Relationship as a Spiritual Path

What makes us “spiritual” beings? The concept of spirituality is derived from “spiritus,” meaning vitality or breath of life.  When we are connected to that force, like an electric charge, our soul awakes; the more we stay connected to that energy, the stronger and more alive is our soul. Our relationships present a constant opportunity to tap into this power.

Spiritual Principles

Consider spiritual ideals, such as faith, truth, surrender, patience, and compassion.  As we practice these principals in our relationships, they have a synergistic effect, reinforcing one another and strengthening us.

Faith

that we will not disintegrate from loneliness, fear, shame, or rejection allows us to risk separateness from our partner.  Faith in a higher power makes it possible to surrender our well-being and self-esteem to something other than another person.

Truth

With faith, we gain the courage to be truthful at the risk of losing the relationship.  This builds a more resilient sense of self. Honest expression of our vulnerability also allows unconditional love to be present, generating healing and strengthening the soul. Reciprocally, when unconditional love is present, it is safe to tell the truth. Each time we risk being vulnerable, more freedom and trust grow in the relationship. Our ability to risk grows, and we achieve deeper levels of self-acceptance and compassion.  Our anxiety and the need for defensive behaviors that cause problems in relationships lessen. In this way, we become more present, and our lives become more rich and vital.

Surrender

Acceptance and the ability to surrender require patience, which comes from faith. If we want to relinquish manipulating and controlling our relationships, we must have the confidence to wait.

Compassion

Compassion develops from surrendering the demands of the ego, from self-knowledge, and ultimately from self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is essential for satisfying relationships, in that we can only accept and have compassion for our partner to the degree to which we accept and have compassion for ourselves. We begin to understand our partner’s struggles and become less reactive, making it safer for both to be vulnerable.

Healing

Relationship can be an exciting path to the unknown. It is a path of self-discovery and ultimately the divine, as we open ourselves to one another. This requires courage. Our fears and defenses get activated, and we end up hurting the relationship in our attempts to maintain it. But if realize that we are both on a path of mutual discovery, open and honest communication can replace attempts to manipulate and control.

When our attitude is one of acceptance, rather than clinging and expectation, then unconditional love is possible. The relationship becomes a haven for two souls to experience themselves and each other in a space of love, respect, and freedom.

As we learn to give loving, non-interfering attention and communicate truthfully, a safe, healing environment of unconditional love is created, where we can let down our defenses. Being in its presence feels exhilarating if we are not trying to hide. Such intimacy supports our wholeness. By risking defenselessness, we begin to see ourselves and others more clearly, and our past conditioning and emotional blocks are released.

We uncover who we truly are, our divinity, in the intimate presence of another and realize that we are enough – that our wholeness and self-acceptance don’t depend on what others think, but on self-awareness. We discover that our defenses, which we thought kept us safe and made us strong, only fortify feelings of inadequacy, and become obstacles to intimacy, growth, and real inner strength. Trusting our vulnerability, we hesitatingly walk through our fears. They evaporate and we become stronger.

Such a relationship requires two people committed to a spiritual process, a willingness to experience the pain of working through old programming, and trust that if we are honest with each other, a healthy relationship will flourish, and an inappropriate one will end.

Darlene Lancer, Copyright, 2007
See the 2019 revised blog post of this article.
First Published in Whole Life Times, February, 1992

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