June 30, 2014

How to Have True Freedom in a Relationship.


I can’t imagine a virtue more sought after than freedom.

Granted, there are many virtues to choose from such as loyalty, honesty, truthfulness, respect, integrity, fidelity, peacefulness and being just; each one with their unique merit.

Yet, none compare to freedom.

Freedom clears debts.

Freedom is the open space in which true love can prevail.

It is beautiful in its own right. Wars are fought in its honor.

The greatest battle for freedom does not happen between conflicted countries.

I believe it happens in the hearts of those who dare to fall in love.

Common discourse between adults includes complaints about how hard life is. “The old ways are no more.” “Kids these days haven’t a clue with their drugs, their music and their new-fangled devices.”

If babies knew that the rest of life was going to replicate passing through the birthing canal and birth were voluntary, we would not have a human race.

Alas, we do. We fall in love. We fight for freedom.

It is inherent in our species to gravitate towards pleasure and avoid pain. That concept was good enough to form an entire genera of psychology called Object Relations; so I am going to go with it. The point being that feeling free feels good.

Most of us believe in the myth that romantic relationships will set us free. It will obstruct loneliness. It will grant wishes. It will lift us up where we belong—where eagles fly.

And no amount of cynicism or reality can destroy this myth because we need it.

We need it because it relaxes our anxious bodies and minds. It gives continuity in the face of uncertainty.

Romance holds the promise of forever.

Romance soothes the torment that life can deliver.

We all attempt to visit Pleasure Island on our road to becoming real boys and girls. Yet no man is an island and neither is romance.

Romance is but a myth created because in order to happily exist every human animal must feel a sense of stability.

That is to say, humans are animals and therefore governed by the laws of the animal kingdom.

We fight to survive. Our spirits thrive best before birth and after death—our lives are but a small contribution to the circle of life, to the never ending always changing energy field.

But, before we get too Stephen Hawking on this, let me get to the point.

Relationships set us free if we are willing to die inside of them.

We must stop the pursuit of acquisition of power from another and allow relationship to be the place we give. Yet we war against death. It takes the gentle yet powerful touch of romance to guide us beyond self-gratification.

Romance leads us down the primrose path.

Romance is but a tool of seduction. It is an initial invitation that can be clambered after in desperation, guarded against or sweetly surrendered to.

The freedom a young man experiences before taking a wife is raw freedom at best. It is unrefined. It is casual. And for some, it is good enough. There is pride in the bachelor lifestyle—at least on the surface.

But, there is another truth available to all that dare to pass through the threshold of romance into intimate relationship.

Romance may get you naked, sexed up and into bed but intimate relationship will knock your socks off. True power is found in intimate moments. Yet, those moments must be earned through experience.

There is a common truth spoken in today’s romantic culture that concludes, “For a relationship to be healthy the persons in it must be healthy.”

Self-empowerment is only a fraction of a healthy relationship. And how do you suppose a person becomes empowered?


Sitting on a mountain in a year-long meditation and getting struck by lightning might do it.

Surrendering all wants or needs could do it.

But, for the common amongst us, relationship does do it.

Some people fear intimate relationship because they will, “lose themselves.”

This is accurate.  In a relationship, the other party will reflect back strengths and weaknesses. It is inevitable that the process of reflection will change a person.

Yet we fear change.

It is commonplace to believe it right and just to “never show weakness.” This notion sets an unrealistic precedent that squelches expression. This type of subversion promotes believing one’s own bullshit.

Power comes from not only facing fears but embracing fears.

Children believe in the boogieman and fear the dark. So do adults. But the dark we fear are not the shadows that surround; they are the shadow that lie within.

The famous psychologist Carl Jung suggested that the human psyche is composed of archetypes. An archetype is much like a genera of personality or set of behaviors that lend to a particular stereotype. The shadow is an archetype that houses hidden motivations, instinctual reactions and suppressed desires.

Everything has a shadow—especially our bright sides.

The brilliance of romance most certainly lures us in like moth to flame. It alludes to the promise of forever which panders to our survival instincts that seek to quell the fear of mortality. Intimate relationship will gobble up raw freedom—the freedom of the commitment-phobic and the perpetual adolescent.

Fear makes a person near sighted so that they war against windmills like Don Quixote. All limitations are self-imposed and most of the battles that get fought are between heart and mind. But, if the battle that is fought is in the direction of surrender a new reward will be arrived upon—true freedom.

True freedom in relationship requires that two parties become one flesh. I becomes we. Integration replaces separation.Then this singular nature gives way to spacious inclusion of both dark and light.

I’ve been in love with a man who wars against the pains of commitment for he has not yet experienced the bounty of dying to the light.

He is still lingers in his own shadow lands. He is learning to love what he fears.

Moreover, when he makes choices I would not make for myself, it feels like those choices are being done to me. They feel violating. Yet, I go on loving him.

I do so because I realize that there is a metaphysical bond that has been created through sex rendering us one flesh. Even if I wanted to, I can’t leave him. He is a part of me. He is my shadow.

He brings into awareness what I would otherwise hide from myself.

When our shadows reveal themselves in the form of our partners, it can hurt.

And just as power comes from embracing fear/shadow so does power come from embracing hurt. True freedom is experienced in relationship when we remember that we are not separate from our partner nor the world. True freedom is surrendering to what you signed up for.

Your relationship and the unfolding events therein are not an accident. You are a powerful creator.

The universe is in your veins.

In simple terms, fear of commitment, reluctance to proceed, hesitation and the like do not ultimately preserve freedom. They delay it. Freedom comes through inclusion. It is oneness. And oneness cannot be realized unless two become one flesh and each party remembers the simple phrase, “Me too.”



How I Found Freedom in Emptiness.


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Editor: Travis May

Photos: Wiki Commons

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