A Fine Addition to Our Spiritual Practice
The gifted spiritual teacher, Ram Dass taught about relationships as a yogic practice for years. His teachings suggest that if we have only been involved in individual spiritual practice, and not yet taken on the challenges of relationships, in addition, we are missing out on the fast track to enlightenment. Since so much of our life revolves around relationships already, discovering a way to progress spiritually through this opportunity is an exciting idea. It is a practical and efficient approach to use whatever our relationship brings up as an opportunity to grow in consciousness.
It’s a common assumption to view anyone who has a conscious relationship as having found their perfect other half. It is a romantic myth that a couple lives happily ever after. To neglect to appreciate that effort is a part of every fulfilling relationship. If we expect that a great relationship will happen by itself as if by magic, it’s a setup for disappointment. The sooner we discover that the happiest couples don’t experience instant enlightenment, but have been practicing the necessary skills for years, the better off we are.
When a couple uses their relationship as part of their spiritual practice, it’s as if their partnership becomes a shamanic training. There are ordeals that need to be endured and mastered. The ordeals might present themselves in the form of value differences, stylistic differences, health, financial, or career crises, addictions, betrayals, among countless others. By consciously choosing to use each of the ordeals as opportunities for spiritual evolution, we can move into the higher states of consciousness. We do taste higher consciousness at the earlier stages of our relationship. But the open-hearted connection of the intimacy stage and the joining of two deep wells of creativity in the co-creative stage takes years before their wisdom becomes the predominant characteristic of our partnership.
After consistently practicing relationship as a spiritual path, a great deal becomes available to us. As a transpersonal orientation becomes a major focus of our life, our love spills over to manifest in service to our community. We have a clear sense of purpose that our lives can be used to alleviate suffering and bring more peace and joy into the world.
To some people, a great relationship looks like magic; but it isn’t magic that gets us to these enriched levels. Those who attain the higher levels have focused their attention on their relationship for years, made it a priority in their lives, and carved out a sacred space in which to practice. They have consciously taken on the challenge of learning the hidden teachings of kindness, generosity, letting go, forgiveness, courage, commitment, and vulnerability. All the lessons are hidden in the psyche and can be discovered, not just on an intellectual basis, but we can embody them.
Operating out of the hidden teachings makes relationships at this level appear to be magic. We learn about the tremendous force of our psyche, our greatest fears, and those of our partners and how to manage them. Through working out the many adjustments to each other’s fears and needs, solid trust and understanding emerge.
Non-attachment is a profound spiritual practice. We learn to call forth the inner witness. Without non-attachment, we are a reaction machine, where everything shows up as a blessing or a curse. Non-attachment is distinct from detachment. Detachment is indifference, feeling shut off, a lack of caring, a lack of involvement, When practicing non-attachment, we are very involved, our heart is open, we are feeling our feelings and we are watching it all. We know that we are bigger than the situation.
As we practice non-attachment, instead of trying to make our partner fit our picture of who we want them to be, we can work at changing our picture. Non-attachment allows our outer life to be as it is. As we continually plumb the depths of our inner knowing, we come to understand that grace is interconnectedness. There are a conviction and trust in a power greater than the Self. We are in touch with our wisest self, and this deep self-knowledge puts us in the flow of life where living is no longer such an effort. There is humility at the same time that there is an awareness of the unique gift to the world that is ours to give.
It doesn’t necessarily have to take years and years; as soon as we practice, we can begin to see benefits right away. To live in love and joy is really what we all want deep in our heart of hearts. Is there anything that would be a better use of our time?
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