Good day, everyone!
The Conscious Relationship Class is up and running! As we go along these next few weeks I’m planning
on sending snippets of the conversation out to everyone for those interested, and so that you can see the
sorts of things we’re talking about. Here’s something I wrote yesterday. Enjoy!
In peace, David
A response to a class participant:
I feel for you in the situation that you’re in. That’s tough.
One of the reasons I’ve wanted to offer this class is that we’re not taught how to skillfully do relationship
within our culture. We’re taught very little, in fact, that’s actually helpful, and a whole lot of stuff that’s
untrue and debilitating. We’re not taught how to skillfully do relationship–and there absolutely is a way.
It requires a willingness to do the work involved, as you say, and it takes courage as well. In order to be
skillful we have to act outside of our conditioned beliefs about how things are and who and how we are,
and that’s a scary thing to do. Luckily, this is exactly what spiritual practice is all about: it teaches us how
to go beyond our false belief systems and see what is actually so. And what is so is that if we can act from center within our relationships, and if the other people can as well to some degree (those are big ifs, I know, but such a thing is possible for people who practice) then we can have grown-up, healthy relationships that work.
The number one skill to have in order to enjoy successful, healthy, mature relationships is the ability to
disidentify–to let go of the conditioned self we believe we are in a given moment, and to align ourselves
with the kind, clear, generous, loving person we are in our authentic nature. That’s what I have found, at
any rate, since I left the monastery and started the work of learning for myself how to do relationship
well. If you have the ability to disidentify (and if the other person does, too), then you can work through
anything with love and grace. There is no love within conditioned mind; we must let go of conditioned
mind in order to truly love ourselves, other people, and the world. This is not to say that everything will
work out the way we want it to, even if we’re acting from center all the time, because sometimes things in
life just don’t work out. If both people know how to disidentify, however, then even the process of
discovering that things aren’t going to work out will be full of love and grace.
Someone who can disidentify and act from center with some practice will be able to employ the more
tangible skills required in mature relationship:
• to communicate clearly, directly, and honestly
• to set appropriate boundaries, with consequences
• to give and receive feedback without taking things personally
• to let go of ego-based agendas
• to love unconditionally–truly unconditionally, even if/when the other person is doing
unskillful, hurtful things.
That, in my experience, is what we’re going for, and the first step is to get to center. It sounds like you are
in a place now to do the spiritual work outlined above within the relationship you have. That’s wonderful!
I’m so, so glad you have the willingness to do that. And, as you say, it will be interesting to see what
happens. Perhaps things will change for the better, perhaps not. That will depend somewhat upon the
level of willingness your partner has. But I think I can guarantee that the process will provide you with
the clarity you’ll need, over time, in order to know how to proceed. And then it will be up to you to do what your clarity says to do.