when no one is watching? Do you know yourself? You know..the one you are when no one’s watching? Yesterday I listened to a talk by Ajhan Brahm which talked about “you” being the witness to your thoughts and actions. He told the story of a teacher in ancient India telling his male students that in order to decide which one of them should marry his daughter, he wanted them to go into the village and steal as much stuff as they could as long as no one was watching. The students followed his instructions, all except one of them who came back with nothing. When asked why he disobeyed the instructions, this student said in fact he had followed them to the letter,that he didn’t steal because he realised that “he” was watching, so could not steal. This was the lesson the teacher had been trying to teach his students, because he knew whoever learnt the lesson well would always be faithful to his daughter once he married her.
It has taken me a long time to get to this point, but I know who I am when no one is watching; no one that is, except me. That is what keeps me faithful to a partner, not the knowledge that my actions would hurt them, which of course they would. Because when you do it for your partner, if at a certain point, your needs become greater than theirs, then you will stray.
I realised that a lot of the conflict in my recent relationship came from his resistance to what what I thought should be “proper boyfriendly conduct”. Where the lines of intimacy were drawn in the relationship. I knew where mine were drawn and was continually amazed that his were so fluid. During our very last conversation, I realised that the conflict arose because I was trying to impose my values on him and he was only trying to adhere to them out of a sense of obligation to keeping me happy. That explains why I never felt safe in the relationship. When we first got together, I used to say I wanted a man that would move mountains to be with me. I thought it was to do with being with the right person. That if I was the right person for him, that he would do whatever it took to make the relationship work. Now I know I was slightly off the mark. I was looking for a man who knew who he was, when there was no one watching. Because for such a man, once he decided on a course of action, there were no mountains.