"As separate individuals, we live in separate cultures haunted by the vague memory of an intimacy that we all share. Let us, all together, chase the very horizon of existence, the edge of understanding, the point at which new sensations, emotions, thoughts and ideas begin to emerge… and let us bring this intimacy alive." ~Alex Mero
In your novel, there is reverence of a relationship between spiritual partners. Can you describe what constitutes a wholesome and healthy relationship between a man and a woman?
In order for there to be a spiritual relationship, there must be a solid base of love already present between the two partners. Each individual must have the ability for intimacy with himself, and harmony between his inner duality. The couple can than experience a loving life together without need of exerting power over the other, and certainly, above all else, without waiting for the other to fulfill the love in their stead. This relationship than becomes one of healing; a choice to face, head on, one’s pain and emotional wounds, to than elevate and rise above them; to purify oneself.We cannot truly love another without first recognizing one’s own source of suffering. Once this stage is passed, love naturally unfolds through the divine source and enables unconditional love; a love that completely unites the two partners, in all its grandeur and beauty, regardless of the weight and shadows that covered it beforehand. ~Alex Mero
“What do they talk about with you?” Nathan asked.
“All kinds of problems, but usually they are all centered on the same subject. Many people imagined their romantic relationships differently. They often believed they had found real love with their partners, but with time, they became totally disillusioned.” Catalina answered.
“When do we know if it’s real love?” Nathan asked curiously.
“It’s simple; love is not real if it changes when the circumstances change!” She stated.
“In a relationship, doesn’t love and suffering sometimes go hand in hand?” Nathan asked.
“Suffering comes about when a relationship is based on need, when subconsciously, one partner wants to possess or dominate the other. What sustained that relationship in the beginning was the need for love that brought about that relationship in the first place, and then it became a habit, and often, it ends in solitude.” She explained.
“Why do some relationships seem so promising in the beginning?”
“In the beginning, feelings of love are subconsciously projected on the person we meet.” Catalina stated.
“In that case, does it mean that those feelings of love were not sincere?” Nathan asked.
“Love is always present within each of us. We don’t need someone else to experience it.”
“Are you saying that we don’t need anyone else to feel love?” Nathan asked.
“No, we don’t need to search for it, and definitely, we should not want to dominate another. Many people erroneously imagine that they can find the love they want in someone else, but no one can give us what we already have.” Catalina stated.
“What does a loving relationship mean to you, Catalina?”
Catalina took her time to properly formulate her answer. Finally, she said: “Loving is taking the time to truly be interested in one another, to be with one another, but especially to find peace with one another.”
“Then I believe I have a loving relationship with Sophie.” Nathan said.
“We have a loving relationship with everyone, Nathan. What renders your relationship with Sophie particular is the intimacy you share together.” She stated.
“What is the most important thing about a relationship?” Nathan asked.
“To always dare to recognize the truth of the moment.” Catalina replied.
“The truth of the moment?” Nathan asked curiously.
“It’s what we learn by giving the other the possibility of expressing himself or herself, whether it’s disapproval, admiration, anger or joy.”
How much richer relationships are when the two parties feel complete within themselves, when they realize that Love has always been within, and then they embark on a relationship as a “sharing” of such Love rather then searching for it in the other… If you have the impression that Love is on the outside and you need to find it in another person to feel “complete”, then you’ll always be disillusioned.
“Are you having some regrets?” She asked him.
Nathan looked at Sophie.
“What is in the past is in the past. Having any regrets serves me no purpose!” He stated.
“Is there something you want to change?” She asked him.
Nathan remained quiet for a moment, and then announced:
“Sophie, I have to pursue my journey!”
Sophie said nothing. She understood that there was no longer a place for her in his life at present. She had feared for this moment from the very beginning, but she could not reproach him since he had never hidden from her that he would one day continue his journey. Knowing him well, she knew that he would never change his mind. She had promised herself that she would not try to hold him back at the risk of losing him forever. After a long silence, Nathan continued: “You’re the one who is silent now…”
“You have taught me that we should never limit the freedom of another. I will give you all the space necessary for your inner well-being.”
With these words, Sophie’s eyes filled with tears. Nathan held her tightly in his arms, trying to help her find the strength to overcome her grief. Slowly, she regained her composure.
“And you? Are you also sad that we will be separated?” She wanted to know.
“Naturally… but at the same time, I also feel a form of happiness.” He answered.
“What do you mean?” Sophie asked, looking up at him.
“The fact that we will miss each other is also a form of happiness!” he stated.
“Does that mean that you will come back?” she asked hopefully.
Nathan looked deeply into Sophie’s eyes and holding her hands he said: “Sophie, I will never leave you, regardless of what the future holds.”
Nathan’s journey involves a separation from the one he loves, and thinking in emotional terms, that’s a hard one to swallow. But thinking in the broader sense of Love, and its true meaning, it is the most natural and loving thing to do; letting the other pursue his inner desires, those that come from Truth and Wisdom. Most of us have a hard time understanding this, especially if there’s a difference in our goals, because we base our relationships solely on the emotional. And with that, there is expectations, and even control, but there is also a lack of growth, both as a unit and as an individual, because when you don’t feel the freedom to pursue what you’re meant to, there is no growth, and perhaps even, there is a regression of it. And this can only lead to problems in a relationship, not just a relationship as a couple, but in all relationships. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what true Love is, but true love would never limit another, because true Love is an understanding and acceptance of each other’s life path. In the end, it enriches a relationship…
After breakfast, the three men drove Sanah and Nathan to the bus stop, each individually saying their goodbyes. Lahcen told him:
“Pursue your journey, and among the stories you experience, tell people the ones that engender confidence. In that way, they will learn to listen to their heart.”
Next it was Saïd’s turn:
“Pursue your journey, and among the stories you experience, tell people the ones that taught you something, to incite them to use their creative power from their imagination.”
Finally, Rachid added:
“Pursue your journey, and among the stories you experience, tell people the ones that inspired you so that they can become better aware of their purpose in life.”
That’s how we should all live…Through our own journeys and experiences, we should give each other confidence and hope, teach each other, and inspire each other. Although we have our own growth to do, we are also here to help others along their own growth… What an amazing world this would be if our focus was to do these things rather then compete and tear each other down…
What do you think about the ever-increasing books on “personal development”?
Let’s just say I’m very reserved about them. First, because I have read very few, and second, even if these books can be useful for some people, it seems to me they focus more on “well-being” rather than the truth. They provide a kind of illusory happiness rather than real wisdom. Opinions vary on this subject, but as for myself, I’d rather have a truth that might hurt rather than an illusion that gives temporary joy. Real happiness, in my opinion, is achieved through wisdom, and this can only be done through discovering reality. I’m not much concerned with theories and concepts, and so my writings are my direct personal observations of life and all that it entails. What I write about may have already been broached by many others, but I ascertain these truths for myself, and I recommend that everyone do the same.
It seems that mankind has developed an ever increasing desire to control their environment. What is your opinion?
The desire for control is cultivated within us from an early age, and further encouraged by our socialization process. In the competitive society that we live in, we‘ve been taught that controlling our environment is the key to success. Although it’s obvious that we need to maintain a certain level of control in some elementary aspects of our life, many of us feel that control is the ultimate tool for success in any area of life. Clearly, control cannot have a satisfying conclusiveness since we’re constantly competing with an opponent, Nature, who also seeks control. And so the desire for control leads to endless competition and maintains the illusion that there must be winners and losers. This illusion is the source of the preconceptions that engender competitive thoughts and actions. By being aware of this, we can surrender our desire to control, and therefore find mental clarity.
Is lasting happiness not just a fantasy, seeing that life’s circumstances are perpetually changing?
Circumstances have very little effect on lasting happiness. Let’s take the example of people who have risen above a life of poverty: they might say that they are happier, but more income does not necessarily equate to more happiness. Unfortunately, many of us require ever increasing pleasures to have any semblance of happiness. In the long term, this dependence on pleasures can be detrimental, because a person’s happiness depends entirely on external factors. As long as a person’s happiness is based on pleasures or materialism, there can be no lasting happiness. A taste, as delicious as it is, will lose its savor; scenery, as magnificent as it is, will lose its beauty; a person, as interesting as he is, will lose his charm… Therefore, it is imperative that what gives us happiness be non-changing. Much can be said about this, but in general, the lesser attention paid to the external and the more to the internal, or the essential, the greater the possibility of lasting happiness.