I am contacting you because I am confused about the nature or purpose of romantic relationships. I am currently in one, and I cannot imagine not being with my partner, who I have been with for years.
However, based on my perspective, it seems that romantic relationships are innately selfish; love is not love unless it includes all beings, for exclusive love seems to be more of a product of identification with one's perception of another person, and simply extends the identity and strengthens it.
Moreover, what does it mean to identify with something? How does this identification result? It seems that identification is just a result of intense and/or recurring thought processes; the more intensely and more often you put your attention on another person, the more they will naturally become a part of your identity, in either love or hate, but in different ways. So then, is this whole "falling in love" with another person simply a mental trick?
I wish to follow my path to truth, and at this point in my relationship, I feel my own sense of self includes my partner as well; she seems just as fundamental to my life as air.
So, my question is three-fold: How/can one become enlightened in a relationship, and can they remain in it? Is there more to identification than intense and frequent thought processes ( in other words is their more to the mechanics of identification that I do not understand? For as I understand it, love is a result of seeing the truth of things, which is that in reality there is no division.
Whenever I experience this in meditation, though, I feel love for all being equally because all are one, and this seems in conflict with the philosophy of a relationship… selfless love seems to be almost discouraged by a relationship, for it requires exclusion, and making one person more special than others.)
I am hoping you can shed some light on this, it has been bugging me like crazy.
You are holding onto some ideas that conflict with your love. Forget all ideas of what enlightenment or love should be. Live just now with your woman, fully, completely. Your heart will open and energies flow through you that turn to bliss and then to self-realization.
Don't throw this opportunity away by looking a gift-horse in its mouth looking for imperfections.
Forget about how love is supposed to be. Stick with the one you have and watch what happens.
Identification comes with focused attention. It is not a matter of thinking at all, but of feeling. If you focus on the feeling of love for her, you will BECOME that love feeling. However, if you focus on her image, your identity will be with her.
Either way youare asking the right question when it comes to trying to understand identification.
If through meditation you discover the great internal Emptiness that contains all subjective experience, and identify with it, then you will no longer identify with your small self and you will then think that Truth is that there is no self.
But if you give up that identification with the inner space, and look deeper within it using your attention, you will begin to see light within that gradually pervades all of the Emptiness.
If instead of looking deeper into the Emptiness, you instead "feel" into that Emptiness, you will find the True I of Ramana, the I Am of Nisargadatta. Focusing on that will make it grow until a subtle sense of "presence" or energy pervades your emptiness, and you will identify with it more and more.
So, while in love with your woman, instead of just attending to her in thinking, focus instead on your feelings towards her. Find them, focus on them, let them grow and mature over time.
In this way you can use your love for her to realize your own true Self, the true I of Ramana.
In this way you will realize your