The New Message says that we have a relationship with everything: every possession we own, our house, our car, our phone, our clothes, our pets. Any object of value that we have, we have a relationship with that. But it says the relationships that matter are with living things because any other relationship is the fabrication of the mind. “Well, I have a relationship with my cell phone.” What’s that? That’s just an idea, right? Okay. Maybe you do, maybe your cell phone is your primary relationship, as it is for many young people today. You know, they send two-sentence messages to each other, but they have no idea how to be with anybody.

Your primary relationship is with life—not objects, not possessions. This is what matters. And secondarily, if you have a primary relationship with animals or plants, you still have to deal with people. So your problem with people never goes away, and your opportunity with people never goes away.

And the person who goes off and meditates to try to connect with God, they get sent back. “Oh no, you have to go back. You have to build a relationship with yourself. You have to build a relationship with people. You have to build a relationship with the world. You can’t just transcend. We spent all this time getting you into this place and you want to jettison yourself out?” There’s no escape. Escape is kind of a failure actually…

So what I mean here is relationships with ideologies—political theories, political parties, religious philosophy, being an ardent defender of your faith—is kind of stupid. I mean, relationship with ideas—this is where people, probably more men than women, get really lost.

And if you don’t do well with people, you tend to bond to ideas and become very fixated there, and even very defensive there. “I defend my beliefs against anyone. I’ll go to war, become a terrorist.” These are not the relationships that matter. In fact, they’re often substitutes in terms of…You still have a relationship with your work and what you do and even with what you believe, or things that give value to you. But it’s your relationship with people where the real learning happens.

On August 17, 2019, Marshall Vian Summers gave a teaching in Boulder CO, USA, on our most important relationships, beyond ideas, possessions, objects and philosophies.

Read more about our vital relationships with other people