21.11.2016 Relationships

Balancing the Four Relationships

Oriental practitioner Ken McLean explores the need for unifying all aspects of our Self to achieve fulfillment

Balance is the key aspect of life. When we establish or fall into harmony with our life there is a sense of flow or effortlessness. We feel as if the environment is supporting us in our actions. In ancient Taoism, this was termed Wu Wei or effortless effort.

Yet effortlessness takes great effort. It requires harmonising yin and yang and finding the centreline, which in our body, is the lower abdomen. When our energy subsides here we feel balanced and calm and make better decisions. Hence the sayings “gut feeling” or “listening from your gut”. This is one of the principles of the first relationship – Harmony with Self.

It’s important to bring the two aspects of Self into balance. These two aspects are:

  • Mind/Body
  • Spirit/Ego
  • Unconditional/Conditional
  • Small Self/Deep Self
The key word relating to Self since ancient times is unification.

This is the original meaning of the words Yoga and Aikido and is the primary purpose of meditation. Once we are in harmony with our Self the other three relationships are easier to achieve. These relationships are with Partner (others), Nature (place) and our true expression or work (Universe). If we haven’t found that connection to our deep self we cannot express our true purpose in this world because our true purpose comes from knowing ourself and allowing it to come forth.

There is a Japanese word “Makoto” that means natural self. Its spiritual meaning is Ma – space – to hear our own word – Koto. In other words to express who we are we need to create space from worldly entanglements.

This space is created through meditation, time in Nature and practices that absorb our whole Self. It is when we can experience intuitive prompting from our centre. This is the meaning of the old saying, “One's ships come in over a calm sea”. Then through acting on the promptings we begin to see our true path open. So with the true practice of connecting to our Deep Self we experience inspiration. We then need to act on this inspiration, something that always involves an element of risk.

The first relationship, Harmony with Self, requires harmony with expression to be fully experienced in a true way. Without expression, the self stagnates.

One of the key qualities of spiritual warriorship is courage, the courage to take risks in the direction of our true dream.

One of the outcomes of Harmony with Self is we attract a partner to mirror that connectedness. This is the mirror principle - what we attract in and from others, mirrors the relationship we have with our Self. The practices required to have harmony in relationship differ from those for self.

With Self, we achieve unity through such practices as Centering, Alignment, finding the prior place of fulfillment and developing the recognition that happiness can only come from the relationship we have with our deeper self.

This deeper self is connecting to everything else and not limited to our personal identity.

When we have established this in our own self we can then help guide others to reach this in themselves. Harmony in Relationship has a different set of skills required to practice.These include how to deeply relax and release tension so that we can be fully present with our partner. Then there is the art of deep centred listening, blending, patience and forgiveness, leading to love and compassion.

The third relationship, Harmony with Nature or Place, gives equilibrium to all the relationships. For example, the fourth relationship, the Universe Relationship of expression or work, is like the branching out of trees. The bigger the expression of the tree, the more vital it is to have a strong root system to stop the tree from falling over. This connection we have to place or Nature deeply nourishes us and provides stability so that we can give fully to our true work. Regular breaks where we have contact with Nature enable us to come back refreshed to our work and allow us to live a long life without burn out.

Ultimately, the four relationships are like a cross within a circle – when balanced, each expression is supported by the whole circle. When one area is over expressed, it draws energy from another area - like a tyre with a bump in it – so that the circle or wheel cannot turn smoothly. So too with our life. When this circle is even, our life flows forward and we can reach our full potential for a healthy, successful and wonderful life.


Ken McLean

Sydney-based Ken McLean is the author of Harmony is Success (Short Stop Press $29.99) and founder of Shin Sen Dojo, a holistic centre for the development of body, mind, and spirit. Ken has helped thousands of people achieve greater health, harmony, happiness and success through the programs he runs and personal consultations.For more information about Harmony is Success, visit www.shortstoppress.com

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