Right View: Elationship. {part one of eightfold path series}

Via Michelle Margaret Fajkus
on Feb 25, 2012
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“Everything I understand, I understand only because I love.”

~Leo Tolstoy

Right View is the beginning and the end of the path; it simply means to see reality as it is.

To understand the Four Noble Truths:

  • Life is full of suffering.
  • We suffer because we cling.
  • There is deliverance from this suffering!
  • It’s the Eightfold Path.

With right view, we grasp the truth of impermanence and understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning.

Right view begins with the insight that all beings suffer and culminates with complete understanding of the true nature of all things.

For me, right view involves remembering that I am no better or worse than anyone else. Right view is realistic, optimistic, undogmatic, patient, open, relaxed, present, kind.

One way of working with right view is by working with intentional themes as a reference point in life from time to time.

Ask yourself, “Where is the edge of my practice right now? What is challenging me?”

For example, do you notice that you get irritated with people for being late? Examine that. Wonder about it. Are you ever late yourself? What is it about the lateness that causes anger to arise? Then work with the antidote: Patience.

Here are some suggestions for themes… Relaxation, Kindness, Liberation, Presence, Mindfulness, Peace, Retreat, Creativity, and last but far from least… Love.

Let’s talk about love some more, shall we?

“First of all, there is no such thing as being isolated. To be is to be related and without relationship there is no existence.”

~J. Krishnamurti

He continues,

“After all, there is no relationship in love, is there? It is only when you love something and expect a return of your love that there is a relationship. When you love, that is when you give yourself over to something entirely, wholly, then there is no relationship.”

By living on Earth, we are all in relationship to countless things… to everything! Our environment, our friends, our families, our pets, our possessions, our ideas. Krishnamurti goes on:

Relationship means communion without fear, freedom to understand each other, to communicate directly.

Romantic relationships are excellent fodder for practice. Not only do you have your own issues, baggage and conditioning to deal with, you also have your partner’s, which together create the dynamic of the relationship itself. That dynamic is constantly changing (as every single thing is, all the time) though it may sometimes give off the illusion of sameness.

Communication without fear —freedom to understand each other— direct communication… these take practice. Sustainable relationships require a daily choice to communicate openly and freely. To listen fully and to share fully. For most of us, this does not happen every day.

Love exists only when there is self-forgetfulness, where there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest; and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.

I’ve been toying with the idea of “elationship” as opposed to relationship. (Perhaps because many of my past relationships have tended to result in the opposite of elation: depression.)

Instead of perpetuating pain-producing patterns of clinging to expectations, assumptions and fantasies about an ideal future of happily after ever together — how can I speak and act in a way that will bring sustainable elation to myself and my partner? I say “sustainable” elation, because unsustainable elation comes from things that provide instant gratification —such as alcohol and drugs, sexual addiction, shopping and overeating.

You can look at yourself (and your relationships) through the lens of the five hinderances, common blocks that prevent meditation and illumination:

  1. Sensual desire: Craving for pleasure to the senses.
  2. Anger or ill-will: Feelings of malice directed toward others.
  3. Sloth-torpor or boredom: Half-hearted action with little or no concentration.
  4. Restlessness-worry: The inability to calm the mind.
  5. Doubt: Lack of conviction or trust.
Check in with yourself… Are you feeling restless right now? Bored? Doubtful? Angry? Craving something you know is not good for you? Or are you right in the middle… healthy, alert and balanced?

With Right View, we realize that letting go is the only solution. There is nothing to hold onto. Our attitudes, actions and reactions are the direct result of our view, right or wrong.

“If you do not love too much, you do not love enough.”



This is part one of an eight-week series. Stay tuned for posts on:

Right Intention. 

Right Speech. 

Right Action.

Right Livelihood.

Right Effort. 

Right Mindfulness.

Right Concentration.




Editor: Andrea B.



About Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a Gemini yogini, writer, teacher and retreat leader who founded Yoga Freedom in 2002 in Austin, Texas. Her home since 2012 is Lake Atitlán, Guatemala where she lives in a tiny eco cabin with her Colombiano partner and their adorable daughter, dog and two gatos. Michelle has been writing this column for elephant journal since 2010 and has written some inspiring books, with more on the way. She leads yoga and mindfulness retreats and serves as the retreat managers for the stunningly beautiful Villa Sumaya on majestic Lago Atitlan. Her lineage is the very esoteric Yoga Schmoga, which incorporates hatha yoga asana, dharma (Buddhist) teachings, pranayama (breath work), yin yoga, mindfulness practices and meditation. Join Michelle on retreat in Guatemala!


11 Responses to “Right View: Elationship. {part one of eightfold path series}”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

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  2. melissa says:

    thanks for diving into this. i needed it today.
    love this quote, too. “If you do not love too much, you do not love enough.”~Pascal
    in joy,
    fellow EJ contributor. http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/melissa-smi

  3. […] Stopping to learn new skills and going in a different direction, feels counter-intuitive. Never be afraid to stop (even if it’s procrastinating), reassess and transform. “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” […]

  4. […] I’m not sure that these men would still have their strength and be alive if a media circus was there covering on a daily basis. The energy of peaceful abiding and intention of those surrounding them is for their cause, not sensationalism. Quiet and peaceful existence is what their lives are about. They are Buddhists and quietly protesting for the benefit of all beings. […]

  5. […] are the first three articles in this series: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech} […]

  6. melissa says:

    re-read this today… and needed to hear: Love exists only when there is self-forgetfulness, where there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest; and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.
    Thank you for sharing this series!