Relationship as Spiritual Practice (Part 2)


In Part 1 of this article, we discussed how intimate relationships might be thought of as a context for spiritual growth, and that “conscious” relationship is like spiritual practice because, as with any contemplative practice, it can result in transcendence of self along with self-actualization of the practitioner.

We then proceeded to take the first of four ritualistic practices and applied them in preparation for, or strengthening of, intimate relationships:

1. Clear the Path

2. Bow to the Light

3. Open Your Heart

4. Release Your Fear

This Part 2 will look at how the remaining steps can support your relationship or your search for a partner:

5. Cleanse

6. Transform

7. Heal

8. Be Free of Suffering

5. CLEANSE

If you are single

Purify yourself and focus on being the best you. This is a powerful transmission out into the universe. Your future partner will be drawn to this authentic expression.

If you are partnered

Let go of your habitual patterns. Believe that you can change. Know that the “real you” is not fixed. You are divinity incarnate, an essentially creative spirit. Even if it takes some time and work to actually let go of habitual patterns, start by finding some awareness that your patterns are only habits, not your essential substance.

6. TRANSFORM

If you are single

Stop seeking it. Create it. Presumably you have been in relationships in the past, and they have ended. Even if you were not the one that ended a prior relationship, I’m going to go out on a limb and assert that there must have been some degree of ambivalence on your part. If you had been “all in” I bet you would still be together. My challenge to you is to recognize that the next person with whom you find natural affinity is your soul mate. This is a practice. Being in conscious relationship causes alchemical changes in both people.

If you are partnered

Identify and generate new patterns. Forge a new joint vision. Get the help of a relationship mediator or coach who can help you craft a customized Relationship Agreement to get the challenging conversations handled. There’s no shame in getting support for transformation; in fact, it’s almost a requirement.

7. HEAL

If you are single

Your past is education and preparation, not failure. Let go of any old stories around not being good enough. You are enough. You are lovable. This is your mantra.

If you are partnered

New patterns heal old wounds. In intimate relationships, our wounds can be mutually triggering. But through creating a new pattern, a conscious practice of simply being aware of these wounds and holding each other in the suffering, deep healing can occur.

8. BE FREE OF SUFFERING

If you are single

Be patient and joyful as you swim from shore to shore. Your search for a partner is momentary. Keep dating and relating—purely as a practice—not purely to get results. Results occur as an afterthought when we are authentically engaged. Have faith; good things come to those who surrender to what is. And have fun!

If you are partnered

You should be celebrating your relationship 80% of the time or more. Otherwise, consider whether more transformation is needed. Celebration is a habit... and a good one! Spiritual practices and gatherings often seem to have an overly serious tone. Seriousness has its place, but so does playfulness. Playful partnerships are strong partnerships. Gratitude is the simplest form of prayer. Express gratitude daily, for both the big things and the little, funny things.

Creating and maintaining an intimate relationship is a practice that require a playful yet serious approach, not unlike most spirituality. I wish you blessings and patience in your practice!

What would you like to know more about? Contact me and let me know.

John Hoelle is a couples mediator and family attorney. Learn more about his work here.

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