How to sustain Love and Consciousness in Intimate Relationships
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
One of the main areas where the basic condition of the egoic self reveals itself is in the area of romantic relationships.
To the ego, romantic love represents an opportunity for liberation from the deep-seated state of fear and incompleteness in which it lives.
When the egoic self picks an object of love, it sees it as the "one" object who is going to complete "me" and make "me" whole. And if it is lucky, the other egoic self reciprocates.
"Beginnings", as the psychotherapist Esther Perel said beautifully, "are always ripe with possibilities, for they hold the promise of completion".
However, as the encounter evolves into a real relationship, this vision naturally begins to dim. At this point, without sustained awareness, all romantic relationships may fall victim to love/hate intermittent cycles.
It starts with a sense of doubt and discomfort that arises every time our partner behaves in a way that does not satisfy our needs of comfort and unconditional love.
Gradually, the ease of the relationship can periodically turn into aggression, hostility, or withdrawal. Until the happiness of the "honeymoon" can become the unhappiness of coexistence.
And although it's only the undealt egoic conditioning again, now we believe that the other person is the cause of this unease.
How does one break this cycle?
By bringing awareness to these egoic mechanisms.
Start by recognizing in yourself any dissatisfaction or sense of lack that fuels an ongoing search for comfort, validation, and fulfillment.
Then realize that this sense of lack or that something is missing comes from being disconnected from that inner state of complete acceptance and oneness with the universe.
As Eckhart Tolle said brilliantly:
"Love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form. In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love."
A love that is sustained through time by independence, authenticity, and the ability to surrender and embrace whatever emerges.
Drawing on her work with couples, Perel writes: "Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. One does not exist without the other."
When two partners merge eradicating the separateness of two distinct individuals, there is no one to connect with. The loving experience of physical and emotional fusion requires two distinct entities.
The opportunity to experience and reveal to another the parts of us that are hard to share can be one of the most transformative features of a relationship.
Yet to speak and listen with an open heart requires us to bravely melt those walls around our hearts and face those places within that seem so unlovable that urge you to pull back.
"Vulnerability", as Brene Brown puts it, "sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never a weakness”.
Be fiercely vulnerable anyway.
Vulnerability is not an easy and sparkly process. It's as much of a challenge as a gift. Nonetheless, the reward is an opportunity to expand and learn to love yourself beyond what you could ever imagine.
The greatest catalyst in a relationship is the complete acceptance of your partner as he/she is.
When the mind is filled with judgment, you cannot fully appreciate the beauty that is already before you.
The moment that judgment stops through acceptance and surrender to what is, you are free of the mind. Start by making it a habit to accept "what is", and acceptance will eventually yield to surrender.
"Spiritually, no action is more important than surrender. Surrender is the tenderest impulse of the heart, acting out of love to give whatever the beloved wants. Surrender is being alert to exactly what is happening now, not imposing expectations from the past"
- Deepak Chopra.
Surrender as a spiritual practice shows deep care and compassion for the other person and an undeniable depth of knowledge of yourself. When you reach this state, you will experience feelings of profound peace, bliss, and love in your relationship and your life.
How can one sustain loving intimate relationships?
The truth is that, as John O’Donohue says so wonderfully: "You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful but difficult spiritual work of learning to love yourself."
See it as the transformative journey of opening and healing your heart's that it is! Welcome any Growth, Challenges, Joy, Struggle, Love, Pain, Adoration, and fear that may arise as part of this process of Expansion and Deep healing.
And remember that, even though ultimately you are learning to love yourself, you are not alone on this transformative path. You are in this together.
And if nothing else, make the commitment to always see each other in a delicate, loving, and compassionate manner.
That alone will transform you and your relationships in ways you could never imagine!
Because at that moment, more than feeling love, you become LOVE.