In Practicing The Power of Now, Tolle writes:
“Unless and until you access the conscious frequency of presence, all relationships, and particularly intimate relationships, are deeply flawed and ultimately dysfunctional.”
This idea might strike many people as radical, particularly those who believe that they are already in strong, loving relationships with friends, family, or a romantic partner.
In order to understand Tolle’s point, however, you have to dig into the root causes of unhappiness in ourselves and all with whom we come into contact.
The Foundation of Enlightened Relationships
Whenever we are not acting from a state of presence, we act from the perspective of the ego. The ego, by its very nature, is a form of our own individual separation from All That Is. Since the ego feels separated from the universal consciousness of love and joy, it does not understand how to be in true communion with another. Instead, it strives to do all that it can in order to further its own end.
When it comes to relationships, then, our ego is always seeking to gain or hold something over the other person. Often, this occurs on an unconscious level, and we are never aware of the hold the ego has over us. Only when we act from presence do we release this need, and stop expecting and demanding egoistic considerations from those we love.
This release is the beginning of true freedom, and the beginning of one’s ability to connect openly and deeply with another being, regardless of the form that relationship takes.
Gary Zukav expresses a similar idea in The Seat of The Soul. In Zukav’s writings on spiritual partnerships, he explains that a true partnership can only occur when one relinquishes the need for external power, and recognizes that the growth of his own spiritual character is intrinsically tied to the spiritual growth of his partner.
How To Deal With Addictive Relationships
The way to deal with negative relationships is the same as the way to deal with negativity in yourself: you recognize it for what it is.
The key to letting go is to understand that all negative thoughts arise from the Ego-mind. When you relax into a state of presence, those thoughts diminish.
This process – learning to live more consistently and strongly from a state of presence – can be particularly challenging when it comes to dealing with other people. When a fight breaks out, or when your partner is angry with you, you must learn to step back and see the underlying causes.
First, if you are experiencing negative energy, recognize it for the madness that it is. Second, recognize that your partner experiences similar states, just as you do. There is no fault in this. It is part of our process of release. Recognize the desire for each of you to move into a state of presence, and focus on the Now-moment.
When you do this, you can recognize that you can thank, rather than blame, your partner, for they have helped to uncover and release negativity within you. The lack of presence, has been transformed to presence.
Audiobook Excerpt: Practicing The Power of Now in Relationships
In this video, listen to Eckhart Tolle narrate Chapter 7 from Practicing The Power of Now, in which he discusses how to move from Addictive to Enlightened Relationships.
This is a great chapter with some really interesting insights into the nature of how we normally approach relationships, and the ways in which we can bring a sense of presence into all of our relationships. When we can learn how to be present in the moment with those that are closest to us, we can release much of the past emotional pain that is residual in many different types of relationships.
Check out this post to hear Eckhart explain how to release the pain body.
You might also be interested in these present moment reminders from Eckhart Tolle.