practice is to dare to be completely honest with a human being you’re in a relationship with, never to play games, never pretend and to be very aware of what is happening, particularly in terms of opening and self-protection.
In fact a relationship ought to be a movement of opening. That’s a relationship, I think. It’s a way for me to open up to another human being. There’s no end to it. I’ve come to understand that opening never ends, it can always become deeper and more intimate. We can reveal ourselves more and more. This goes along with honesty, that is, the more I open, the more honest I am. If you are face to face with someone who takes the same positIon, then of course there’s a relationship. A relationship from being to being and not from ego to ego.
The ego is trying to win, it’s always in a relation of opposition. It wants to be right. The relationship I’m talking about is not dual because it doesn’t play out in opposition. There is never one person who’s right and another who’s wrong. I open up to the other to see their reactions and my own, and how that plays out between us, but never with the idea that there’s one who’s in the wrong and one who’s right.
The three essential points are presence, honesty, opening. Be careful not to see them as an ideal to be attained. Instead, see in the moment how I can manage to go in the direction of opening. When I see that I’m protecting myself, there is acceptance and clear observation of what’s happening. I observe any closing up without letting an ideology interfere and tell me how I ought to behave.

In an honest and mature relationship, it’s beautiful when you can say very simply, “Now I feel that I’m defending myself, that I’m closing up, because there’s a sensitive spot that’s been touched.” It’s said without judging or justifying yourself, and without the other judging or attacking. We become aware together of what’s going on, we recognize it and accept it.
We can add a fourth point: awareness. We acknowledge without accusing. What seems to me essential in a relationship is to drop the mode of accusing the other person of being what they are. It’s important to be able to see the other in their whole being, and to be able to see them in their limits and in their fragility without attacking them.
It’s often difficult not to ask them to be different, to be the way we want, so that we’re not triggered or disturbed. The other person’s limits tend to set us off, because they reflect our own. The other is a magnifying mirror.

And of course the most important thing is love. But what is love, after all? It’s the state of openness, accepting the other as they are, wholly, completely. If you only love part of them, it’s not love, it’s commerce. The thing is then to love even the difficult, challenging aspects and to see that we have chosen these aspects as well, because they make us work on our own limits. We may not realize this in the beginning, but later on we may say « Oh yes, I understand why this is my partner; it’s because they make it possible for me to see parts of myself that are still closed or in reaction.

Excerpt from the weekend in Vienna (Austria) | November 2019