“The Spirituality Opportunity in Relationships” from Pillars of Awesome Relationships.
In earlier posts here and on my Empower Network Blog, I haven’t mentioned spirituality in relationships as much. Now I want to illuminate the way that relationships help our path of spirituality unfold as well as how our spirituality helps our relationships to become closer and more intimate.
First a review, The Second Pillar of Awesome Relationships is Bright Lights Cast Dark Shadows. In a previous post, we talked about how the bright light of love causes any unhealed hurt inside to show up as a very dark shadow in our own hearts and in our relationships. Those dark shadows do not feel good; we feel threatened, hurt, alienated, disrespected, resentful, scared, or unappreciated in our relationships. These feelings do not feel like the wonderful love of the relationships that has brought their darkness to light. When these feelings come up in our relationships, we have to feel them and share them with our beloved in order to heal them. When we allow ourselves to feel this hurt, and combine it with the opening that love brings, then love can begin to heal the hurt (as long as we have the Awesome Communication skills covered in this book: Pillars of Awesome Relationships.)
Relationships as a Spiritual Practice
The path to God is through enlightenment. What keeps us from being enlightened is our own unresolved pain. Did you hear that? I am going to yell it at you: WHAT KEEPS US FROM BEING ENLIGHTENED IS OUR OWN UNRESOLVED PAIN! We are enlightened to the degree to which we are open and free from emotional conflict. By paying attention to how we feel in relationships, we can notice when we are closed down or closed off.
When our awareness is open in relationships, we are susceptible to feeling any unhealed hurt we have buried inside and we are also susceptible to feeling the love of our beloved, the love of family and friends, and the love of God. When we are closed in relationships, the part of us that is not fully open is not receptive to all of what is available at each moment—including God’s presence and the opportunity to feel God’s blessing in an acute and personal way. So, it is only when our awareness is fully open that we can become aware of the full effect of God’s presence and God’s love in our lives.
It is also true that intimacy is facilitated by openness and it is hindered by being closed off. With this perspective, it is easy to see how creating emotional intimacy does the same things necessary to create spiritual enlightenment. Relationships are the media in which we act out and experience most of our spirituality. Most of how we experience of our
spirituality is accomplished without our awareness of the spiritual significance of what is happening. Most of us are not aware of the spiritual significance of our daily interactions in our relationships.
Do relationships serve a spiritual need or does our spiritual growth facilitate greater relationships?
Both and neither: No separation exists between the two. The closer we want to get, the more we have to heal. The more we heal, the closer we get to each other and to God. Relationships need to serve as a practice on our spiritual path and at the same time our spiritual walk needs to support healthy emotional connections. How does this work?
Process of Relating as a Spiritual Practice
L > O > V > H > A = B
Love/Attraction à Opening à Vulnerability à Healing à Authenticity = Blessing
We start off feeling love and attraction. The feelings of love lead to us opening our hearts in relationships. When we begin to open, we have to either become vulnerable or stop getting closer. If we are willing to become vulnerable, we must heal the unresolved hurts that emerge from the opening the relationships create in our vulnerable heart. After healing, we are capable of being more authentic in our relationships – more of who we truly are. More authenticity leads to our ability to feel God’s blessing in our lives. The most common stumbling block to intimacy and spiritual blessing is vulnerability.
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