I wrote this article in the midst of my most recent relationship.
This was probably my first official “conscious relationship” and I survived to tell the tale.
In fact, I thrived.
It was one of the most painful and amazing adventures that I have ever been on and I would like to humbly share my insights on “conscious relating” and some keys to making it work.
What makes a relationship “conscious?”
A relationship is conscious when both participants intend (although they might not always get there) to stay aware, open and uncompromisingly authentic at all times, and they agree to use the relationship to grow, learn, heal and evolve together.
This sounds great in theory (and, of course, it is great—I wouldn’t want it any other way!) but conscious relating isn’t a walk in the park. Making a commitment to use a relationship for growth is kind of like giving an open invitation for all your “stuff” to show up in the context of your relating.
In a way, conscious relationship is the mutual dedication to create a container, a safe space, and for everything that arises in that space to be met with honesty and love.
In a conscious relationship, there is no place for our old masks, games and pretenses.
It is the container for you to “show up,” radically un-armored, perhaps for the first time. Your partner becomes your mirror and you may not always like what you see.
For example, I prefer to appear an easy going person, someone who consistently has it all together, and is not at all needy.
But really, I am not.
I may be able to hold this vision of myself as a single girl “in control’ of her life,” but in relationships I can be uptight, super-duper insecure and at times, needy.
Conscious relationship requires letting go of “how it should be,” “how he should be,” “how I should be” and “how all this should look.”
Conscious relating is one big almighty letting go!
It asks us to relinquish control—to expose exactly that which we would rather not expose (yikes!). It consistently demands us to get out of our comfort zones and put all our cards on the table.
And this is tough.
We are so great at creating masks and upholding intricate defense systems.
Control feels safe, the fantasy is easier than reality.
It is friggin’ hard having all your “stuff” come up. It is even harder to have it witnessed. Conscious relating took me to places inside of myself which were incredibly raw. It took me straight to the core of my deepest fears and insecurities.
It was challenging, and yet incredibly healing.
If a relationship is conscious, it will probably reveal that we are wounded on many levels, blind in many ways and rigid in lots of others.
That is definitely what my partner and I found, with both of us poking each other’s tender parts, both consciously and unconsciously, all along the way. If we were not dedicated to truth and growth it would have been a total mess, but somehow we got through it.
I bow down to this man because he never “checked out” and hid from a process. Neither of us were stuck on hiding, protecting or throwing our stuff at each other.
Somehow we managed to move through what came up and arrive somewhere deeper and truer, every time. There is no way we could have navigated the rocky terrain without the ability to self-reflect and own our stuff.
Here are three super keys to creating a successful conscious relationship.
1. The ability to own our stuff.
If we don’t own our stuff, we may find ourselves getting triggered, hurt or upset, and blaming our partners, the circumstances or whatever else we like to blame.
Basically, we project the issue outwards and in the process, we bypass getting to know the gritty reality of our stuff or learning about how this pattern works or where it came from.
If you can’t own it, you can’t heal it, and you will probably keep on carrying your stuff around with you, ready to project it onto the next person.
Owning our stuff requires us to be aware of our stuff.
For this we must be ready and willing to explore ourselves and take responsibility for the way we act and feel.
This is the prerequisite for conscious relating. Once you are in touch with what is really going on for you, you can speak from there.
#2. Conscious communication.
Instead of screaming, “Why don’t you…” or “You are so..,” we can stay centered in our own feelings and say, “I feel so…” and “When you do that, it makes me feel…”
The key word here being “I” and not “you.” The key concept is to take responsibility for what is going on for you.
You own it. You share it. You explore it.
There is a massive difference between the two versions of expression.
In the first one, the person feels attacked. In the second, the person is able to hear the real issues and, if they are conscious enough, will have a chance to respond without reacting.
Then, with any luck, you and your partner can figure out the unmet needs in the situation and how you can both work to meet those needs.
This re-writes the relationship script to a version where two people are able to engage with a common goal of getting to the truth of a situation rather than winning an argument or punishing each other.
I can’t say that I always managed to consciously communicate like this. Sometimes, I found my mother’s voice coming through me before I realized what was going on.
But what saved me, again and again, was my willingness to at least try and own my shit and take responsibility for my experience.
From years of self-inquiry, I have learned that I am hugely responsible for what goes on in my relationships. It is my job to get super clear about what my truth is, and speak from there. And it certainly helps when you have a partner who is able to lovingly call you up on your crap.
It is, in fact, totally thrilling when two humans can dedicate themselves to this honest inquiry.
With a dedication to truth and love, we have a chance to find a way to cut the paradigm of blame and separation and create a whole new paradigm.
3. Laughing at the cosmic joke.
As we begin to notice the details of our intricate defense systems, insecurities and funky relating patterns, it really helps to have a giggle at the whole ridiculous predicament.
Fortunately, my man and I were constantly laughing at the cosmic joke of it all.
We both understood that the Divine Mother was having a giggle as we flailed about in our stuff together. We would move through some super gritty moments and find that a whole lot of space and love revealed itself.
We would plough through the shit to find ourselves in a deeper space of unconditional love. It was so worth it.
So, it might not be a walk in the park but it is worth the wild ride in the light of love, in the container of support and in the fire of conscious relating.
We have the opportunity to be liberated of the intricate defenses we have been hiding behind. We have the opportunity to have our wounded parts accepted in the eyes of our beloved. And, of course, we have that supreme joy of loving another and feeling the energy, attraction, love and devotion that is available in the present moment when we are open to it.
At the end of the day, relationships dedicated to truth, are a whole lot easier than when we are dedicated to protecting our position or only revealing parts of ourselves that we hope are loveable.
Conscious relating, whether it is with a beloved or a friend, a partner in a workshop or with a family member, is a precious opportunity to reveal our true, vulnerable, authentic self to another, without holding back.
And, it feels so liberating.
It is a recipe for radical intimate relating, a departure from the old script, an opportunity to bring spiritual wisdom into daily life.
I would go so far as to say that conscious relating is the answer to the pickle that all of humankind has found itself in. Because as far as I can see, we are all craving intimacy and a more profound experience of being met and giving love.
Conscious relating gives us the chance to re-write the old script of separation and remember that we are all in this one together.
Author: Sonja Shradha Devi
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith / Editor:Renee Picard
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