Why Bother With a Relationship If You Are on a Spiritual Path?

I have started to investigate and inquire into the lessons about rejection or abandonment in relationship that people I care about have experienced.  This continues to be one of my biggest lessons, and I really am not sure what to do with it anymore.  I have done the psychological approach to exploring it, with some success.  I have done the spiritual approach to it, with greater success.  But it continues to erupt in me, and it is triggered by things that make no sense. At this point, I feel like it is a distraction from my spiritual path, and I would like to set it down.

As I study more deeply into spirituality, and reflect honestly within myself, I know that traditional relationship is not my path.  My spiritual commitment is too great to be willing to commit to a relationship and its expectations without losing myself.  I have spoken to some people who have made their relationship a version of spiritual service.  I have talked to people who have found their spiritual path enriched through relationship.  I have read a growing body of literature suggesting that traditional relationship as a form is dying, and is being replaced by a sacred union, a spiritual union, between men and women who share a path and are willing to support the growth of the other on this journey. 

Along the way, I have questioned if we even need a relationship for spiritual growth.  Why would I bother? With all the complications, and the possibility for loss and abandonment? With the potential to be engulfed by the other and lose the opportunity to be my Self? Let alone the difficulty in finding individuals with whom you share a compatible spiritual approach and spiritual path! To me, it seems unnecessary. And yet, something in me recognizes the beauty of seeing another living their purpose, and to have things reflected to you that you cannot see or access on your own. I recognize the beauty of healing with another. Perhaps my resistance to relationship is a resistance to face and heal that deep issue around abandonment and rejection and loss.

So what would a spiritual, evolutionary, equal relationship look like? Is spiritual partnership a new idea, or just an awakening to the union of the divine feminine and masculine without the social norms and baggage getting in the way?

I am not a student of the Kabbalah, but as one of the older traditions, it provides a baseline for understanding the divine union. "Having a spiritual connection means that both partners knows the reason for their existence - to embark on the spiritual journey and attain the spiritual goal of life. Then they will have something that truly connects them, they will be in a mutual "cell" together, and the verse "Man, woman, and the Divine Presence between them" will really come true. In other words, they will feel the revelation of the Divine Presence - the Creator." Kabbalah and Relationships  I believe that the only true connection between individuals is a spiritual one.  We may share many experiences together, but true connection occurs between spiritually awake individuals. 

The idea of relationship being spiritual, not a socially defined tradition, was reflected in many of the works of Osho.  In the book" Love, Freedom, and Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships". we are told:

"A relationship is a koan. And unless you have solved a more fundamental thing about yourself, you cannot solve it. The problem of love can be solved only when the problem of meditation has been solved, not before it. Because it is really two non-meditative persons who are creating the problem. Two persons who are in confusion, who don't know who they are -- naturally they multiply each other's confusion, they magnify it.

Unless meditation is achieved, love remains a misery. Once you have learnt how to live alone, once you have learnt how to enjoy your simple existence, for no reason at all, then there is a possibility of solving the second, more complicated problem of two persons being together. Only two meditators can live in love -- and then love will not be a koan. But then it will not be a relationship either, in the sense that you understand it. It will be simply a state of love, not a state of relationship..." Osho

A koan is a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. So relationship exists with spiritual purpose and intention. And the relationship reflects the consciousness of the two lovers.  For all the tines in the West that we have glorified romance and passion, have celebrated longevity in marriage, and put controls and conditions around relationship to protect its real purpose - the protection of the rights of property - we have lost the role models and examples of real spiritual union between man and woman.

The most likely place for modeling of divine union is Tantra.  But it has been so twisted in the West that what remains in popular images is like trying to understand the history and culture of Brazil simply because you took a semester of Portuguese.  "“Tantra“ is now a buzzword in the modern Western world. We see it on the covers of popular magazines and books, usually linked with a vaguely suggestive and titillating notion of some kind of superlative sexual experience. Though almost everyone has heard this word, almost no-one—including many people claiming to teach something called tantra—knows anything about the historical development of the Indian spiritual tradition that scholars refer to as “Tantra.“ What these academics study as “Tantra“ bears almost no resemblance to what is taught under the same name on the workshop circuit of American alternative spirituality. " Christopher Hareesh Wallis

So what can relationship on a spiritual path look like? It is formless.  It is indescribable, because it reflects the consciousness and intent of the partners.  It is based on the spiritual principles of Being, of acting from Consciousness, of Openness and Acceptance to what is.  It is Consciousness reveling in the recognition of Consciousness, of the joy of individualized expression.  It can last a lifetime, or a brief moment in time.  It can shift and change form.  It transcends all the psychology of relationship, and calls for a cultural shift in how we shape and experience each other.  It trusts in the Universe, and celebrates the process of co-creation with the Universe.

Do you need a relationship? No, not at all.  But if you are going to create one to serve as part of your growth, you will probably be on the bleeding edge of expressing spiritual partnership in our culture today.  It is called the bleeding edge because so few people will be doing what you are doing at first, and because it hurts when you are the change you want to see in the face of history and social dictate. And yet, isn't all of life precisely like that? Isn't living in freedom how all things change anyway?



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Comment by Trevor Taylor on December 17, 2013 at 5:49am

Hi Gail - recommended to the Publishers for inclusion in one of the February 2014 multi-media editions

OM Times Magazine is a Holistic Green eZine with a Spiritual Self-growth Perspective for the Conscious Community.



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