Another quote with a similar feeling comes from Swami Rudrananda known as Rudy, a German teacher who was a student of the Indian saint Swami Nityananda , further describing how to work with neurosis in this way:. I want to acknowledge my own imperfection, I want to understand that that is part of the endlessness of my growth. Out of the raw material you break down [here he is also speaking of the charnel ground] you grow and absorb the energy.
You work yourself from inside out, tearing out, destroying, and finding a sense of nothingness.
That nothingness allows God to come in. But this somethingness—ego and prejudices and limitations—is your raw material.
Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible
If you process and refine it all, you can open consciously. Rudy suggests that we have to acknowledge and embrace our imperfections as spiritual path; therefore grand spiritual pretensions miss the point.
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All the delusions of romantic love follow from there. Sooner or later relationship brings us to our knees, forcing us to confront the raw and rugged mess of our mental and emotional life. This then is the meaning of the charnel ground: we have to be willing to come apart at the seams, to be dismantled, to let our old ego structures fall apart before we can begin to embody sparks of the essential perfection at the core of our nature. To evolve spiritually, we have to allow these unworked, hidden, messy parts of ourselves to come to the surface.
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Rather, it provides the indispensable grist that makes alchemical transformation possible. This is not a pessimistic view, because some kind of breakdown is usually necessary before any significant breakthrough into new ways of living not so encumbered by past conditioning. Yet no one wants to be dismantled. So there are two main ways that people try to abort this process: running away and spiritual bypassing. The problem with running away when a relationship becomes difficult is that we are also turning away from ourselves and our potential breakthroughs.
The more we flee our shadowy places, the more they fester in the dark and the more haunted this house becomes. And the more haunted it becomes, the more it terrifies us. This is a vicious circle that keeps us cut off from and afraid of ourselves. A second way to flee from the challenges of relationship is through spiritual bypassing—using spiritual ideas or practices to avoid or prematurely transcend relative human needs, feelings, personal issues, and developmental tasks. Advaita-speak can be very tricky, for it uses absolute truth to disparage relative truth, emptiness to devalue form, and oneness to belittle individuality.
By suggesting that only absolute love or being-to-being union is real, these teachers equate the person-to-person element necessary for a transformative love bond with mere ego or illusion. Yet personal intimacy is a spark flashing out across the divide between self and other. It depends on strong individuals making warm, personal contact, mutually sparking and enriching each other with complementary qualities and energies.
A deep, intimate connection inevitably brings up all our love wounds from the past. This is why many spiritual practitioners try to remain above the fray and impersonal in their relationships—so as not to face and deal with their own unhealed relational wounds. But this keeps the wounding unconscious, causing it to emerge as compulsive shadowy behavior or to dry up passion and juice.
Intimate personal connecting cannot evolve unless the old love wounds that block it are faced, acknowledged, and freed up. As wonderful as moments of being-to-being union can be, the alchemical play of joining heaven and earth in a relationship involves a more subtle and beautiful dance: not losing our twoness in the oneness , while not losing our oneness in the twoness. Personal intimacy evolves out of the dancing-ground of dualities: personal and trans-personal, known and unknown, death and birth, openness and karmic limitation, clarity and chaos, hellish clashes and heavenly bliss.
The clash and interplay of these polarities, with all its shocks and surprises, provides a ferment that allows for deep transformation through forcing us to keep waking up, dropping preconceptions, expanding our sense of who we are, and learning to work with all the different elements of our humanity.
We finally find someone we really love and then the most difficult things start emerging: fear, distrust, unlove, disillusion, resentment, blame, confusion. For love can only heal what presents itself to be healed. If our woundedness remains hidden, it cannot be healed; the best in us cannot come out unless the worst comes out as well. So instead of constructing a fancy hotel in the charnel ground, we must be willing to come down and relate to the mess on the ground.
We need to regard the wounded heart as a place of spiritual practice. This kind of practice means engaging with our relational fears and vulnerabilities in a deliberate, conscious way, like the yogis of old who faced down the goblins and demons of the charnel grounds. The only way to be free of our conditioned patterns is through a full, conscious experience of them.
Having the bhoga of your karma allows you to digest unresolved, undigested elements of your emotional experience from the past that are still affecting you: how you were hurt or overwhelmed, how you defended yourself against that by shutting down, how you constructed walls to keep people out. Then you see how acknowledging this affects you and what comes from doing that.
Bhoga involves learning to ride the waves of our feelings rather than becoming submerged in them. This requires mindfulness of where we are in the cycle of emotional experience.
What is enlightenment? How to become enlightened
A skilled surfer is aware of exactly where he is on a wave, whereas an unskilled surfer winds up getting creamed. By their very nature, waves are rising fifty percent of the time and falling the other fifty percent. Instead of fighting the down cycles of our emotional life, we need to learn to keep our seat on the surfboard and have a full, conscious experience of going down.
While the highlands of absolute love are most beautiful, few but the saints can spend all their time there. Relative human love is not a peak experience nor a steady state. It wavers, fluctuates, waxes and wanes, changes shape and intensity, soars and crashes. Yet though relationships participate fully in the law of impermanence, the good news is that this allows new surprises and revelations to keep arising endlessly. Relating to the full spectrum of our experience in the relational charnel ground leads to a self-acceptance that expands our capacity to embrace and accept others as well.
Usually our view of our partners is colored by what they do for us—how they make us look or feel good, or not—and shaped by our internal movie about what we want them to be. This of course makes it hard to see them for who they are in their own right.
HOLY F*CK: RELATIONSHIPS AS A PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT - the Numinous
Falling in love also feels great because we project all our hopes and dreams on our lover. We are sure we will remain in love forever. Stage 2: Becoming a Couple. At this stage our love deepens and we join together as a couple. This is a time when we have children and raise them. We feel more bonded with our partner.
We feel warm and cuddly. We feel safe, cared for, cherished, and appreciated. We feel close and protected.
We often think this is the ultimate level of love and we expect it to go on forever. We are often blind-sided by the turn-around of stage 3. Stage 3: Disillusionment. No one told us about Stage 3 in understanding love and marriage. Stage 3 is where my first two marriages collapsed and for too many relationships this is the beginning of the end. This is a period where things begin to feel bad. It can occur slowly or can feel like a switch is flipped and everything goes wrong. Little things begin to bother us. We feel less loved and cared for.
We feel trapped and want to escape. We become more irritable and angry or hurt and withdrawn. We may stay busy at work or with the family, but the dissatisfactions mount. We wonder where the person we once loved has gone. This is a time we often get sick in body, mind, and soul.