As I let many people at the company whom I've worked with over the last 4 1/2 years know about this, there were a wide range of reactions.
What struck me the most about these moments was the relationships that have been formed. I see that sometimes I think, when I go through my life, that in my job it's the money I make for the company or the material achievements that matter; and there is some minor truth to this. But these relationships between people are of the very greatest value. This is the real currency with which we trade in life; it creates a value for each of us far greater than any money or material things can possibly create. Our happiness never comes from the money or the material things; it comes from the quality of the relationships we form, and the quality of the people we form them with.
This is an absolute fact, an objective fact, that is rarely clear to human beings as they go through the confusing course of everyday life. Material objects carry a tremendously powerful attraction, don’t they? Perhaps I like them more because—unlike human beings— I can control them more easily. They can’t push back, after all; and my innate selfishness causes me to enjoy controlling things.
One needs to develop a different sensation of Being in order to understand this question of relationship properly; and one needs to understand our nature as collective organisms, the interaction and interpenetration of all the forces in our Being, in order to receive relationship in a way that feeds us more deeply. Because our capacity for this is generally rather limited — we haven't developed the inward relationship we need in order to understand this most fully — we certainly form relationships and value them. But not enough.
This is because our relationships aren’t truly formed around sacred feeling. Instead, they are formed around our ordinary feelings, which are very different ball of wax.
A sacred feeling is touched by a higher energy and consecrated. This consecration of our relationships ought to take place all day long, because relationship is the great benediction which God has bestowed upon conscious beings. It is the force that creates the universe; and it manifests on our level through our relationship with other people.
Basically, what this means in simpler terms is that every relationship is a form of sacred blessing from God. Even my relationships with the people I dislike have a sacred quality, because they represent the Creator in one way or the other. When sacred feeling enters my relationships with people, compassion and conscience are defaults, not options. Yet it's only through the manifestation of Grace that this can take place.
Yesterday, we were with our dear friends P & C and we had a conversation on a wide range of subjects. At some point during the conversation, we discussed Göbekli Tepe and other great monuments; and speculated on what our society will leave behind us for future generations to remember.
At the time, I remember thinking to myself that it is the record of our relationships, written in the hearts and minds of generation after generation, that will really matter.
If we can bring a better quality of relationship to life and pass an understanding of that quality on to future generations, I think we can build something much greater than buildings or temples. We can build on a current of love that has the potential to flow through mankind; and that has a value very different than the things we make or exchange with one another. In my own experience, it's a much greater value, and ought to be the focus for everything that mankind does.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.