My Maharishi – Relationships

“Love is the only possibility that can come out of understanding the state of consciousness of another, because this will yield, as close as we can, the experience of empathy, to be able to actually experience what their state of consciousness is.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

The messaging around relationships can be somewhat strained when Valentine’s Day rolls around each year. 

Today’s episode is a breath of fresh air though, as Thom shares with us some of the wisdom about relationships that he picked up from his 25+ years with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

This wisdom can be applied to all relationships, romantic or otherwise, and begins with the importance of understanding the consciousness of those to whom we wish to relate with. 

Without such an understanding, relationships are relegated to mostly shoddy guesswork, often putting the relationship under stress, rather than giving it strength.

Thom offers a new foundation of understanding from which we learn that ‘love is the only possibility,’ and that to find shared experience in every relationship, we should be looking to be ‘in the business of creating the memories that we wish to have.’

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Episode Highlights


Being Able to Give



Love is the Only Possibility



Giving Too Much



“What’s In It For Me?”



The Neediness Competition



Creating Greater Resiliency



The Best Shot at Longevity in a Relationship



The Desire for Shared Experience is Embedded in Us






Creating Memories We Wish to Have


Jai Guru Deva


My Maharishi – Relationships

[00:00:45] Being Able to Give

[00:00:45] My Maharishi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my Master, with whom I lived and received instruction for more than 25 years, was an astonishing character. The breadth of his knowledge and the applicability of his knowledge seemed to me to be infinite. There was no question on which he couldn’t hold forth with great logic, good common sense, and absolute authority.

[00:01:17] And one of those things on which he held forth regularly was the subject of relationships. Relationships, he would say, were based on a principle of being able to give, and his logic went something like this.

[00:01:33] In order properly to give, we have, first of all, to understand someone. In order to understand them, we have to be able to appreciate them. That means we have to have our five senses very well refined.

[00:01:49] Love is the Only Possibility

[00:01:49] We have to be able to develop empathy. Empathy means the capacity to experience from within another, to be able to answer, adequately and accurately, the question inside of ourselves of, “What’s it like to be you?” The you in this case being, whomever my target of my love, or my target of my relationship, may be.

[00:02:09] To appreciate well, sensory perception has to be super refined, very refined. And if we have that refined perception, appreciation is there, understanding is there, then we cannot but love.

[00:02:23] Love is the only possibility that can come out of understanding the state of consciousness of another, because this will yield, as close as we can, the experience of empathy, to be able to actually experience what their state of consciousness is.

[00:02:39] And then the answer is, we need to be able to give appropriately to the conscious receptivity of the person with whom we are in any kind of relationship, whether it’s a familial relationship, a business relationship, a romantic relationship, or a parental relationship, irrespective of the type, giving is always key.

[00:03:02] Giving Too Much

[00:03:02] But giving always has to be done on the level of a correct assessment of the conscious receptivity of the one to whom we’re giving. That conscious receptivity is a very important element, because we all know that on occasions we’ve attempted to give, but somehow, without realizing it, we gave a little too much, too much time, too much energy, too much attention, too much love, too much money, too much whatever.

[00:03:29] And if we give a little bit too much, then we upset the apple cart in a way. It triggers a phenomenon in the one to whom we’re giving that, ” If the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn’t be doing that,” they’ll think to themselves. Or, “What’s this person up to? Are they actually sensible or am I becoming beholden? Somehow, I might be coming into the debt of the person who is giving to me so over generously, and I’m not sure that I can in any way, in a meaningful way, reciprocate this, and it’s making me uncomfortable.”

[00:04:01] Perhaps they don’t even think this consciously, but they begin a process of starting to sabotage the person who is being overgenerous.

[00:04:10] For these reasons, we have very carefully to accurately assess the conscious receptivity of whomever it is to whom we’re giving anything, and then to give accurately to that level of conscious receptivity. To meet that demand is very important.

[00:04:30] “What’s In It For Me?”

[00:04:30] So giving is the fundamental principle. This is a fundamental law of Nature. If we enter a relationship with a desire simply to receive, with the, “What’s in it for me?” mentality, ” What am I going to receive from this?” then, this is an intellect-driven approach to a relationship, keeping our eye on the receipt book to see what we’ve received.

[00:04:54] “What have you done for me lately? ” What are you going to be doing for me? How are you going to be in any way contributing to my life?” Then if two people end up reflecting that sort of mentality between them, then both are open to receiving, neither is giving, and with no giving, the relationship will expire or reach its expiry date very quickly, and it will begin to dis-integrate.

[00:05:22] But if, on the other hand, both parties have an openness, a willingness to give, but more importantly, a capability to give. Capability.

[00:05:34] You see if we’re stressed and we’ve accumulated stress, and stress hasn’t had any way of releasing effectively from our nervous system, then it impacts on the way that our mind can experience things. It binds our mind to all kinds of, now out-of-date, obsolete experiences of the past. Makes us and forces us, in fact, to behave in ways that are utterly irrelevant to the present moment.

[00:06:02] The Neediness Competition

[00:06:02] Stress removes from us the capability, first of all, even to conceive of giving, because we’re in a receiving mentality, “I need to receive. I’m the needy party, and so my neediness is greater than the one with whom I’m in relationship. When am I going to receive?”

[00:06:23] And then not only the neediness competition starts up, who’s the more needy, but then the incapacity to accurately figure out conscious receptivity of the other, even if you get into a giving mood… But then, even if you are in a giving mood, are you able actually to deliver? How much energy, how much staying power, how much creativity, how much intelligence, can you put on the table for giving in a relationship, making yourself relevant to the need of the other?

[00:07:00] Creating Greater Resiliency

[00:07:00] And so then, if we’re practicing Vedic Meditation twice a day, then on a regular basis, twice every day, not only are we releasing and relieving existing stresses in the physiology, removing the obstacles to free and accurate performance of the mind and the heart, but we’re also creating greater resiliency.

[00:07:24] So the future situations, however demanding they may be, do not prompt in us, unwarranted stress reactivity. And so then we’re able, instead of meeting demands with a reaction, which is to fight or to flee, the fight-flight phenomenon is a physiological description of what the body prepares itself for when we’re moving into a stress reaction. Fight or flee.

[00:07:50] Someone presents you with a change of expectation, are you going to try to fight it, to make it not a demand on you? So what are the methods of fighting? Refuse to engage, refuse to accept.

[00:08:02] Someone’s presenting you with a very precious brain child, perhaps, but you’re feeling so stressed that you can’t even contemplate the possibility of including that into your life or experience because it might represent change.

[00:08:15] And so instead of accepting the gift, instead of giving the gift of acceptance, you backhand the brain child, the idea of the person who loves you and wants to have a shared experience with you, and end up later on having to deal with either your regrets, or their resentment, and all of these problems come about.

[00:08:36] The Best Shot at Longevity in a Relationship

[00:08:36] So then, what is our reactivity level? This is going to be answered by how much accumulated stress do we have that’s forcing us into these irrelevant behaviors? With regular practice of Vedic Meditation, twice each day, we release onboard stress, but we also make ourselves more and more adaptive.

[00:08:55] Stability grows, and on the basis of that, adaptability also grows. Our ability to become adaptive, to adapt, to change in a way that is progressive, rather than reacting to change by fighting it or fleeing from it.

[00:09:13] And this kind of behavior of being more stable and more adaptive is going to give us the best shot at having longevity in a relationship and being able to enjoy all of the love, the bounty, and the wonders of that fundamental human desire to enjoy shared experience.

[00:09:38] The Desire for Shared Experience is Embedded in Us

[00:09:38] Shared experience is what is embedded in us as our greatest desire.

[00:09:45] If you are walking with a group of high school kids, off in a forest somewhere, on a field trip, and one of you manages to run ahead and around a corner, sees a beautiful waterfall, you can barely stand to stay there and look at the waterfall by yourself. You want to turn around and run back to the group and say, “Hey, guess what’s ahead. Come on, let’s all experience it together.” You want to show to them your discovery. This is just a fundamental human behavior.

[00:10:16] One of my children, when they were very, very young and just able to speak, around about two, seeing a yellow car go by, “Daddy. Daddy. Yellow car!” Well, Daddy knows that it’s a yellow car, but Baby so much wants to have a shared experience with Daddy. “Yes, yes. Yellow car.”

[00:10:34] So even from a very young age, the desire to have shared experience, or even to teach, is embedded in us. It’s natural. And it’s for this reason that we formalize having regular access to these kinds of experiences, through the phenomenology which we refer to as relationships.

[00:10:56] Marker

[00:10:56] This is what my Master taught me. So the fundamental idea is to give, but we can’t give, unless we understand, we can’t understand unless we appreciate, we can’t appreciate unless we have subtle perception, and we can’t have any of those if we have a lot of stress in our physiology.

[00:11:12] To be able to experience from within the other, what their state of consciousness is, to address that state of consciousness with accuracy, not to be overgenerous or under generous, but to be appropriately generous, to come into a relationship, not only with the desire to give, but the capability to give, the capability of being stable, of having baseline happiness.

[00:11:35] You’re not a needy person. You are a person who is fulfilled inside, and you’re bringing fulfillment to the equation, rather than bringing neediness into the equation.

[00:11:48] Creating Memories We Wish to Have

[00:11:48] So these are the fundamental ideas that were taught to me by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my beautiful Master, and emphasized again and again, and then able to be put into action in the lives of people who learned with him.

[00:12:04] Very practical teaching. Very, very practical and very, very logical. Very eminently, good common sense. You see how sensible that is? All that thinking.

[00:12:15] And if you forget everything, the whole thing is, without Vedic Meditation, we’re just going to be too stressed to be an adequate giver in a relationship. That’s really the fundamental idea.

[00:12:27] We need to practice Vedic Meditation every day to get rid of our stress so that we can be open to having the finest experiences, to do what we do want to do in a lifetime, which is the creation of the memories we wish to have.

[00:12:42] We’re in the business of creating the memories that we wish to have, and those memories need to be memories that just constantly keep a smile on our face, because of the value of shared experience. “Daddy. Daddy. Yellow car!” Lovely.

[00:12:58] Jai Guru Deva.

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