Getting Real

What is Spirituality?

How are we to understand the soul?

What is the purpose of Spirituality?

What do we need to live Spiritually?

What does Spirituality Involve?

Why is it we fail?

What is going on in my life?

What kind of work should I be doing?

What I am supposed to be doing?

Will I ever be Happy?

Will I ever meet someone?

Where are we all heading?

             The DK Foundation

                             Getting Real 11

                    Will I ever meet someone?  

   

This question is frequently asked in a spirit of desperation, as if a personal relationship is the very least for which we can ask, the basic minimum for a tolerable life, a safe haven in life’s flux. This unwillingness to see our relationships as part of the developmental process and subject to its workings, is the cause of a lot of suffering at this time.

The idea and experience of relationship are central to the development of consciousness in humanity. Through our relationships with each other and the other kingdoms in nature, we come to understand ourselves, and our place and function in the larger scheme. This learning takes place very slowly and through infinite pain as each relationship, like a polished surface, reveals to us the truth of ourselves. We spend a long long time in denial of what these mirrors are disclosing.

Through our relationships we come to understand, first, the relationship of the personality to the soul, and then to realise that there are not two but only one, the soul of humanity which is a reflection of the divine soul.

This idea of the two merging into one exists in consciousness and expectation and its lower expressions are continually emphasised by social conditioning. The social mores emphasises the practicality and propriety of imposing a structure and a degree of longevity upon the biological and psychological urge to mate; a focus on sex and love in the arts and the media stimulates the desire to merge physically and emotionally with another; the language of romance stimulates the yearning to merge emotionally and spiritually with another; and, more recently,  New Age literature has encouraged us to expect to qualify for that mark of spiritual distinction and God’s favour our soul mate, a concept loaded with sentimentality and yearning.

When the question ‘Will I ever meet someone?’ is asked what is meant by ‘someone’ is, almost always, a partner who will be committed for life, supportive, loving and sexually attractive and who will supply the happy ending. The most selfish and ungiving people always expect the most from a relationship And few people who ask this question have any idea or, indeed, interest in what they are going to do with their lives after this show-stopping encounter, for such is the power invested by expectation in this ideal that the relationship becomes an end in itself. This is central to the problem that this ideal is causing us

What has not yet entered consciousness to any meaningful degree is the basic fact about relationships: that they are learning experiences and that learning experiences change people. No kind of social or cultural conditioning can change that basic feature of relationship. They are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

The ideas, which are dominant in our societies at any one time, can either disclose the essential nature of relationship or conceal it. They can encourage people to accept it or, for a range of sociological reasons, encourage them to deny it.

When it is played down, for whatever reason, people in relationships of all kinds have to cope the best they can with the effects of those changes which appear aberrant because they are a threat to the continuity of the relationship; when it is highlighted, as is the case at the moment, acceptance of the facts usually vies with the pain and rage of disappointed expectation. The head and the heart are in conflict and it is our emotional impulses, rather than our common sense, that makes us strive to protect the romantic ideal from assault by the facts of the matter. The people yearning for this ‘someone’ are usually tormenting themselves with the assumption that this kind of relationship is what most other people seem to have.

We can assume that the facts are reflected in the divorce statistics. Do they bear out this assumption? To anyone not wanting a reason to feel sorry for himself, they will suggest that increasing numbers are counting the cost of commitment and finding it too high. And when it comes to the state of play amongst spiritually aware people, the facts are unavoidable: self-growth does not promote stability in personal relationships and no amount of talking about love and soul mates seems to be able to alter this state of affairs.

The whole issue of personal relationships is wrapped up in illusion, and distorted by yearning and self-pity and we are setting up ourselves and our children to suffer from the consequences of this lack of realism. We are caught up in trying to make relationships, the agents of change, serve the purposes of consolidation at a time when the forces of change are very active in our Western societies, and at a time when by embracing the idea of spiritual development, increasing numbers of people are inviting in change. It is an uncomfortable and ultimately unsustainable position to be in and the result is pain.

In the language of romance, true love lasts forever. Significantly, after consummation, a shutter is slammed down quickly to end the fairy story and, thereby, to keep out change, so that the blessed couple can live happily ever after and so we need not trouble our imaginations of how precisely they will fill their time.

It is a testimony to the continuing attractiveness of that ideal to us that despite the scale of the social changes which have been in evidence in the post War era, we have essentially the same expectations of intimate and familial relationships as our parents, even though there is little else about their world and their values that we strive to preserve. Longevity and stability are still considered the criteria for true love. They confer validity. The more spiritually minded talk about growing together but this does not embrace in any meaningful way the concept of growing apart. Longevity is still the criterion and the expectation; and the break down of a relationship is still seen as failure of love. Few Old Testaments prophets can match the spiritually-minded for severity when it comes to heaping judgment on transgressing partners.

The traditional expectations of relationship are not suitable for the present time with its emphasis upon quality of life, individuality, self-determinism and growth because it reduces our willingness and capacity to compromise.  These criteria do not provide the foundations for enduring relationships and to persist with the expectations of an earlier age when the focus was upon material security, is quite simply irresponsibility, as would be the case if a building were to be constructed upon unstable foundations.

Personal relationships have ever been the most effective ways of learning responsibility and compassion and this will not change for as long as humanity is evolving consciousness. What is required is a greater wisdom in understanding what, in the circumstances and conditions of the present time, are responsible and compassionate attitudes. We have to become more intelligent in our understanding of where responsibility lies in relationships - now, in the circumstances of today when n the West, at least, we have moved on from the point where the family underwrites survival and when our desires and emotional states are so potent and our willingness to compromise so seriously reduced by our awareness of our individuality and potential.

Indeed, our Western societies have come to accommodate and are organised to deal with serial monogamy. It is we ourselves, at the personal level, who indulge ourselves with the romantic ideal and traditional expectations of enduring relationships, holding out for a triumph of hope over experience, and producing children who stand to be more traumatised by their parents emotional reactions to the failure of their frequently unrealistic expectations than by the fact of their separation.

At the very least, we need to be more aware of the emotional consequences of living together in disharmony, for ourselves and for our children. It is a form of laziness and helplessness  - and, yes, irresponsibility - which makes us cling onto old ideals, which are inadequate to requirement. No adult and no child can benefit from living in an atmosphere, which is poisoned, whether it is with hatred and disrespect or grief and disappointment.

We have a responsibility to kill off the romantic ideal including its more recent offshoot, soul mates, and replace it with something more suitable for the age in which we live, a model which can accommodate the desire to merge and mate but which can also accommodate individuality and which is responsible enough to acknowledges that the purpose of relationship is change. We have to cut our losses. The romantic ideal is attractive.  It has done much in the past to put a greater respect and regard into male/female relationships. In its hay day, as part of the Chivalrous Code, it was a reflection of spiritual developments, specifically the growth of mysticism, in medieval Europe. But now, owing to the arrival of the concepts of individuality, personal development and sexual equality, it is getting us into trouble.

Relationships, the agents of growth, have a host of functions to fulfill, functions which reflect the needs of the time and which are built into the design of the personalities coming into incarnation at any one time. The role of relationships, familial and intimate and those of friendship, are described by the horoscope. The relationships do not exist outside the design for the life and many, many people, for a range of reasons, will not share their lives either materially or physically with another. It is conditioning and expectation, which turns this perfectly legitimate developmental situation into aberration and misfortune and increases suffering and despair, for adults and for the children they produce.

By and large, populist New Age thinking has lost its nerve when it comes to relationships, seeming unable to come to terms with the fact that the very development which they are supporting may be inimical to stability in relationships, or that intimate and familial relationships themselves are conditions beyond which we move in the course of our development. So often a lasting relationship is offered out as the reward for successfully following whatever route to self-development is being recommended. Indeed a lasting relationship secured by a positive and loving attitude and existing in some way outside time is frequently presented as the raison d’etre of self-development.

Positivity and lovingness do not, of themselves, confer stability. They are more likely, in fact, to enable the relationship to achieve what it is designed to achieve by encouraging each party to be true to self; and this may or may not support longevity and stability. Love exists outside time; relationships do not and cannot because our personalities do not exist outside time.

All past life connections are revived in new personalities with different characteristics and different developmental requirements: what has been is the point of departure for the relationship, not its destination. Karmic relationships exist and Soul mates do exist and their function is to help the other grow with all the change and challenge that involves, not to settle into some kind of emotional freeze frame. A soul mate is not granted as a reward for spiritual attainment. Soul mates meet because their individual development can benefit from such an association and their karma permits it. Their relationship provides the conditions and circumstances with which they have to work and through which they have to steer their individual lives. It is not an invitation to end the story, nor is it an easy assignment at a time when we are so aware of individual potential.

There are others of us - millions of us at this time - who have a developmental need to become more self-sufficient, more aware of our individuality and more independent of others. For those of us with this requirement, relationships and the ending of relationships are frequently the way by which they come to this greater personal autonomy, self-definition and emotional control.

People can hold down conditions, which are contrary to their true natures precisely because they are unaware. This state of affairs has protected the enduring marriage throughout history, but the concepts of individuality and growth are moving us on from this An intelligent person will find out what is the function of relationships in his life before he buys into the romantic ideal or even the more practical traditional expectations of relationships involving commitment.

And let us all get real. Our fantasies, and the disappointment and bitterness arising from them, are crippling lives. It is not enduring relationships, which protect and increase love; it is the understanding of the value of experience and showing responsibility and respect for each other on whatever terms we meet.

 
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