The First Relationship

Without this relationship, every other relationship will fail....

When we look at the world, the media bombards us constantly with images of relationships. Fantasy relationships. Budding relationships. Failed relationships. Wounded relationships. Through movies, television shows, YouTube videos, advertisements, and articles, we spend a tremendous part of our day becoming emotionally pulled into stories about relationships.

The problem, though, is that relationships with other people can create trauma and pain in our lives, if we do not know how to see them properly. The key to seeing relationships with clarity and wisdom is to establish the most important relationship first: the relationship between the mind and the soul.

Every single person contains a spark of Infinite Light within his or her heart. The body and the environments are given to each of us on a very temporary basis. There are only so many breaths that we have. There is only so much time this physical form will last. Before it took birth, the soul was given a preview of its life: the opportunities that would come to it; the debts that it would have to pay. The entire panorama gets revealed twice to a soul: as a preview - before it takes birth. And in the last few seconds before death. With the last breath, the soul has a chance to review its entire life and judge, for itself, if it accomplished what it incarnated to do.

But the problem is that the memory of the soul’s purpose falls away as the pressure of the world increases. Guru Amar Das describes this in the 29th Pauree of the Anand Sahib. Here is an excerpt of the 29th Pauree, poetically 


“By Your own inclination,

Oh Love,

You come into form,

And You love

Being in the midst

Of Your beautiful family.

But the devotional love

Of the soul slips away,

And we become bound

By our own desires.

This happens

Under the pressures

Of the world around us,

And in this Creative Play,

We forget

The Essence of the Divine.

Infatuation arises.

And we focus on loving

Other people

Other things.” – from the 29th Pauree of the Anand Sahib by Guru Amar Das.

The mind gets entranced by what surrounds it. The people. The tastes. The desires. The conflicts. All of this trap the mind and pull it away from the journey of the soul.

Then, all the beautiful possibilities of life, the breath that is given for us to be happy, and enjoy the experience of our own Divinity, gets hijacked by the mind’s pursuit of its own imagination. The mind tries to establish relationships with everything that surrounds it, completely forgetting that it has to serve its own soul, its own Inner Light, first and foremost.

Guru Amar Das talks more about this dynamic in the 11th Pauree of the Anand Sahib. Here is that Pauree, poetically translated.

“Oh my Beloved mind,

Always remember the Ultimate Reality.

This family and

All these social relationships

That you see

Will not go with you

When you die.

Your friends and companions

Will not go with you


So why attach

Your awareness

To them?

There are so many actions

Which cause us to hurt ourselves

Or to hurt other people,

Drowning us in illusion.

Don’t do them.

Don’t do those things

That will lead

To endless regrets.

Deeply listen to the instructions

Of the Teacher of Truth,

And take those instructions with you

When you go.

Says Nanak,

Oh my Beloved mind,

Always remember the Ultimate Reality.”

11th Pauree of the Anand Sahib by Guru Amar Das.

Before we can have any relationship with any person, we first must have a strong relationship between our own mind and our own soul. When the mind gets trained, through the Guru, to relate to that Inner Spirit, then everything in our environments can be seen through the soul’s eyes.

Gurbani talks constantly about Naam. One of my very favorite definitions of Naam comes from the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji. He said, “Naam is my identity given to me by my God complete and clear.” In other words, Naam does not refer to some “God guy” in some “seventh heaven.” Every soul has a unique purpose, and a sovereign journey that it needs to take through time and space. This soul-identity was given as a gift of the Creator. That is Naam. The first relationship happens when my mind learns that it has to understand that Naam, support that Naam, represent that Naam, act according to that Naam - all the time. If the mind does not get trained to surrender to Naam, then it develops its own rebellious identity, and steals the life force of the soul for its own imaginative purposes.

When the mind becomes the friend of the soul, rather than its boss, then life changes. Then every situation and every relationship gets evaluated intuitively. Does this relationship serve the purpose for which my soul incarnated? Does this situation bring me closer to the experience of my Divinity, which is the birthright of my soul? When the relationship between the mind and the soul becomes strong enough, then a person can even sacrifice his or her own life with joy – because the mind is so deeply trained to live for its Spirit, rather than for its own sense of pleasure and territory. But that capacity is a gift of grace, and not everyone can achieve it.

Focusing the mind through meditation and simran provides the training ground for the mind to experience and eventually surrender to the spirit within. When that relationship works, happiness comes. Yet, if that relationship does not work, then no amount of sex, or affection, or hanging out with friends can satisfy us at the deepest level. No one accompanies us when we leave this body behind. In the last moment, only the connection between the soul and the mind exists. With our final breath, we evaluate whether the relationship between the mind and the soul was successful, whether we achieved what our spirit incarnated to achieve. Nothing else will matter.

So as the media bombards us with images and advice about relationships, let us remember the teachings of the Guru and first establish the relationship between the soul and the mind. When that relationship works, then the hand of the Divine can take care of everything else.

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