Little Ways of Being™ Blog
- Created on 17 October 2012
Transcript of the Talk
Relationships. Those gnarly, troublesome aspects of living that require more patience, grace, insight, and wisdom than are naturally gifted to us at birth. Too often relationships with another human being break down into misery, dissatisfaction, frustration, betrayal, or anger and not just in undesirable or terminated relationships. Rather our most important, cherished relationships are destined to bring us in and out of these twisted states—repeatedly.
It's understandable why many people choose a spiritual outlook that doesn't include relationships after death.
Let us be done with relationships for good!
If God is in our picture, many religious traditions have taught us that to be serious in spiritual affairs we will view attachments, or relationships, as a hindrance toward our spiritual progress. For those religions exalting family relationships, we often lack insight about how relationships function to take us further along the spiritual journey.
In any case, we navigate relationships out of our necessity for love, community, and company; because they're unavoidable; and our greatest happiness—however lasting or fleeting—has been borne of relationships.
So we dust off our angel wings, affix them as best we can, and wrestle with relationships with lovers, spouses, children, parents, friends, colleagues, comrades, confidantes, acquaintances, and strangers. Some days are easier than others; some are absolutely impossible and bring more pain than any physical illness or natural disaster could ever muster.
Relationships are something forced on us in our human life. But for the business of our souls—or perhaps as solace from the onslaught of relating with our world—we turn our focus to meditation, prayer, mindfulness, contemplation, ritual, learning, our inner landscape, rapport with nature, or employing creative energy.
Each of these powerful, inspiring practices can turn our life into joyous expression and give us delicious peace. That is until we get into the thick of interacting with people, or really face our own Self: the quirkiness, fallibility, and needs of our own individuality.
How do we carry joy and peace from spiritual practices into our commerce with the world of relationships? How can relationships be coaxed to "work" in personal, spiritual, social, and political spheres?
The Way of the Feminine Divine centers on the core premise that relationships are not simply one of the many messy, unexplainable factors of human life.
Relationships are channels for our spiritual upliftment and self realization and, set aright, are the healers of our social ills.
Relationships and relating are to be added to the world's list of universal spiritual practices. The demands of relating: self love, self examination, selflessness, and humility massage our souls.
Relationships aren't simply complications that plague us as we seek real pleasure in career, education, solitude, money, fame, power, or acquiring things. They aren't just an inconvenience we navigate while we proceed with our real business of a spiritual journey.
Learning the art of relating is the key to end suffering and bring ultimate fulfillment of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations—both in mundane and spiritual terms.
Relating to others offers more potential for our good than just delivering delirious pleasure of intoxicated new love. And learning the devotional culture of relating will go a long way in mitigating the horrendous outcomes of strangled love: growing prison populations, deplorable neglect of our elderly, the rise of mental health disease, child abuse, suicide, domestic violence, and on the world stage war, hunger, sex slavery and more.
Beyond our immediate material concerns, relationships can lay open a vast spiritual existence for us.
Relationships do the heavy lifting of crafting our heart with a soulful response to life.
What is it about interacting with other people that makes relating more than a spiritual practice but a means and an end in metaphysical matters? To answer we need to take a step back to look at a core premise about reality.
The Way of the Feminine Divine proposes that spiritual individualism is not only an eternal truth but the most sacred one.
We are relational beings because individuality and its concomitant characteristic relationships are the nature of our true Self.
The vital element of relationships is emotion. Emotion is the medium for the experience of relationships. And the highest emotion, the emotion that fuels spiritual relationships, is love. Pure love. We are meant to dive into love and loving, to turn to our hearts and bring heartfulness to our living.
If we take a moment to reflect on the Feminine Divine's perspective on reality, we come to see why we still seek, why we still feel dissatisfied or empty, though we have become accomplished at mindfulness, meditation and other practices that calm the raging mind, that bring degrees of happiness, and give us moments of peace.
To become whole, we can enrich our mindfulness with heartfulness. For that we need to understand and value emotions. This is a serious undertaking. Our Western mindset has belittled emotions as inferior to the intellect for millennia, and many of us fear emotions for their visceral control of us.
Yet it is what confuses us, what we fear, loathe, and belittle that can offer us what we want more than anything in all the world: our pass into unsurpassed happiness, into joys that become dense, constant ecstasy.
Spiritual relationships deliver what we most want in the deepest core of our Being. However, relationships with our Self, others, God/dess, and our planet will neither be fulfilling, healing, or progressive as long as we misunderstand, misidentify, or mishandle the heart of relationships: emotions and a devotional culture that nurtures and educates them.
It is not in spite of relationships that we become happy and liberated; it is through relationships that we experience ecstasy, complete freedom, human evolution, and spiritual perfection.
Our ceaseless dance with fear and hatred of emotions is the cause of our inability to access the liberating effect of relationships and their ability to cure our social ills. Fear and hate are impure love; they smother genuine love. Pure love is the emotion that surpasses other emotions in its fullness and its efficacy to deliver our mundane and metaphysical desires and needs. We are only truly sustained when we receive unconditional love; only genuinely fulfilled by giving it. Unconditional love is the highest expression of the pure Self.
What opportunity do we have to develop extraordinary love if not through practice in our current relationships?
It's not a cosmic joke, or an aberration of reality, that relationships and relating form our core experience of life. We're meant to delve into relationships, to learn how to master our emotions and love unconditionally.
But exactly what is unconditional love? From which well do we drink to learn its secrets and where do we find the intelligence, strength, and grace to develop it?
We'll explore these questions in our next videocast. Until then, be well, look in and out searching for the deepest heart in all matters,
* Bhakti recognizes God as male and female. My use of God/dess references a holistic perspective of divinity.