Why body and mind are so vital in building strong relationships
In our lives, we are continually trying to bridge a divide between mind and happiness. Some are satisfied with less, others need more, but the basis is the same, which is trying to become happy and maintaining the stability of that state of being. Joy is a transcendental quality, and on a universal scale, it is transcendence. It is like the sky, of which no one can claim ownership. To get there, we must first understand and integrate the physical aspects of our interactions with other human beings.
Interactions on the physical plane (body and mind)
The physical aspect of our being includes the visible body and its invisible controller, the mind. Although thoughts have no inherent physical basis, they are intimately connected with the body. At any given moment, the state of mind is well portrayed in our facial expressions, the way we stand or walk, and our general demeanor. Small changes in the orientation of the mind are immediately reflected in our external appearance. We may not be able to control all aspects of our outer appearance, but one of the essential elements, which is the ability to smile, is under our control. Smiling is the universal surrogate for happiness.
How smiling helps
Smiling exercises, tones, and relaxes the mind. A daily practice of smiling is just as important as taking care of the needs of the body, such as bathing, eating, sleeping, and grooming. A simple activity such as brushing our teeth forces us to smile. Being mindful of smiling during this simple daily ritual will eventually help us learn to smile effortlessly. A smile is the most non-threatening expression any human can exhibit. It disarms the ego quickly.
Changing our facial expressions affects the mind and thoughts, just as the converse is also true. The mind by itself has a significant influence on the body. We wear our mind on our face, by maintaining awareness of the mind at all times, it may be unnecessary to look into a mirror! A happy face is for the benefit of not just others. We benefit as it can help make the mind a very livable place.
Happiness - a universal aspiration
Working towards being happy at all times, and in all situations is one of the best ways to keep the mind and body from becoming a source of misery. A happy and peaceful mind makes the road through life smooth, straight, and comfortable.
The state of mind is the road on which we travel through life. We are responsible not just for its construction, but also maintenance of that road. Whether we realize it or not, many if not most of our daily pursuits are geared towards steadying the mind.
Desire is a good example. What we seek from the fulfillment of desire is not primarily the object of desire, but the feeling of happiness that comes as part of its fulfillment. That happiness helps steady the mind keeping it moored to the present. However, it is a fleeting experience as desires, like thoughts, come and go as does the happiness they bring. Using desire as an excuse, the mind turns into a roving searchlight, continually scanning thoughts of the past seeking to recreate enjoyable experiences.
Happiness is the necessary foundation for the growth of the mind, just as the body is the foundation on which the life principle thrives. Only when we are happy and content, can we spread it to others.
We articulate our thoughts as words and actions. Our words reflect whatever emotional foundation we create. The strength of our words is not linked to physical strength. Mental strength helps but ultimately, it is emotional strength that has a bearing.
Why a level playing field is essential to establish in our interactions with others
Interactions with other humans are best done on a level playing field. Generally, it is lopsided, one side is authoritative, and the other becomes subservient. As water flows down a waterfall, it loses the potential power it carried at the top of the waterfall. Similarly, those in power, when they lean on those who cannot be on an equal footing, dissipate their energy through exhibiting their authority. Nothing can grow at the base of a waterfall when water is continually cascading down with much force. Similarly, those who are put in a position of subservience, or are forced to remain there cannot quickly grow and become independent.
In contrast to a waterfall, a calm lake supports the growth of plants around it and the creatures which depend on its waters. Similarly, when we interact with others keeping the mind quiet and in balance, we create an invisible field of energy into which we put down roots of interpersonal bonds, which can last a lifetime. We often ‘feel’ another person’s energy, it is in everyone’s experience.
Managing the physical aspect (body and mind) of the being is an individual effort. With that foundation, we can then focus on the next rung of the relationship ladder, which is emotional bonding.