Showing posts with label Holy relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy relationships. Show all posts

Saturday, September 7, 2019

What kind of relationships do you strive to create and develop?

In the West we have the myth of rugged individualism and yet the truth is that we are radically dependent on others from birth to death.

The earliest and most significant relationship is with our parents especially our mothers for without their care, protection, and nurturance we would have failed to thrive and die.

We would not have language without the interactions with others and without language our consciousness would be very limited and there is no possibility of our having actualized our potential.

Relationships come and go. Some relationships are transitory, while others have a longer life, and some are life long at least spiritually and psychologically if not physically.

As adults, how we interact in our relationships is key to our spirituality. Are we attention givers or attention seekers? Some people are needy, dependent and don’t seem to be able to have much to give, while others are more autonomous, more mature, and give readily to others. We all need some attention and the kind and amount of attention we seek and demand describes our personality. The key is not so much the amount and kind but the intention behind the attention seeking and the attention giving. Is it selfless and unconditional, or is it conditional and egotistical?

The mature soul has little need or desire for attention. The mature soul is way past that and readily shares attention with others and gives attention to others. The mature soul recognizes that being the focus of attention is illusionary because there is no identity to claim it. Attention is as much a projection of the needs and illusions of others onto us as it is real and of any substance.

True attention is validation and validation presumes knowledge and awareness at the same level of functioning and consciousness, or higher, on the part of the giver as the person receiving the attention. This is why mature souls sometimes complain of feeling lonely even when surrounded by many caring people, because there are very few or no people at the same level of consciousness to interact with. Loneliness is the price one pays for maturing and raising ones consciousness.

Jesus promised that where two or more are gathered in His name, there he would also be in spirit. I think this is true for anyone not just Jesus. Human beings are communal creatures and our consciousness is socially constructed whether we are aware of it or not. To the extent that our consciousness is socially constructed we are radically dependent on others and to them we should be extremely grateful.

Unitarian Universalists value justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. UUs value the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in their congregations, and above all, UUs value the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Relationships have a purpose: they are teaching-learning opportunties

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to accept one another and encourage each other's spiritual growth. This acceptance and encouragement depends on the initiation and development of relationships.

The path of the spirit involves relationships at three levels.

First is the momentary. We smile at someone next to us in line at the supermarket cashier and even at the cashier her/himself.

The second type of relationship is more than a moment but temporary, a fellow student in a class, a co-worker, a neighbor, someone we play softball with.

The third type of relationship is life long, a parent, a child, a life long partner in a committed relationship, a friendship which has lasted decades.

All these types of relationships create a teaching-learning dynamic. To understand the teaching-learning dynamic we simply have to ask, "What is the purpose of this relationship?" Is the purpose of the relationship "give to get" or "me or them" or "one or the other," or is it "what's mine is yours," or "both together," or "one for all and all for one?"

To use the terms described in A Course In Miracles, is the relationship a "special relationship" or a "holy relationship?" A "special relationship" manifests a "give to get" dynamic while a "holy relationship" is about joining and sharing.

All relationships are learning opportunities and it is up to us what we will learn. What do we want to learn? Do we want to learn about our specialness or do we want to learn about Love? Do we intend to use this relationship as a means of our journey on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit? Is the relationship about me and you and how we are separate, or about us and how we are the same? Will we continue our journey separate and alone or together and connected?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Holy relationships and the first principle of UU

Allen, you asked about your marriage and you said you were feeling very confused. You told me that part of the time you love Allison dearly more than anything and at other times you can't continue the relationship and just want to leave. We laughed about your feelings about the relationship being a real roller coaster ride.

Most relationships whether we recognize it or not are based on a "give to get" model. We give something, sacrifice, in order to get something, reciprocation. Unconsciously we feel guilty about this manipulation, and we hate ourselves for exploiting the relationship with the other. Further, we become resentful when we don't get what we believe we are now owed because of the sacrifices we have made, and so we attack the other for faults we attribute to what we believe they have done or not done to us based on our deal. As you have felt, Allen, this dynamic is insane and is doomed to failure because of it is built on the premise of the ego which is the "give to get" model.

The opposite model for relationships is the Holy relationship which is based on unconditional love. We turn our relationship over to the Spirit of Life and seek interior guidance based on faith in the goodness of the universe that the relationship can be transformed to a Holy one. The ability to do this is based on the implementation of Unitarian Universalist principle of affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We focus on the divine spark in the person and forgive the rest of the drama. A sense of peace fills us when we can "turn it over to our Higher Power."

Allen, I don't mean to imply that this turning over of our relationships from "give to get" to unconditional love is easy. It takes repeated intentional efforts over a period of time sometimes. It is not a light switch we can just turn on and off, but rather a process which we have to patiently persist in implementing. However in the long run we become aware of increased happiness which is our natural inheritance from our creator.

I sometimes ask people when they say they "love" another person what they mean by that and people are hard pressed to describe this thing they are calling "love". "Love" is a word too easily used without much thought. I had somebody tell me yesterday how much he loved me because he was upset and wanted attention and support from me. Telling someone that you "love" them often is a manipulation wanting reciprocation of some sort. This interaction is, of course, not love at all but exploitation. When we are told we are "loved" by another in this way we often feel unnerved, anxious, maybe somewhat annoyed and we want to get away from the person. It is at this point that we can ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and with this intention lean into the relationship a bit by giving our attention to the other person nonjudgmentally for a brief period and see what happens.

Allen, some people enjoy riding roller coasters and some don't. Even those that do wouldn't want to ride them everyday. It seems that you are not enjoying your roller coaster ride and want to get off. You can't get off in the middle of the ride. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and allow the roller coaster to come safely to the end of the ride and then approach any future roller coaster riding with a peaceful frame of mind recognizing that you are not in charge, and are willing to have the experience transformed into an experience of flow.

It remains to be seen what will happen with your relationship with Allison. If you decide to love the relationship with her unconditionally you will be well in any event. Your loving the relationship with Allison unconditionally does not depend on what she does only on what you do. You have no control over her only over yourself. How you proceed in your relationship with Allison is up to you and God. If you are are willing for God's will to be done and not your own you will be on solid ground to proceed.


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