When asked, “what is it that makes you happy to be in the presence of the person you love?”, it is not uncommon to hear answers like, “because I’m able to just be myself in his/her presence”, or, “because he /she makes me feel so free”, or, “because I can express myself and not worry”, and so on. The underlying idea of all such answers is the sense of freedom. It is hardly a surprise that the sense of freedom attracts people. People love spending time with someone who is able to provide a psychological space for expression, especially when there is no fear of criticism. This space for expression also includes the freedom to simply lay aside all the roles that one has to assume in life. Generally we are bound to various roles and identities suited to the different functions in our daily activities but these tend to impose a limitation upon the mind because its freedom to express is bound to the role in a given circumstance.
Vedanta declares that freedom is intrinsic to our true being. Naturally we will seek to gravitate towards any opportunity where we can eliminate our sense of limitation in the mind and a relationship is one of them. You may wonder how, if we seek to experience self-freedom through relationships and intimacy, why we don’t seek that sense of freedom by being alone where too we need not assume any role. This is indeed a valid doubt. The reason is that when alone one cannot share. Sharing especially sharing one’s thoughts and emotions is the way the mind can extend beyond the boundary of the body-identity which is truly the primary limitation for the mind. In fact all other roles and identities are extensions of the body itself and the mind will always seek to transcend its conditioning to the body.
Can you imagine a life in which we can never share with anyone our ideas, opinions, feelings and emotions? When two people in a relationship are able to freely share or express a tiny portion of their minds with each other there arise a subtle joy and pleasure in the mind which is able to expand beyond the body to reach the other person. The greater the capacity to express and share with one another, the deeper the bond of relationship becomes.
If the sense of freedom in the human psyche plays such an important role in creating happy relationships, it is not difficult to understand why when someone becomes possessive or dominating in a relationship, it creates tension that can ruin the relationship. Possessiveness and domination creates many more negative tendencies like insecurity, fear, desire to control, blame, anger, repression and many others. All these negative tendencies directed to the partner stifle their inner sense of freedom. The same relationship now suffocates the human psychology. It becomes painful. Perhaps today you can think about your own relationship and your attitude towards your partner and ask yourself – “Am I making my partner to feel free or stifled?”
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