Relationships at the Core of All We Experience
Despite the countless number of books, seminars and years of work towards finding a better way to experience relationships, the relationship struggle is still on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s heart. Relationships are at the core of all that we experience in this world. Every thought, feeling, word and action is motivated by our relationship with God, ourselves, or someone else. A fulfilling life comes from having fulfilling relationships in mind, body and spirit.
The topic of relationships is a major theme in A Course In Miracles. Why would a book on Spiritual psychology and the attainment of Inner Peace focus on relationships? The answer lies in the fact that our salvation, peace of mind, and experience of unconditional love all depend on having healed, healthy, empowering relationships. A Course in Miracles explains that to achieve this you must first find at least a part of your True Self. Then, you must be willing to relate to people without attaching or projecting your past issues, experiences and perceptions onto them.
You can have joyful, passionate relationships. However, the measure of what you receive of these is proportionate to the measure you are willing and able to give. Further, the greater the intention of what you are willing to offer and experience in the relationship, the greater the probable outcome. If you are only putting in limiting goals such as physical comfort, having someone to make you feel better, someone to distract you from your own internal issues, etc.… then what you have is the blueprint of an unhealthy, codependent relationship and this is what you will see and experience in the end.
The Three Stages of Relationship
How do you know if this includes you? It helps if you get to know yourself and your intentions, as well as to become aware of which stage of relationship you are in, which are as follows:
The first stage of relationship is typical, human love or attraction. Typically, this is where all seems to be going well and you are mostly accentuating and experiencing the “positive” aspects of one another. In this stage you probably spend a fair bit of time thinking about the other person and how good they make you feel. Most of your time is spent on positive, agreeable conversations; making love; nice dinners and so forth. This stage is commonly referred to as the “honeymoon stage,” but, as we all know, there comes a point where “the honeymoon is over.”
The second stage is when “reality” starts to set in. Your ego now calls for retribution for the momentary bliss. It’s as though your ego was only renting you the seemingly good time and now arrives for payment. Of course, you have no idea what’s going on! You were possibly too busy gazing into each other’s eyes to notice the growing sense of discomfort that is now becoming too great to ignore. Now the relationship will be tested and it will take one of two directions. You will either part ways, move on, and put the blame on each other (which is typical) OR you will hang in there and commit to healing (which is very rare).
If you allow the issues that begin to arise between the two of you to take priority over taking responsibility and the discovery of healing and unconditional love, then you’ll know that you were probably not really in the relationship for all the wonderful reasons you thought. Instead of it merely being the great relationship you assumed it to be OR the relationship that you thought was great but ended up being someone else that “fooled you,” you might not take time to recognize that perhaps you were there to expose some of your personal issues. These issues might be related to old, core wounds or unhealed issues from past relationships. Whatever the case, the painful effect will tempt you to give up and cease trusting in love and in people. This rude awakening might make you doubt your ability to discover and experience your True Self and the True Self of another. Despite this, however, if you are willing to be/remain courageous, authentic, and responsible, you will find that you are indeed capable of creating and maintaining healthy, fulfilling relationships. If love is truly your goal, then you will usually find the strength and clarity to push ahead to become and discover the love you sought.
During this stage, be careful not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone puts themselves through these stages and tests at some time or another. Rarely do we hear about someone who is experiencing a relationship that is not somehow founded on unhealed issues from the past or playing out our expectations and old patterns. But, if we press forward and learn what we were there to learn, it will not matter whether or not we stay in the relationship, what will matter is that we will choose to grow from the experience and it is only by making this healthy decision that we can move on to the third stage of relationship. To choose anything else besides learning and healing can only result in re-creating more of the same lessons and traumas in the future.
The third stage of relationship is where you have made it your priority to becoming a whole being. Love-Divine is now your goal, and responsibility and forgiveness are your guides. With such powerful allies, it’s nearly impossible to fail! You might still have your weak moments where you allow the ego to side-track you–which it will attempt to do every step along the way. But fortunately, as you grow healthier and learn to pace the development of your relationships, you will attract and develop healthier partners who are willing and able to share the journey in a healthy and responsible way. With two or more joined in one focus of love, you certainly increase the potential of a joyful outcome and decrease the amount of work involved. However, this does not mean that you “need” the other person to agree with your chosen goal, as this would still imply codependence and “conditional” love. Instead, if they refuse to walk the path of empowerment and forgiveness, you can more easily allow them to be and to move on. They will take their issues and lessons with them, as will you or anyone else who refuses to walk the path of healing.