When Rights Ruin the Party

Nobody has the right to a beautiful sunset. It’s just part of this insanely precious world.

How we speak about things is a reflection of the reality that we believe to be true.

We feel that we have the “right” to something because of a reality that we have invented.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever talk about rights. Rights as a concept is necessary when people harm others due to their own inner pain.

However, I’ve experienced something more deeply over the last couple of days about relationships and rights:

It is healthy to be clear on what we want and what we don’t want in each moment. To the contrary, it can be a spontaneity-killer to think in terms of “rights”.

When we label something “a relationship” in our minds, we start to expect attitudes and behaviour that we didn’t expect before we threw that title on it.

As a result, instead of appreciating all the little gestures that someone does for you (and vice versa), you start to expect it.

This happens in all relationships: Friendships, families, and especially in couples. It takes away the freshness and innocence of the gestures – and of the relationship.

The mind loves to make sense of the world, to put it into boxes. Deep and healthy connections and relationships cannot be boxed up.

They are there to be enjoyed, wondered at, like life itself. Like this practice from a tantric text Vijnana Bhairava Tantra translated by Christopher Wallis:

“Contemplating the diverse universe as being similar to a magic show, or a wondrous painting, or as [constantly] in flux—seeing everything [in this way], the arising of [true] happiness occurs.”

Enjoy the magic show today.

Here the magic show began this morning with a world covered in fog. Now the sun has poured out onto the grass in front of my window, where there are people wandering past in masks…

Slow down to wonder at it. Appreciate even the tiniest of gestures; the energy that other people throw your way. At the same time, allow your energy to freely and creatively touch others’ lives, like a thick fog or a sunset.

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