Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love, Healing and Romantic Love

Over the past year I've been working to revise my vision of a romantic relationship, and to change the way I show up when in one. In May I wrote about the "myth of happily ever after". Don't misunderstand, I believe in LOVE more than ever, but I no longer believe in different kinds of love. I've come to believe that love just IS. Period. I often think of life as a classroom, and relationships are like the "lab" part where you actually experience what you're learning. Paraphrasing Mariann Williamson in "A Return to Love":

Relationships are assignments. They are a part of the vast plan for our enlightenment, by which each individual soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love. Spiritual progress is like a detoxification. Things have to come up in order to be released. Once we have asked to be healed, our unhealed places are forced to the surface. People will be brought into our life who help us see where our walls are. Our walls protect our wounds, the place where we can't love anymore, can't connect any more deeply, can't allow anyone in any further, can't forgive past a certain point. We are brought into each others' lives in order to help us see where we most need healing, and in order to help us heal. Spirit brings together people who have the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. No meetings are accidental. Those who are meant to meet will meet , because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.

However, our culture has bred the idea of the "special" relationship into us, through books, songs, movies, advertising, and the conspiracy of other egos. The "special" relationship is a device by which the ego keeps us separate from others, rather than joins us. The special relationship makes other people, their behavior, choices, opinions of us, too important. It makes us think we need another person, when in fact we are complete and whole, just as we are. In the "special" relationship we're more interested in what our brother can do for us, fix us, complete us, etc. This is not love but exploitation. When we try to use a relationship to serve our own purposes, we falter because we are reinforcing our illusion of need and incompleteness.

In a holy relationship, we're just interested in our brother (or sister), period. We are not put here to audition one another, put someone on trial, or use other people to gratify our own ego needs. We are not here to fix, change, or belittle another person. We are here to support, forgive, and heal one another. The holy relationship is above all else, a friendship between two souls.
In the holy relationship, it's understood that we all have our unhealed places, and that healing is the purpose of being close with another person. We don't try to hide our weaknesses, but rather we understand that the relationship is a context for healing through mutual forgiveness, unconditional love, and compassion. A relationship that is used by Spirit becomes a place where our blocks to love are brought into our conscious awareness. The holy relationship is a divine relationship, a temple of healing.

Our fearful places have to be revealed before they can be healed. The ego thinks of a perfect relationship as one in which both people show a perfect face. Our ego is where we are wounded, our fear. We are all afraid on some level that if we reveal who we really are, people would recoil in horror. But our true selves, the Spirit within us, is that which is most beautiful. "Spirit is in me, as me." If a relationship exists to support our growth, then in many ways it exists to force us out of our limited tolerance, and inability to love unconditionally. Spirit's purpose is always that we might learn to love ourselves and others more purely. We love more purely when we release other people to be who they are. The ego seeks intimacy through control and guilt. Spirit seeks intimacy through acceptance and release. "Fear holds on, love lets go."

Love is a decision. A real relationship is supporting another person to be the best they can be. Partners are meant to have a priestly role in each other's lives. They are meant to help each other to access the highest parts within themselves. The most productive responses in relationships come from committing to playing your own role on as high a level as you can. Spirit will take care of the rest.

There are no different categories of love. The love that is real is the love of the spirit inside each person, the perfection within them, whether your mother, brother, child or lover. We must reveal ourselves at the deepest level in order to find out how lovable we really are. When we dig deeply enough into our real nature, we do not find darkness, we find endless light. True love asks for nothing, but peace for our brother, knowing that only in that way can we be at peace ourselves.

Wishing you light and true love.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Poem for the Modern World

Someone gave this to me as a book, many years ago, and I loved it. I recently rediscovered it, and in reading realized how much of it has become an integral part of my personal beliefs, and the way I try to live my life. Although it was written almost a hundred years ago, I feel it's still very pertinent to our modern world.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly,
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant,
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is,
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars,
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all it's sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, circa 1920's

As always, sending you light and love.