What we usually call a relationship is the artificial need in the mind for the other. When using the word “relationship,” we talk about a one-to-one type of relationship, usually male-female. This is coming from the mind.
Then there’s the whole phenomenon of sex. Sex is an instinct of the body, an urge of the body. An urge, not a need. It is a need of the race, not of the individual.
Love is that state of overflowing where you need nothing.
Relationships, Sex and Love
In our culture, we tend to mix these three things together and stir them around until we no longer know what is what. We call our urge for sex “love.” We call the thing that results from that a “relationship.” Or because of the mind’s artificial need for the other, we call that “love,” and so forth. We stir it around, and we get very confused sometimes about what it actually is that we are dealing with.
A relationship is a need from the mind.
So, let’s look at these things in more detail, and start at the beginning. One of your first and strongest impressions occurred at birth, and that was when you recognized that your survival depended on the other. That other became life itself. You didn’t think of yourself as complete, and in a way you were not complete, because you wouldn’t survive by yourself. You couldn’t dress yourself; you couldn’t feed yourself; you couldn’t clean yourself. It was impossible for you to fulfill your own needs. So you looked outside for fulfillment right from the very beginning. Therefore, almost everyone has this deep, deep feeling: in order to be fulfilled, in order to be happy and safe, I need the other. But this is not realistic. It is just a reflection of the helpless infant and its survival needs, still imprinted in your mind.
Consciously, we wouldn’t agree with that. Consciously we would say, “No, of course my survival doesn’t depend on the other, but life would be boring if I were all by myself,” or you’ll find all kinds of reasons to need another.
But the real reason is that at deeper level you honestly believe that you need someone else in order to be happy and fulfilled—even in order to live.
This creates an almost constant state of anguish. If you don’t have someone, then all you can do is look around, and struggle, and manipulate, until you finally get someone. Then once you get the other, you worry about keeping him or her. So it goes on and on and on. And it is not just a game played by two people, because on a subconscious level you are an infant struggling for survival. And of course this infant is delighted when it succeeds. Especially if it can get the other to sign a piece of paper saying that he or she is going to stick around forever, and promises to take care of you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Amen. The most beautiful day of one’s life.
So we have this deep, artificial need for the other. And it actually doesn’t have much to do with the other. It has to do with our survival, and that usually makes us very selfish. We want to arrange things so that our survival is guaranteed, and we are willing then to compromise in order to keep the other there.
Sex is a need of the race.
See that you were born with the reality, “I need the other in order to survive.” This realization engraved itself deep into your mind. Then someplace along the way—let’s keep it simple and call it puberty—arises this phenomenon called sex, which is a need of the race, not a need of the individual. Be very clear about that. Sex is not a need of the individual. Air is a need of the individual, water is a need of the individual, rest is a need of the individual, food is a need of the individual. Without these things the individual dies, and that is what defines a need. If you don’t get it, you die.
You don’t need sex. People have lived their whole life without sex, and lived to be very old—sometimes older than those who enjoy sex. But sex is a need of the race. The species will die out if there is no sex. So everybody is given a little bit of it, and the idea is to spread it around, and then the race continues. But it is not a need of the individual. Still, it is a very strong urge.
So when this urge arises, and mixes with your artificial need for the other, of course you are attracted even more strongly than before to someone else. And then you start sliding into the patterns established by our society about how two people relate to each other. The conditioning of the culture, colored by those of your childhood, comes in the mix. Saying that men should do this, women should do that, this is the way to act, this is the way to be, these are the games to play, and these are the rules of the game, and so forth. It’s all conditioning.
Quite obviously, the combination of this physical urge for sex with the need for the other creates a very, very strong impulse to be with the other. Most people want to call this love. And this is where a lot of the confusion comes from.
We call it love, and it isn’t love. It is the opposite of love. It is coming from neediness, not from overflowing. It is coming from concern for yourself, and a need to survive.
Not that that is wrong, because you do need to survive, and it is fine to care of yourself. But not with the attitude of an infant. As long as you believe that your survival, or your happiness or wellbeing, depends on the other, you keep yourself in that state of regression. And as long as you hold on to that, you will always feel incomplete as a person.
It makes us possessive, jealous, and even suspicious of the other. Afraid that we are going to lose the other. And we are afraid, because deep down we think our survival depends on the other. It is not uncommon to feel that one of the deepest expressions of love is to say to someone, “I can’t live without you.” This is just plain stupid. If anyone ever says this to you, you are going to feel like you are in prison. They are making you responsible for them. They are actually saying, “Without you I am going to die. If you go away and leave me, my life ends. My survival depends on you.”
That is the infant coming out in its purest form. It is not a nice thing at all. This so called deepest expression of love is actually total regression. It has nothing whatsoever to do with love.
What can happen, however, is that the internal infant in the one person feels fulfilled by the presence of the other person, and vice versa. One is feeling, “Ah, I have mommy,” and the other is feeling, “Ah, I have mommy,” and so now both have mommies and they can relax. And because they relax, something beautiful can happen—but it is the relaxation that causes something beautiful to happen, not the fact of being with each other. If they could relax through some other method, then they would achieve the same thing. It is the relaxation that causes the beautiful space to be there, not the presence of the other. We can achieve that same kind of thing by learning to relax by ourselves, by seeing that we are fulfilled as we are.
Love is complete in itself
Love is total fulfillment. Love is like an overflowing; it is an expansion. I am using love in this sense, and not mixing it up with sex, and the need of the mind. Love is non-directive. It is not directed toward anyone. Relationships are usually directed. What we call love in relationships is directed to one person as an investment, hoping to get something back, even if it is just the feeling of inner fulfillment. True love doesn’t expect anything back, because it doesn’t need anything. It is already complete in itself.
True love is like a light bulb shining in a room. It doesn’t shine just on one specific person. It simply shines, and it doesn’t matter if anyone is even there; the light is shining. The light is complete in itself and doesn’t need to feed on anyone in the room to be bright. That is the way love is. Love is an overflowing, love is a giving, love is a feeling of completion, of fulfillment. When you are in love, in true love, you are not just in love, you are love.
This experience—love—is most apt to come to you when you are relaxed. This can come in meditation; this can come in yoga, in dance; this can come anyplace, actually. It is something that you experience when the ego—the mind, memory—is not tormenting you, not contracting you.
Many people are looking for love through sex and through relationships, and they don’t find it. Which isn’t to say you can’t find love through a relationship with another. You can use it perhaps as a doorway. But real love will be with yourself and existence, and that will include everybody else in existence. Yet the moment your love is directed to one person, be very clear about the fact that this is the mind saying, “I need this other for survival,” and then it is not love, it is a need.
If you can see that, you will save yourself a lot of anguish. You will save yourself a lot of trouble and effort. Because if we use the word love to refer to that which happens when the need of the mind combines with the need of the species for sex, we experience a lot of confusion. It is very easy to confuse what sages and wise people say about love—when they are talking about the overflowing kind of love—with the kind of love that we learn about on the Hollywood movie screen, which is not love at all. We use the same word to mean two totally opposite states of being. If we can separate these things, see them as different elements, different states, then we can move beyond the states that are crippling us, and be open to those states that expand us.
Relationships are clarifying
Looking at your relationships is a wonderful device to help you get clear. A relationship will help you see how childish you are, how dependent you are on the other, how you still are projecting onto the other your mother, your father, or other people that were taking care of you in your infancy. You can see how you make the other responsible for your happiness, for your relaxation, for your well being.
Watch your relationships with people. This includes not only your so-called love and sexual relationships, but also your relationships with friends and casual acquaintances. See how much you also make them responsible for your happiness, for your well-being, your fulfillment. And how much you blame them if things don’t go right for you.
Once you start seeing this and start seeing that you don’t need to live that way, then you can begin to feel completion and fulfillment with life itself, with you yourself. You can feel love wherever you are. Then you will be love.
But you will never experience yourself as love as long as you need the other. It is a contradiction. It cannot possibly happen.
There is nothing wrong with being with another—that is beautiful. But if you make the other responsible for your survival, it gets ugly. If you blame the other for your unhappiness, it is ugly. If you cling to the other and limit the freedom of the other, it is ugly. It is not love.
Be open to what you mean each time you say or hear the word love, how you interpret it, how you translate it in your own mind. Let your relationships help you to find out more about yourself. Be careful about calling your relationships “love.” If your focus is on giving without expecting anything in return, if you feel that the other is free to walk out of your life, knowing that you are going to remain complete yourself, then you can call that love. But if any part of you is clinging to the other, understand that it is a need coming from the helpless infant you no longer are.
Sex can be confusing, because if the physical urge for sex is being realized and released, the body relaxes. And if at the same time the need of the mind for the other is being satisfied, everything can seem perfect. Maybe that’s why we call it “making love.” But sometimes the next morning you recognize that it wasn’t love. You fall back into neediness.
What we normally call love is just a mind trip. It keeps us in the mind, it keeps us regressed, keeps us frustrated, keeps us in a state of turmoil. And it is also something that we have to let go of, if we ever want to become clear. The moment you can let go of it, you probably will enter a state of love.