Dharmic Relating And Appreciation

Bhanu and Alice
November 26, 2016

Shambhavi riffs about the profound meaning of appreciation and how appreciation is the attitude at the heart of divinity and the basis of of all dharmic relating. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.


This idea of appreciation, of rasa, of tasting the aesthetic value of things, and appreciating it, is central to having good relationships with other people, to having dharmic relationships with other people. In the Sex and Relationships teaching, I talk about the wisdom virtues of relating. What are the wisdom virtues we need to embody in order to have good relationships? One of them is appreciation, this aesthetic appreciation of another person.

When we stand in front of a painting or listen to a beautiful concert, or any really great, finely expressive work of art, we are not sitting there relating to that work of art like, “Here’s what I need from you. I’m sorry, Beethoven, you just aren’t fulfilling my needs. You have to step up. I’m really angry at you, Painting. Because you aren’t what I expected you to be. I came into this museum thinking you’re this, and you’re really that, and I’m really mad.”

There’s a kind of non-neediness. There’s an absolute non-neediness about aesthetic appreciation. But everything in your relationship with others, whether it’s friends or lovers, or even just the person next door, it’s all about getting what you want, or organizing your life into the shape that you want it to be, or having the kind of relationship you want. You ever ask somebody who is in a marriage or a love relationship, “So what do you like about the other person?” “Oh, I really like how they make me feel.” Danger, red flag, sirens, emergency. If that’s the first thing that comes to your mind, that what you like about the other person is how they make you feel, you’re in trouble. That is a non-appreciative, non-aesthetic, narcissistic way of relating to other people.



Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.