Monday, September 4, 2017

Ask yourself, "What is the purpose of this relationship?" UUs third principle

Dear Lucy:

Since our discussion about Unitarian Universalism and sex you have asked some good questions about what A Course In Miracles calls "special relationships." At 26 these are very important questions for you to be asking because our society loves to pair people off and there is pressure from family, friends and society at large to find that special someone with whom to settle down and perhaps have children with and make a family. As a species this is evolutionarily desirable because it assures the continuation of our species, homo sapiens. The problems arise when the ego wants to play games and usurp the place of God, the Spirit of Life in our lives. The ego teaches the idea of romantic love and that there is a special someone, a soul mate, who will understand you completely and be there for you always so you will never be misunderstood or lonely again. You are wise enough to understand that this is utter nonsense and impossible and some with a theological perspective might even call it idolatry because it puts love in special relationships in front of  the love of God. The faith in special relationships, as you sense, is, the path to hell on earth.

For most people special relationships are imprisoning and require the individual to give up his/her freedom.  In the twentieth century this was jokingly referred to as the "ole ball and chain" meaning that getting married was a life of possessiveness, restriction, and servile compliance with the desires of another. Rather than being liberating, marriage, committed relationships, were seen as enslavement.

As you seem to sense, true love is freedom and by placing yourself in bondage you separate yourself from freedom and embark on a path of misery and claustrophobia.  The trick of the ego is to tell us that we have to give something to get something and the price of marital bliss is sacrifice. Sacrifice though will never make you happy but leads down a path to resentment, fear, and suffering,

The biggest lie ever told is that sex is the ultimate proof of love. The ego wants us to believe this, but all we have to do is watch pornography and we can tell this is not true. A body sexually aroused is just that and often nothing more. When we realize this, we feel betrayed and disillusioned, and depressed and sometimes suicidal because we are greatly confused about the meaning of life.

To get ourselves better oriented we should look for the divine spark in people and focus on that. Joining in mutual purpose with other human beings is great joy. When we experience this lift in our awareness and consciousness, we feel a grace and a blessing which is very liberating and brings an enhancement of hope, faith, and confidence in the goodness of Life. A good relationship is one that is turned over to the Holy Spirit for use as a schoolroom for salvation and reunion with awareness of being a part of the Godhead. Does this relationship help us become a better person and relate to the world in more beneficial and loving ways? The true test of loving relationships is peace.

Unitarian Universalism teaches all this in a deep reading of its seven principles with the first probably being the most important: the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This principle is not referring to bodies but to spirits, to souls. The best question you can ask yourself as you try to sort out your thoughts and desires about relationships is: "What is the purpose of this relationship?" Unitarian Univeralism says in its third principle that we should be focused on the encouragement of spiritual growth. The more difficult question to answer is "How do we do that?" Many ways, Lucy. Use your talents and abilities in ways you find satisfying and fulfilling and you will grow and the people you are in relationship with will benefit as well.


Uncle David


  1. Interesting idea that special relationships are a form of idolatry. I have seen cases where I would agree. Others not so much.

    The idea that committed relationships are a schoolroom for salvation is not new but rarely taught I think in UU churches. Marriage as a "sacrament" in Catholicism or a yoga, a spiritual path, in Eastern religions is a deeper understanding of the purpose of marriage than anything I am familiar with UU teaching. However, your tying it to the third principle is intriguing.

  2. Special relationships become especially special when abuse enters in. The possessiveness, the control, the domination, the manipulation all in the service of one person exploiting another. UUs teach justice, equity, and compassion in human relations which in and of itself isn't anything special, the UN and other human rights organizations do the same thing. So we might ask what do UUs bring to the table in this regard and I think you suggest the answer when you write the spiritual development of each other. This idea is a good one and UUs do covenant together to promote and affirm this, but I think it is ambiguous and ephemeral how this is to be done when it comes down to specific practices. More specifically, what does Unitarian Universalism do to help people make their relationships more spiritual, and couples and families make their relationships more spiritual? I'm at a loss. Can anyone help me with this question?

  3. The idea of special relationships should include a consideration of sin, especially sexual sin, and the supposed betrayal and abandonment people perceive to be entailed. Jesus told the judgmental men of her day that whoever was without sin could cast the first stone and they all walked away beginning with the eldest. Then he told the woman she was free to go and suggested that she learn from her mistake and get her life on a better track. Beautiful story. Many morals to it but perhaps the most important is that Jesus does not call her behavior a sin but a mistake. We would do well to reflect on the differences between sins and mistakes and live our lives accordingly in the future.

  4. Being married to someone who has to be right about everything is hell. Being right is of utmost importance to them and they would rather die or kill than admit that they might be wrong. This is the ego run a muck. You see the world you value and be careful what you wish for. The free and responsible search for truth and meaning means nothing to such people because they believe their very life (ego) in which they have invested so much is at stake. The other is the one who doesn't agree and they deserve punishment and castigation for their failure to pay homage to the small truth the person holds dear. Their failure of agreement is perceived as a threat and attack and this mean civil war in which much of our society is engaged presently. The answer, of course, is to become aware and understand that we all are in this thing called Life together and our ultimate salvation is in recognizing our oneness not our separateness.

    1. Surrinda:

      To give up our attachment to our selves fills us with fear. We have a very hard time letting go until realize that what we cling to has no value and eventually must be surrendered. The earlier we learn this in life the easier a life we will have and the greater happiness and peace. This seems to be what David is trying to convey to Lucy who seems like an "old soul" to me. She seems very wise in her younger years and will save herself and many others a lot of time in moving human kind forward.

  5. The choice we have seems to be to put our faith in romantic relationships and make the other the center of our lives or to refocus on our inner life and make ourselves the center of our lives. Afterall, we cannot control others only ourselves and if we make others responsible for our happiness we give our power away and deceive ourselves about who we really are and what we should be doing here. It seems we need to find our if we can be our authentic, true self and still stay connected in a special relationship are will that special relationship contribute to our soul murder? As a 43 year old woman I know the answer to that and Lucy is skeptical and must choose for herself.

  6. Deep down we know that things aren't right in this world of romantic relationships. While we would like them to be, we know either from experience or from intuition that they are not the ultimate home for us. As we mature we give up on the idea that we will be unconditionally loved, accepted, forgiven, and attended to and we learn "to settle." It is a wise person who does not expect too much from love relationships which will ultimately fail us and leave us disillusioned. We come to understand that what we long for is re-union with creation from which we have come and this simple idea is very difficult for our overcomplicating hearts and minds. After all it is really pretty simple - Jesus said love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind. We might hear but we don't listen because this commandment fills us with fear and so we settle for little when we could enjoy the magnitude.

  7. One of the things very necessary in a good relationship is humor. Couples who laugh together especially about the insanity of their relationship stay together because they realize that their relationship is to learn from about themselves, about the nature of humanity, about God's love for us even in this world we have mistakenly created for ourselves. UUs are very good at laughing at themselves so I think they probably have the happier relationships than people in other religions.

    A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office.

    After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone. He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe stress disorder. If you don't follow my instructions carefully, your husband will surely die."

    "Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant at all times. For lunch make him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him."

    "Don't burden him with chores. Don't discuss your problems with him; it will only make his stress worse. Do not nag him. Most importantly, make love to him regularly."

    "If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."

    On the way home, the husband asked his wife, "What did the doctor say?"

    "He said you're going to die," she replied.