I am in a relationship right now for which I had no model growing up. I am in a Spiritual Relationship.
“A Spiritual Relationship is formed when two (or more) people come together, as equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.” - Self-Mastery: A Journey Home to Your Self (Joseph Hu Dalconzo)
In the Self-Mastery course, I learned there is a difference between an “Old World” Relationship and a Spiritual Relationship.
Old World Relationships were entered into for the primary purpose of security, procreation, sex, companionship, etc.
Spiritual Relationships are entered into by people who intend to consciously use the relationship for spiritual growth. Now it isn’t that security, sex, procreation and companionship aren’t also aspects of this relationship. It’s just that spiritual growth is the most important aspect.
The biggest hurdle for me in finding a spiritual partner was to first believe that she even existed. I was raised in a very conservative Christian household and most of my family is still quite conservative in their religious beliefs. My maternal grandfather was a Primitive Baptist preacher for about 50 years and he had both a direct and indirect influence on my beliefs growing up.
But after growing up and finding myself on a much different spiritual path than most of my family...and really just about everyone I knew, I just didn’t know if there was someone out there who would share my views of spirituality.
And so, I just started imagining that this person did exist. In realizing that I was probably not going to find my match in someone that had the sort of background growing up that I did, I had to open my mind to the possibility that my spiritual partner would have a different religious background than I did.
I feel it was this realization, this opening of my mind to this possibility that accelerated the arrival of the woman into my life who has become my wife, my equal and my spiritual partner.
My wife’s family is from India and she was the first in her family to be born in the United States. Being raised in the Hindu religion, she had a very different religious and cultural upbringing than I did. But what I found was that the essence of the beliefs I had been studying for the previous 15 years very closely resembled what she had been taught all of her life.
She also had been dreaming of a spiritual relationship. She wanted to meet someone who would share her beliefs and who could grow with her.
Together we have a commitment to help each other to grow, to understand that this is why we are together and to help others as well.
Now...just because we know we are in a Spiritual Relationship does not mean that our relationship is always easy. In fact, we fought pretty often the first year we were together. We grew stronger and more bonded after each one though.
By the time we got together, I had already been through the Spiritual Relationships part of the Self-Mastery course. We had been engaged almost a year before she went through it. She had been delaying our marriage date for months and I knew she would eventually get to the point where she was ready.
She went through the Spiritual Relationships exercises in September 2006 and as soon as she finished, she announced that she was now ready to get married. We wanted to get married that year, so we pulled our wedding together in six weeks. It was a busy time and we both worked together on it.
We married right on time six weeks later and we have been together ever since.
We rarely fight or argue any more. We understand that one of the basic aspects of our spiritual partnership is that the other person mirrors back to us what we ourselves most need to heal.
This mirroring aspect is very important to understand for both of us. Because if I look out at what she is doing and believe that I cannot be happy unless she changes whatever it is that she’s doing, then I am lost in my illusion. I may get her to change it and that may make me temporarily happy. But if I am holding on to unhappiness somewhere within me, she will just reflect it back to me again and again.
If I stay lost in my illusion, then I get a never-ending series of things I want her to change in order for me to feel better.
So there’s a saying that has to do with that.
“There is no way to happiness...happiness is the way.”
This means that as long as I am focused on what she is or is not doing that I am unhappy about, I will continue to see more of that. If I feel that I need to tell her that with the intent of her changing it, I am not taking responsibility for my life and the fact that I am creating my life.
When I recognize that I am creating my life and I do take responsibility for it, then I also take responsibility for whatever I am feeling. I recognize that my beautiful wife is reflecting back to me what I most need to heal...no matter what my mind tells me.
My mind’s job is to protect me. So my mind will tell me that I need to get her to change what she’s doing...or that I need to avoid her...or that I need to withdraw my love from her...anything but just simply admit that what I am experiencing is my creation.
Once I do take responsibility for it, then I simply feel those feelings. I allow them to process within me and to remind me why they’re there. Sometimes, in doing that I get a memory flash of something that happened to me long ago. I have a forgiveness practice that I use to process those emotions and let them go. In doing so, my heart opens again and I am able to perceive the situation differently than before.
I am now able to understand that the Goddess within my wife has simply been at work showing me what I need to heal.
I can’t say that I’m always just jumping up and down excited and thrilled, but I can say that my life gets easier and more enjoyable whenever I release one of these limitations.
We often joke that it’s not much fun being the “trigger man.” When I trigger her or she triggers me, our minds are still somewhat conditioned to believe that it’s the other person who needs to change or it’s the other person who is at fault for how we are feeling. And there can be a few moments as anyone who is in a relationship can attest, that being the person on which all of that emotion comes out onto...is not the most enjoyable aspect of the relationship.
The more I understand though about the childhood my wife had growing up, the more I understand why she was triggered about certain things. I know that when she does get triggered that most of the pain she is experiencing has little to do with me. I am simply the person that has triggered her unconscious pain. It has helped me to understand that this is the place she is coming from when she responded to me with anger, hurt or fear.
We both had situations where we may say or do something unconsciously and the other person unloads on them. Our minds want to rationalize all the things that the person has done for us to feel the intensity of the emotion, but typically the vast majority of the emotion has nothing to do with what our partner has done. It has much more to do with what pain has long been buried within us.
It is important to understand that we cannot just refuse to feel our emotions. Men do this more than women. Men bottle their emotions up because they were never taught to feel them. And then when they get triggered, they explode if they’ve been carrying too much pain and anger.
Emotions are energy and they have to go somewhere. So if we repress them, deny them or avoid them, they go unprocessed and they stay within us...waiting for an opportunity to show up in our lives. They attract situations to show us that they are still there.
And this is the role of our unfortunate spouse when they trigger us. We lose it and they are left wondering what the heck just happened.
The more we become conscious that this is what is happening, the easier it is for us to look within for answers.
I practice this in my spiritual relationship and it has dramatically improved the possibilities I can imagine for our partnership and is also something we have taught our daughter. She is also a spiritual relationship for me and I will be writing more about that later in my series on "A Path to Peace in Parenting."
I hope the concept of mirroring helps you to understand your relationships differently as it has for me.
The next few posts will be on different aspects of Spiritual Relationships, how this knowledge has helped and what tools we are practicing.
© 2022. All rights reserved.
Jeff Scholl is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach through Holistic Learning Centers and a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
Learn more at: https://www.apathtopeace.org/