It’s delicious to feel well nourished in relationships. There’s a yearning and hunger we bring to our partners for all kinds of food: warmth, kindness, appreciation, time spent together. However, when food is not forthcoming or not enough, some will do anything to get fed. Right from the moment we are born, we connect being fed with being loved.
Many become fixated on one person, who they see as their sole source of well-being. The first thing to notice is the intense desire for receiving. This is the idea of the child – feed me and all will be well.
We must be aware of all kinds of food, emotional, mental and spiritual that are needed in a complete relationship. It is necessary to stop a moment and recognize what we are consuming in a relationship, is it healthy, is it food our system can digest? We can eat all day, but if we do not taste and digest what we are eating, we will never receive the nourishment we need. Some spend all their time wanting to change their partners. “There’s so much that’s wonderful about him,” they say, “but what I’m hungering for, I don’t get. I need more excitement.”
Rather than go to another relationship, where they can get the excitement’ they think they want, they stay, feeling dissatisfied. It’s as though their partners are an apple tree, giving fabulous apples, while they are longing for pears. Rather than walk down the street to the pear tree and take one, they rail against the apple tree, which could not produce a pear, no matter how hard it tried.
But remember, you will never turn an apple tree into a pear tree. Some of us are simply addicted to being dissatisfied. But in order to live a life of being in love, we must learn to take what is given and offer thanks in return. If we spend all our time wanting to change the person, rejecting their essential qualities, not wanting or valuing what they basically give, this is a sure fire recipe for nausea.
We must become able to absorb what is useful and discard the rest. It is important to honor and be grateful for that which we receive or we become bitter and spend all our time focussing upon that which the person is not able to provide.
Feeding Others We Are Fed
Being in a successful relationships means learning how to appreciate the needs of others, and being willing to completely fill them, on time. As we do this, a strange thing happens, our own hunger completely fades away. Feeding others, we are fed ourselves. Our relationships turn around 180 degrees.
It no longer becomes a question of what the other is or isn’t giving. It’s a question of what can be offered to him or to her. As we place our attention upon the needs of others and find ways of giving to them, not only does our hunger subside, but we begin to feel full. As we do this, we develop parental mind.
Parental mind is the state of mind that wants to care for and nourish others. It is the mind of the mother with a newborn child. A state of unconditional regard for the world we live in. It is not a mind which keeps accounts or continually needs to be filled up and attended to.
Parental mind develops naturally as we sit in zazen, (zen meditation). By sitting we feed our own deep hunger and become in touch with the flow of nourishment always available to us all. That flow of nourishment can also be called the action of being in love.