Relationships as Far as the Eye Can See

It occurred to me that these days the word ‘relationship’ is mainly used to refer to an intimate, romantic or sexual relationship and I wanted to find out whether that had always been this way. When I looked it up, I found that before 1944 this had not been the case and it made me wonder how they got to the exactness of that date?

I also learnt that the word ‘relationship’ comes from the Latin ‘referre’, to bring back.

‘Relationship’ standing for a one-on-one and mainly intimate relationship reminds me of the word ‘drinking’ which, in its modern-day usage, refers to drinking alcohol. When someone says they have stopped drinking, we all know that they are not referring to water, tea, juice or any other of the possible options. Drinking has become synonymous with drinking alcohol.

Likewise, a relationship now denotes a degree of closeness as indicated above, meaning it is either romantic, intimate and/or sexual. But don’t we have relationships with many people, and many things/objects even?

I certainly have a relationship with the people I share my house with; I have a wonderful relationship with my butcher up the road, one that is built on trust and my love and respect for his amazing dexterity, the awesome service, his skills and forever willingness to engage and explain and advise. Nothing is ever too much for him and his staff and I get the same treatment whether I spend $15 or $85.

I also have a relationship with a lady at the local market; together with her son they grow the most wonderful vegetables. There are times during the summer months when I don’t buy from them as what they grow is not what I eat but come the colder months, I stock up big time. We always have a chat, whether I happen to be buying or not.

I remember a conversation with a taxi driver in Sydney – just a short trip to the airport but when I asked him about his country of origin he completely opened up and I learnt more about Afghanistan and the war that was being waged there than any newspaper or other media outlet had ever reported.

Relationships: don’t people have them with their soccer club, with a singer or movie star they admire, with their favourite brand whether that be their beer, a label or favourite sports gear?

What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?

Is it a fact that we are in relationship with many, many people and many things – not only every day, but every minute of the day?

And how supportive are then our relationships? And if they are not, what is our responsibility here? Have we allowed familiarity to creep in, a certain fatigue and boredom? And if so, have we not deserved better and more?

And on a final note – as to our relationships with people, what do we feel when hearing that the root meaning of the word ‘relationship’ is ‘to bring back’? Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?

By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, NSW

Related Reading:
Relationships Re-Defined
Serge the Friend
Love and Relationship Audio

576 thoughts on “Relationships as Far as the Eye Can See

  1. There feels to be a real and true purpose to developing relationships for everyone’s learning and growth in life. We have so much opportunity to move forwards constantly if we accept the challenge of being more open and honest, and the benefits spill into all areas of our lives, not simply that one relationship we may be dealing with.

  2. ‘all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one’ – A brilliant statement – one that cannot keep us trapped in the illusion of individualism and separation.

  3. If I am truly observing, the relationship that I have with everything in my life is a great reflection for me to learn everything that I need to know.

  4. Really very cool to ponder this meaning, the root meaning of relationships. To bring back, they can awaken the truth within us if we are open to that. I will reflect on this in terms of how I am with other people and experiences in my life.

    1. I had an unexpected and beautiful experience of this the other day at the supermarket. As I was speaking to someone I knew, I became aware of how bright I was feeling, as if I was shining light on the whole aisle and as people passed they smiled or recognised it, this feeling of light. It came with an equalness. I felt that although I was speaking to one person at that moment I was in relationship with everyone else as they were passing. Some would look back and smile but it was not at me as such but what they recognised I was bringing . From this I have a deeper understanding that all we have to do is shine brightly and that for me is a new marker for being in relationship with all.

      1. In seeing and acknowledging you these people had recognised that something they were responding to in themselves; the power of reflection in service.

      2. Beautiful response Gabriele, there was a time when I would have dismissed what I was bringing or reduced it down in some way but I know this reflection is very much needed and a responsibility we hold in the world.

      3. That’s gorgeous Susan. It reminds me of those times when I observe a tender moment between two people (in all manner of relationship) and that I get the blessing of that tender moment too. We are all affected by all around us and in this awareness know that we are a part of this and affect all others in our turn too.

      4. Agreed Michelle, what comes to me is ..there are no such thing as strangers, we are all equal and connected. That doesn’t mean we need to speak to everyone we meet for it may not feel ok to do so, but it doesn’t mean we have to hold ourselves back either.

  5. ‘What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?’ Interesting as I know I subscribed to this belief as well. Life can become more beautiful and enriching when we include everyone we interact with as a relationship as it allows the space for a deeper and more true connections with everyone, no matter what walk of life they are from.

  6. “And how supportive are then our relationships?” Such a great question because we often only think of the relationship with our close ones to give and answer to this but if we consider our relationship with every single person we meet how supportive are these relationships and how this could influence how we feel every thing in life.

  7. Wonder why we limit a word like relationship down to refer to only a one on one relationship when indeed it is a “fact that deep down we know that, ….. all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one.” By beginning to live in this way we can develop our understanding and respect with one another. And with that as our foundation it’s possible we may even feel the true equality and brotherhood we can have with everyone and isn’t that what we all want?

  8. ‘Is it a fact that we are in relationship with many, many people and many things – not only every day, but every minute of the day?’ It is a fact that I can feel whether I am with people or not. I can feel other car drivers on the road and get a flavour for where they are at with how they drive – I have no doubt the same is true for them of me whether it’s conscious or not it’s there. And when I think I’m not with people in my house I am, my neighbours aren’t more than 15 foot away or in the next room but in their house. The only time I and I’m sure other people like to pretend we are not in relationship is to lie to ourselves and say what I do and how I am doesn’t matter, no-one’s being affected!

  9. I also had the intimate relationship version of the word relationships as the norm until Serge Benhayon started to expand this definition to a much truer version. This meant that I now realised that every interaction is a relationship and needs to be treated with the same care and level of connection. This has really helped to break down the idea that some people are more worthy of your love and the inequality of how we are with different people.

  10. Connection and Love in relationships brings a beautiful surrender to a natural intimacy that is there for everyone, even the person you have just met.

    1. Even and especially to the person we have just met as in truth, there is no difference; a certain familiarity might have crept in, images and anticipation even, but every moment is in truth another moment and another opportunity to deepen and evolve.

      1. It really is about the connection and love we bring to relationships when we meet people, there is nothing else that is required.

  11. ‘Relationships as far as the eye can see’… a beautiful title that is a beautiful invitation to recognise and appreciate all the amazing opportunities in our every days to be in relationships with others, learning every step of the way.

  12. Whatever or whomever we have a relationship with we are always being given an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and grow. It is through the reflection of every relationship, whether that is with alcohol, the tv, the person who enters through the shop door and smiles, our family or our partner that we are offered a gift, a gift of evolution.

  13. A beautiful reflection of relationships to bring us back to who we are the love and oneness of us all . this brings a real gift to the science of relationships their importance and life.

  14. ‘Could this meaning have something to do with the fact that deep down we know that, when it is all said and done, all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?’ Yes absolutely this is the truth however I feel we have a way to go before we truly get here.

  15. We are being asked to go further than our eyes can see in our relationships. To not stand still and presume, but to go further and feel – every single time we meet a person again. It is how much we are willing to see all aspects within our relationships that potentially can grow us more intimate and truthfull.

  16. I feel inspired by the fact that the ‘coming back’ bit in the true meaning of relationships is not only the returning to myself in full and truth, but also the re-instating of true community and connection between each other, whether we have known someone for years or just met them in passing in our days.

  17. When I feel into the word relationship now, it has a totally different meaning to some 9 or so years ago where I was stuck like so many, in it only being about a relationship between two others in a sexual/intimate sense. Now since I have built a solid and loving relationship with myself (which was also not heard of back in the day) I have more understanding around the word and what it truly is asking of us when we are in relationships with others. Simply put, how I am with myself is how I am with all others and my relationship with God, they are all equally one and the same.

  18. Awesome reminder that relationships are all about reminding us of the love we are.
    I know when I am having an off moment if I connect with another in their eyes I can be reminded of the divinity we are all from.

  19. ‘as fas as the eye can see’… every time I read this in the title of this article, I have a visual sense of the endlessness of relationship… it is something we are always in, from the multitude of interactions we have in every day to the quiet moments with ourselves and our relationship with life… every breath is a relationship.

  20. “….all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?” How different the world would be if we were all to embrace this statement.

  21. How ridiculous are we to have gotten to a point where a relationship is sexual and/or intimate in nature. Just like you Gabriele I can recount so many relationships I have every day from the moment I wake up with my husband and daughter, meeting people on my morning walk, being at work, going to get my groceries to taking the dog for a grooming session. I love knowing that I am in relationship with others all of the time.

    1. Making relationship exclusive to the one and only or a chosen few, be it the bloodline or similar, cements and further inculcates individuality at the expense of the all we are a part of.

  22. It would be amazing if the very word ‘relationship’ in its meaning is an offer to return to the understanding that we are all one.

  23. Why have relationships scared me so much in my life? Is it because if I get too close to a person, I will feel the fact that I am one with everyone but I have chosen to separate from that oneness?

    I have been feeling the devastation of this choice. It is something I have avoided for many lives. By feeling this, I am again feeling this connection that I have always had.

  24. Reading that the “root meaning of the word relationship is to bring back” makes so much sense. To me relationship is about connection with another and this is what we are bringing back, a connection that is innately part of us but in a world that encourages individualism true connections are very hard to find. To know that we are always in relationship with everyone and everything in this Universe brings the power of relationships back into our hands and into our hearts.

  25. Absolutely agree there is only one relationship. How we are with anyone is how we are with everyone. There is no degradation in relationships. So if I have lived a deep relationship with someone close, this is the same quality I will bring to everyone and if I hold back, all my relationships would suffer as they are all expressed less.

    1. I can feel the absolute truth of this and it is huge because it also means that those relationships that are not so harmonious equally impact those that we hold dear.

  26. Often we see the difficult relationships as a pain or a hassle but in actual fact, they are offering us a beautiful reflection for us to learn from. Over the years I have come to understand the importance of our relationships and feel blessed.

  27. In the past I would have described a good relationship as being fun, loving, caring, honest etc. Back then I would have equated love to being a ‘good’ feeling that always left me happy or even giddy and excited. Now I know that love is none of these things, real love can be confronting as we must be willing to see everything that gets in its way.

  28. This blog is such a gorgeous appreciation that we are all part of one whole family – the universe and that each and every person we connect to has the potential to develop a relationship with us. Thank you for writing with such an open view for us all to appreciate.

  29. Relating in a relationship with an open heart so we can respond to what ever is expressed by another and not go into a reaction is a possible way to return or bring back the True Love from our forever opening Inner-Heart.

  30. “What makes us assume that a connection only deserves to be called a relationship when it is intimate, romantic or sexual?” Yes. The question ‘are you in a relationship?’ implies a romantic connection. My new response will be ‘Yes with everyone I meet’.

  31. I have a great relationship with someone who allows me to park on their drive when I fly out from Heathrow. We have 10 minute chats – usually about spirituality – on the journey to the airport itself. We both look forward to this connection a few times a year now. No romance or sexuality involved, just a growing friendship and connection as he asks me lots of questions about my religion The Way of the Livingness – and I learn more about his Bahai faith too.

  32. A brilliant sharing offering the key to life and the analagy of our body as our vehicle we are driving in life. The awareness and understanding of energy and the effects it has if we take it on is very clear to see as is the difference of not absorbing everything in the pool of energy and life.

  33. A great reminder of what relationships are – we have a relationship with absolutely everything, including ourselves, and it is all deserving of the same honour and commitment.

  34. Sharing with us that relationships are based on energy not the amount of time spent.. Neither based on how close or distant. So did we spend our relationships building wisely? Great question to ponder on.

  35. For many years as a single woman, I felt like I was missing out as I was not ‘in a relationship’. But as your blog aptly shows, we are in relationships everywhere! Our housemates, friends, work colleagues, family, butchers, our local fruit and vegetable marketers….and we can learn so much from them.

    1. It’s a narrow idea isn’t it that only a romantic pairing is a relationship when we are actually in relationship to everyone and everything, and also in a relationship with ourselves.

  36. Yes relationship is simply one in relation to another, surely, the what lies in between you might say. Great to be returning to that full meaning.

  37. By re-reading your great blog, Gabriele, I see that by not calling that we are having a relationship with certain groups, people or animals it is just an avoidance to take responsibility about the quality we bring into these relationships.
    Like with nature. We also have a relationship with nature and if we try to avoid to feel that it is because we do not want to feel how we treat nature. It asks us to change our behavior.

  38. Nudging words away from their True meaning has become a sport that is age old. Redeveloping our understanding of language and how we can express the Truth in words should be taught in our schools at a young age. Then taken home to be shared with the parents so this level of abuse can start to change from the bottom up or is it the inside out?

    1. It’s gotta be whichever way we look me feels, whether that is from inside out or from the bottom up. The only one that wouldn’t work is from the top down as we have tried that for too long and it has never worked.

  39. I love getting back to the true meaning of words. So many have been bastardized down the years. Referre from the Latin meaning to bring back. Love it. We have a relationship not only with people and nature too, but with the things that we live with and the activities we take part in. Do we value all of our ‘relationships’?

  40. I can’t help but feel that the meaning of relationship “referre”, to bring back, means to bring back to Soul, to return to all we have left behind, to restore ourselves and each other to the love we are. Surely there is no truer relationship than one that brings us back to Soul.

  41. I like your history lesson on when the meaning of relationship changed to mean solely intimate experiences. It really diminishes our every moment to moment experiences and connections with people reducing them to being less when in truth they are not.

    1. The timing of the re-definition of the word ‘relationship’ to be narrowed down to intimate ones is interesting; was it an unconscious giving up on the world with its wars and horrors and the turning to another for solace and the promise of a safe heaven? And what did we make of these intimate relationships? Have they turned the tide of abuse and depravity around or have we added more of the same to a world that is already groaning under the putrid load?

  42. Beautifully expressed Gabriele thank you, for me your blog puts a deeper meaning to the casual relationships I have with people “all our relationships need to come back to the truth that we are all one?”

  43. It is an illusion that if we are in a partner relationship then we can shut out relationships with others and vice versa, as the truth is there is only one relationship and however we are with ourselves we have the ability to be the same with everyone else. If we hold back our quality with any one relationship all our relationships will too be compromised.

  44. The truth is we are never not in relationship with everyone and everything around us, so reserving the word relationship to mean only intimate relationships is a complete misrepresentation of what the word relationship means.

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