Do you have someone who can put up with your tantrums but also scold you if needed? Do you have someone you can joke with constantly, knowing that they’ll always laugh or outright tell you that you’re being ridiculous? No, no I don’t mean your wife, husband or partner. But a good friend. Yes? Congratulations! You have a sparring partner!
If you think am speaking Japanese, don’t worry. Let me explain.
Your sparring partner is a friend with whom you regularly have friendly arguments. Someone whose purpose is not to please you, yet not to hurt you either. They have your best interest in mind yet they are not interested in coating the truth with flowery words. See in a relationship where you are constantly either joking or arguing with the other person, there is no fear. In normal friendships, what happens is that one person or the other may become quite sensitive to comments or truthful advice. Of course our main goal in life should be to not hurt others. But sometimes life may be generous towards us that we find a sparring partner. This one person with whom you can have a laugh, there is a common interest (which can be anything really), you can ask for advice, you can argue with them and you can even make fun of them (in front of them of course!) and the relationship is so open that there is no space for any insecurity.
Here is the beautiful thing about having a sparring partner. You both end up looking at life with a different perspective, serious matters become fun, challenges take a step back because you’re now facing them with a little warrior by your side. And jokes become even funnier! The sparring partner accepts you as you are, there is no room for judgement. If they do judge, then they will actually tell you to your face… ‘Am judging you!’ With a fit of laughter… Can’t beat that!
If you need to be heard they will listen and give you a ‘real’ perspective. Sometimes when we are too engrossed in our own lives, we fail to see the bigger picture. And another person, whom we trust can put that bigger picture into perspective for us.
It’s similar to friendship but there isn’t this expectation of give and take. It’s more of a ‘I will put you back on track as needed’ and my purpose is not to please you but to help you see the truth. However, this relationship works both ways. Our own part is that we must be open to their views and we must be willing to adjust. Very often we are so closed minded and blatantly refuse to step out of our own ways of thinking. With such mindsets, we barely listen to others. As Swami says: “People look for confirmation and not information.”
A sparring partner often acts like a catalyst. It’s someone nature sends your way to speed up your own growth. Please don’t get me wrong, this person isn’t here to only listen to you complain, they will also advise and guide if they have the ability to do so.
But here is the beautiful thing, when you are a sparring partner or when you have one, you are not attached to your own advice. Often people are so attached to the advice they provide that they end up feeling hurt if the person doesn’t listen. And in this type of ‘fun’ship, there is no ‘need’ to help the other person. Life just happens and any situation which requires attention will naturally get the attention needed. These two people then guide each other. Yes there are jokes, there are firm scoldings but there is growth and lots of fun too. Most conversations however are meaningless and about the joys of life!
Now, how can you find a sparring partner?
To find one such person, we must first become one. With the willingness to just give our support without attachment, without expectations, others also become willing to do so. And more importantly, I noticed that we must remain mindless and avoid using our minds too much. Most of the time this meeting will happen naturally but I found that it requires dropping all expectations but in the process we must always stay true to ourselves. The moment we start compromising and try to please others out of fear of rejection or judgement, we pollute the relationship. Accepting the impermanence of life truly makes us appreciate everyone in our lives. Be open, love yourself and become the right person, then everything will fall into place.
As for me, everyday am made a joke of (to not say insult). And it’s my duty to remind the other person to drop the ego if they think too highly of themselves. When I am being unreasonable or going on the wrong track, I surely get some firm scolding! If you’re lucky to be surrounded by someone who claims to be enlightened, ignore them. I do. If you have a sparring partner to joke mindlessly with, then you must be having much fun!
But if you already have the most amazing amazing Om Swami in your life, well well my friend, you have no right to complain. The police station is closed. No complaints please!:)