Navigating Relationships: A Multidimensional Perspective
Navigating Relationships: A Multidimensional Perspective
Relationships occur on different levels of consciousness and, depending on whether or not a relationship taps into the core Self, which is at the spiritual level of being, the relationship will either work congruently or not. All levels of connection in a relationship have to be congruent between the people for a true soul relationship of any kind to happen; this is not only true in sexual relationships, it’s true in any relationship. When there’s a true spiritual connection, both individuals recognize that they share core values. They mutually attended these values and respect them in each other. At this level, both individuals feel that their partner understands who they are in some intangible, nonverbal, and energetic way.
The level of intimacy in a relationship determines the extent to which the layers have to align. The more intimate the relationship, the more essential the fit between mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical alignment, with the core values of the spiritual being the most important layer. An individual usually protects their spiritual core, which is how they perceive and experience their inner Self. This internal self is their most sensitive and vulnerable part of who we are as humans. In intimate relationships this part of the Self requires being recognized, attended to, respected, and equally valued by their partner. It is this recognition and valuing that builds self-esteem and self-awareness.
The spiritual Self operates at a deep unconscious level of awareness and during dreaming; it communicates symbolically and neurologically with the conscious mind. Because this integrated part of your Self operates to connect you to the wider cosmos, it is very important to you, yet is only accessible to waking consciousness through intuition and deep reflection. Nevertheless, you are likely to have less tolerance for incongruity with people with whom you do not feel spiritual harmony because the spiritual Self is so important in the unifying integrated field of consciousness. It is the part of yourself you hold most dear, because it connects you to your Higher Divine Self. It is the part of you that exists from the moment of your birth and transcends death. When you connect deeply with another person on an intimate level, you tend to feel your own sense of spiritual alignment and harmony with something greater than yourself.
It is my belief that in an intimate soul connected relationship the participants serve as monitors for each other along their paths if they recognize the other person as being in complete accordance with their core purpose. If there is misalignment in core values, distrust and disharmony result. For instance, I met my husband, Marvin, in India. He asked me out on a date, and we went out for a nice dinner. At the end of dinner, he left the check in the middle of the table and looked at me. I looked at him, and I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “Oh, I’m playing.” I got up and started to leave. He plopped the money down on the table and followed me out of this fancy restaurant in the nice Indian hotel we were in. When we were outside, he said, “What just happened? That was awful. Let’s never let that happen again.”
We talked about what had happened. It was a key defining moment because I told him that I expected to be treated like a woman. I expected to be courted and taken care of, and I expected him to honor our contract when he asked me out. It took courage for me to speak up about what I value, and with how I want to be treated as a woman, but it set the tone for our whole relationship. We are compatible intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, but we continue to monitor each other to remain true to ourselves. If one of us starts doing something that isn’t right, sometimes it takes a fight, but we trust each other, and we resolve our difference by recognizing both our own missteps and the other person’s without blame or anger. We are compassionate help agents for each other.
In a true soul mate relationship, partners experience trust on many levels, including the mental level. You motivate each other and push each other to learn. For example, you might have a favorite book you want to share, and sharing it might be a way to share a deeper level of yourself. And the other person reading the book without prodding and them understanding the message of it brings you closer. This kind of trust shows that the other person’s judgment about you opens a door that validates your inner knowing.
In addition, the other person may have something to say to help you see what you’re missing or support you in the choices you’re making in your life. When Marvin and I met in in India, he had given up his medical practice back in Los Angeles and didn’t want to work in a busy, high-powered office. When we returned to the West Coast, I encouraged him to see some patients in a home office setting, rather than caving in to the traditional establishment expectations for his work. He did so and it worked out well, but he could have easily gone back into the high-powered rat race, which wouldn’t have been right for him. If he had been married to someone else, he may have ended up right back where he didn’t want to be. My mantra for Marvin, as well as for myself in my life and work, is: “Do what you love, and love what you do. Follow your consciousness and live with integrity to Self and those you love.”
Although sexual relationships are physical in nature and represent a deep core bond because of their reproductive connection and responsibility for survival of the species, humans have difficulty being physical if they do not feel spiritually connected as well. Many intimate relationships tolerate sexual misalignment, but the partners have a sense of dissatisfaction and disconnection. Often, if there’s sexual misalignment in a marriage, the couple talks about being best friends or roommates, but the sexual relationship doesn’t exist at a level that’s a true soul connection. Consequently, it gives rise to a certain sense of angst in both individuals. On the other hand, true sexual alignment remains a deep bond of connection that grows through the years and remains the “glue” that brings intimate and lasting love because it touches a core of Self beyond the conscious reality.
Needs may be either functional or emotional. Functional or emotional needs do not touch the deep core of an individual, whereas spiritual values are an actual requirement at the soul level of connection. Functional or emotional needs do not touch the deep core of an individual, whereas spiritual values are an actual requirement at the soul level of connection. They are more flexible than spiritual values, thus, if they misalign in an intimate relationship there tends to be conflict and fighting, but that conflict can actually be resolved. Functional and emotional needs result in frustration on a day-to-day basis such as cleaning up after one self, completing household chores, relating to family and friends, lifestyle, and health maintenance. For example, in my relationship with Marvin, we have different emotional needs for order in our environment. I like a Zen style uncluttered and sparse environment while Marvin tends to spread out so he can see everything around him. Our style is different but we have navigated easily by respecting each other’s style in our respective workspaces and by creating a home that works well for the sensibilities and emotional needs of us both. When Marvin’s clutter intrudes on my Zen style, I let him know and he either lets me clear away the clutter, or he clears it away himself. Similarly, I tolerate his clutter to the best of my tolerance and then let him know that I need him to clear away his clutter.
Desires are emotional needs but less important than functional needs. Desires fit into a category like the “icing on the cake.” It is nice to have desires fulfilled but not essential. The kinds of music you enjoy, the food you like to eat, the way you celebrate day-to-day tasks fall into this category. Marvin, for example, eats a very different diet than I do and also enjoys different music than I do. Yet we support each other’s tastes and facilitate the other person having what they like and resonate with.
We all have emotional needs and we all have spiritual needs. The difference is that emotional needs are at the ego level, driven by the world around us. Spiritual needs are derived from the Universal Consciousness, the original source of our true Self.
My first husband and I shared a loving and yet misaligned relationship. We were intellectually compatible and fairly physically compatible. Early in our marriage when we were both in school, many of our aspirations, ambitions, and values were the same, but our spiritual cores were very different, and ultimately, we realized we were on different paths. It took courage for us to say, “You know what? We might love each other, but we’re not going in the same spiritual direction.”
Ending my first marriage was among the most difficult decisions in my life because although I loved my husband I knew that compromising our deep spiritual path and sense of inner core partnership and alignment would damage both of us in terms of our long term compatibility and sense of fulfilling our deepest life goals and purpose. I could not fully be the partner he wished to have and he could not be the partner I wished to have. Thus, despite the pain and disappointment that comes with divorce, we both gained the happy fulfillment in the long run with soul mates with whom we share much more than we did together.
In terms of the hierarchy of connection, if there is a physical chemistry and connection, whether or not the soul level is there, partners will feel a connection and current of satisfaction. If the emotional level is congruent, there’s going to be alignment in terms of functional and emotional needs. If desires are there, there will be a mental alignment and seeing of eye-to-eye regarding opinions and having similar interests. However, the alignment of soul must be complete if the experiences are to be richly shared and satisfying, i.e., they must fulfill an intangible sense of self on the inner and as well as on the outer plane of reality. For example, two people might have fun shopping, going to parties, or traveling. Marvin and I enjoy different activities. Marvin goes hiking, camps our when he travels, and loves history documentaries. I never hike but study astrology, take afternoons with our grandchildren, bake almost every day. We stay tuned in to the other person and the meaning the activities have at a deeper level. I understand Marvin’s need to connect with nature and other places; he understands my love of the technical esoteric fields and how meditative baking is for me. Thus, we connect during these occasions with the shared recognition of the depth of our experiences as we keep in mind and discuss how they serve our mutually shared life purpose.
Problems arise when we get stuck. If you don’t have the courage to stand up and say, “This isn’t right for me,” you end up wasting each other’s time, when instead you could both be with the right partner. Both individuals must be willing to work together and change, or the relationship is dysfunctional. When one is unwilling to change this creates disharmony and angst, which can’t be resolved without communication. In my book, Marriage In Trouble: A Time Of Decision, I said that when you ask the question, “Is it possible for us both to change and be who we want to be with each other?” and find out the answer is “no”, it’s time to leave. Only three options exist in any relationship. You can change yourself, you can change the environment, or you can change the other person. If none of these circumstances is changeable, the relationship is not viable. Unfortunately, a lot of times when requirements aren’t being met, people remain together out of fear of loss, of not being in a relationship. Fear produces loneliness. You can be alone even when you’re in a relationship.
If you can grow in your relationship, there are ways to consciously nourish it so that it will endure. Marvin and I have been together since 1978, and I attribute much of our longevity to our shared meditation practice, to having meals together, and taking time to write down what we’re grateful for together. Through the years, Marvin and I have made it a practice to spend as much time together as our schedules allow. We co-ordinate our schedule daily and maximize our time together. Even if the only time you have together is the last half hour before you go to sleep, make sure the time you share is of the highest quality. You have to invest in your relationship if it’s the most important thing in your life. You can’t let it get away from you.
Interactions with another person are energetic or nonverbal as well as physical and mental. In other words, a lot of what happens between people is intangible. Recognize that relationships operate at a very deep level of the unconscious. In any activity this unconscious depth of meaning is a key to a relationship’s success. Without it, ultimately, the experience will have very different meaning for the two of you and could result in choosing different directions in terms of activities you involve yourselves in and how you do so.
Consider the model I just spoke of in terms of a soul relationship. Think about what creates a soul relationship when two people are on the same path. By definition, the path that you are on serves your life’s purpose encompassing an integrated part of you that is not limited by your personality characteristics. On the Tree of Life, the more in touch you are with your Self, the clearer you can be with whether or not something is congruent for you. More importantly, using the Tree of Life to show the path of individuation or evolution of consciousness indicates that movement beyond personality issues requires you to have courage. Courage means that you have to express through communication who you are, what you do, what you value, what your needs are, and express all of your self-awareness not only internally, in your inner knowing and listening, but also externally and by being in an environment that’s completely congruent with your deep Self.
A key question to ask yourself in any situation or relationship is: “What do I want to have happen?” Thus, if what you manifest in the outer world is not what you want to have happen, especially in a relationship, ask what is misaligned. This dissonance between what you want to have happen and what is happening is likely to challenge you. Thus, you may want to self-reflect on how you can shift the situation to be more harmonious and congruent for you. This process leads to toward inner clarity and self-awareness. Knowing your Self requires the courage to communicate what you know about yourself so you live congruently from an inner level in all communication. Without courage, you may find yourself unable to extricate yourself from situations or people who cause you internal dissonance. There must be nothing in the way of self-expression and honesty in order for relationships to be congruent on all levels.
It’s only when you get down to the level of sharing and expressing your deepest needs that you can manifest what you want so you feel at ease internally and in terms of how you relate to other people. If communication is solely internal, and you know that your relationships are dissonant with your Self’s purpose, you are likely to experience inner disharmony, dislike, dissatisfaction, and low self esteem; that is, all of the psychological symptoms I find common in my work as a clinical psychologist. But it really is about communication. Communication that is free of interpretations and focuses on the words the speaker uses and their actual meaning to that person is called Clean Communication. Clean communication stops projection.
Listening when the other person expresses a problem, determining who is responsible for the problem, and letting them own their problems and perspective, builds skills that are key in any relationship. Saying, “And that’s like what?” when your partner brings up an issue allows them to have their own metaphor and keeps you from making assumptions about their meanings and what they’re really trying to say. Problems really need to be seen as mutual, rather than belonging to one person or another, although one individual may notice that an agreement has been breached. It’s all about communicating respectfully and making space in the relationship for different perspectives and taking responsibility for your own feelings. It comes back to self-awareness.
Even with a state of inner focus and with the intention to communicate clearly most people find they lack ease and flow. This is because they are not operating from a place of higher awareness. Relationships are the true workroom of self-clarity. The clearer you are as to where your relationship has harmonies and disharmonies, where they have congruities and incongruities, the more communicative you and your partner can be with each other and with your selves. And you can help each other along the way.
There are ways to get clarity if you’re struggling with knowing your inner truth. Ask yourself, “What do I know about my spiritual self now?” And when you receive that answer, ask it again. “And from this place here, what do I know about my spiritual core now? What kinds of things in my life have driven me? What am I passionate about? What do I love doing?” This is one of the most important things you can ever do. It’s easier to be in a healthy relationship when you already know and love yourself.
The Paths of Intelligence in the Tree of Life show this dynamic and that union and discernment have to be present and evolve in consciousness in order to have Wholeness on the physical level. In Tarot, this dynamic is shown by the Judgment Card (Tarot Key 20) and by the Moon Card (Tarot Key 18) representative of the 31st Path of Intelligence, the Path of Perpetual Intelligence and the 29th Path, the Path of Corporal Intelligence. In manifesting life, these paths have to do with eating, with being in certain environments, utilizing one’s subtle senses, and manifesting instincts in the real world in a way that puts you only in situations that are right for you, and only in a way that you can live from a place of consciousness in accordance with your Higher Self.
All of these elements of Relationship show in the Sacred Synthesis System that I’ve developed. If you finally discern your true feelings, they are subject to misjudgment and/or misidentification if you’re not in harmony with your deepest self. Usually, disharmony doesn’t have to do with the external environment; rather it has to do with an internal choice. You can’t follow instinct without knowing that your higher Self is involved in the process. This serves the higher purpose of experience.
However, all relationships we experience can provide value. For example, recently I set up an appointment with my hairdresser and planned my day so I wouldn’t have to wait. However, when I arrived at my appointed time, my hairdresser himself was delayed, so I had to wait after all. Although I was momentarily disappointed, I trusted a higher purpose in the wait. I had time to read while I enjoyed the energy of the salon’s quiet empty room and when he was ready for me, my hairdresser gave me a complimentary special hair treatment. It was an opportunity for me to be alone with him in his space; I was alone to feel the energy of that time and place, and when he walked in there, we connected very deeply. In fact, at the end of our time together, he was amazed that for the first time he had no pain while working on me. Previously, he’d been in constant pain from back problems. During our time together, we talked about healing modalities, about medicines he could take, about stress in his life, and about the etiology of his problem. I was there with him serving higher consciousness and everyone who I came into contact with and with whom I made contact felt connected.
Had I been annoyed at his tardiness without trusting it as being and serving a higher good, I might have reacted and said, “This isn’t right for me to be here. My hairdresser is disrespectful.” Instead, I relaxed and opened my heart to the moment just as it was. In fact, I made connections that day that may in fact manifest some very nice results for other people, all because I was willing to trust in the moment and allow it to unfold and reveal its inner beauty to me. The seeds that were planted are yet to mature, but the connections have been set in motion, and I am grateful that I was present and allowed them to happen because I remained open to the brilliance of relationship.
In fact, this energy continued even when I left the salon. As I left the salon, my hairdresser told me to pull out of the parking garage and go back in to take advantage of the free parking. I followed his advice and had another interesting encounter with a complete stranger who shared her energy with me the same way I had been sharing it with other people. I decided to go to a different garage, also free, but one that was unfamiliar to me. I emerged from the parking garage, which was half a block away from the restaurant at which I was meeting a friend. I was disoriented because the street exit I’d taken led to an unfamiliar location.
I looked around as I was getting my bearings, and a woman walking down the sidewalk stopped and said to me, “What Street are you looking for?” She had noticed my confusion about where I was, and she offered her guidance to me. I felt this as an orchestration from a higher level and it showed me how the tree of life operates in relationships.
As I started to respond, I actually saw the restaurant. I said, “Oh, I see it. The restaurant I’m going to is just there.” As we walked to the corner together, I thanked her for being so kind as to guide me, and we had a nice, happy connection. A relationship of the least intimate kind was formed, but it was a brief and fleeting connection. We have thousands of these types of interactions with strangers throughout our lives. Their outcomes are determined by the way we respond energetically in each moment.
The puzzle of universal orchestration through relationships is only confusing until we allow it to unfold. We create the puzzle by resisting reality, as it exists in the moment. Trusting in a Universal orchestration enhances the our experience of being in relationship because we become part of the flow of this energy.