We have covered all the slogans in the Evaluation of Mind Training but there is one more thing we should cover before we move on. It is not an actual slogan but it is the glue that hold all the slogans in this section together. Throughout our exploration of this slogan we looked at practicing around releasing the ego, trusting our inner wisdom, keeping a sense of humor and practicing with distraction. All four of these slogan come into play our of one thing – our relationships.
Norman Fisher gave two great quotes around this in his introduction to this section. First he refers to this section as “the discipline of relationship”. He says “we usually don’t think of relationship as a discipline. But it is a discipline after all. For it is through relationship that we most fruitfully expand our horizons and train our minds to be compassionate and resilient.” This is an important thing to keep in the forefront of our practice. We need the people in our lives; family, good friends, mentors, even the people we rarely pay attention to and the ones who get on our last nerves. We cannot train in kindness without them all. Kindness is not just about being nice to the people we like. It’s about connecting with Metta in all experiences and all experience is relational.
Moreover, we cannot accurately evaluate our practice except through our relationships with others. According to Norman “dealing with others isn’t just dealing with others. We think of it that way, but that’s a mistake. Dealing with others is dealing with ourselves dealing with others. There are no others apart from us, and there is no us apart from them. Our problems with others are our problems with ourselves and vice versa. Recognizing this is the first principle.” We need relationship to practice with these slogans. What do you think the implications would be if we could see relationship as practice? Do you think liberation of the mind would be possible if you never had contact with another person?