G’day, this is the fourth chapter of the Sacred Love book and the topic is Dream Matching. I think this is the most complex of the five chapters of this book primarily because we’re talking about the real ingredient of human nature – Why do people stay together?
Now, if you really want to underpin this chapter and understand the core of it, just simply understand this, two people can fall in love at any time. It can be at the coffee shop and look across the table and Wow! There she is or there he is, and you fall in love. The question is, how long is that attraction going to last. Now, the love can last forever and we know how to separate love and relationship but the question is, how long, if you fall in love with someone, are you going to stay in a relationship with them?
And the answer is this, you’re going to stay in a relationship with another person while they make you happy. The human constitution is based on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And although there are short term pleasures such as intimacy and sexuality and a lot of these things, the real bottom line for most people is – the definition of pleasure is the achievement of their dreams. Now those dreams can be a week from now, they can be today in fact or they can be in the next 20, 30 or 40 years. The idea that the other person in your life helps you live out your dreams is fundamental to the desire to stay in relationship. Happiness motivates us, the search for pleasure.
Now, the definition of that pleasure, as I’ve already said, changes from person to person. But underpinning all of these pleasures is the sense of the dream. There are seven realms of love and therefore there are seven realms of dreams, from the spontaneous dream which is, I’ve got to have it right now, to the long term inspiration of a dream which is, I’ll work for it for the rest of my life.
Now, a relationship that’s based on the lowest of the seven levels of love, or the seven realms of dreams is not going to last very long if it doesn’t evolve up through the other levels. In other words, if people come together into a relationship motivated by the idea that they’re going to fulfill their happiness, they’re going to fulfill their pleasures and it’s all very short term, within a very short period of time that person and that couple is going to struggle to find really good reasons to stick it out.
Now, stick it out means, to survive through the challenges. Every relationship has support and challenge, that was Chapter 3. Chapter 4 is saying that the reason we will work through the challenges is because there are pleasures, happiness, coming from this relationship. And those happinesses are based on, once again, the fulfillment of dreams.
Our souls bind with another human being in a relationship because our souls have a mission. Now, you can call it your life purpose but even that understates the real truth of the soul’s purpose. The soul’s purpose is to search for ever deeper and broader definitions of itself. In other words, to seek more things to love. So, in a relationship that’s growing and expanding, two people can sustain incredible levels of intimacy and relationship and very strong commitments only if their soul’s real desire translated into the physical body means happiness is being fulfilled. Let’s look a little deeper.
The dream is called the physical realm. The dream that my body is gratified, satisfied. That means the sexual, the contactual, the physical levels of dream or ambition will cause us short term happiness but once fulfilled they just open a gateway to the next level, and we’ll call that the mental levels. And these mental levels are our ethics. Mental levels of dreams mean making life safe for us. It means that we can trust, release ourselves into vulnerability in an environment where our physical needs are being fulfilled and now, our mental, our ethics, our morals, our code of behaviour, our values are being met.
Once those are being met it simply doesn’t stop there, it opens the gateway to the next realm. The next realm is our emotional levels. Now, there are many emotions that come into life and once our sense of safety is fulfilled, our sense of community starts to arise. Our emotional needs, our needs for belonging, our needs for some sense of fulfillment on a broader scale outside our body, outside our mind but association with a larger group of people and this is what we would call our emotional needs. And that gateway, if it’s fulfilled in a relationship and we get our romantic needs met, we get our sense of being admired and being respected met, then we just open the gateway to the next level.
So it’s a never ending story, isn’t it? You can see this, that people think that if they get their physical needs met, it’s all going to be fantastic but that’s not true. All that achieves is opening the gateway to the mental needs, the needs for security and then that opens another gateway to the needs for belonging and emotional needs, and that opens another gateway, which is the gateway of the heart.
Now, the human heart wants to do good. That’s kind of like its mission. And so when the human heart becomes a primary focus of need fulfillment, it wants to have a sense that things are, as you would call them, respected, sacred, owned, and that heart level is quite ambivalent to the future, it’s quite ambivalent to the past. And when you hear a lot of people talking about being in the moment, what they’re basically saying is, be in your heart. Your heart doesn’t care about how much money it’s got because in the moment that’s irrelevant. And it doesn’t care about what it’s done in the past because in the moment that’s irrelevant.
So, when we talk about self actualisation, self actualisation, the maximum that people can comprehend in self actualisation, is a wide open heart. And in a relationship with an open heart it means that the physical needs are being met, still, it means that the mental needs are being met, there’s trust. It means that the emotional needs are being met. That means there’s romance and respect. And now, the heart level, which means there’s a purpose to this relationship greater than ourselves. We have a sense of communion. We call it sometimes soul mates but there’s a friendship developing and that friendship causes the relationship to come out to the world and make a better world for others. And this is a very important step but it’s still about self.
When a relationship goes to the next level, which is the fifth level, we start to talk about devotion. Now the devotional level of a relationship is when we start to say that there is something metaphysical, something greater than ourselves that’s come together in this relationship to cause a creation. So we might create a business together, we might create children, we might create a home, we might create an orphanage. When two people have a sense that their relationship has a purpose bigger than pleasure, bigger than romance, bigger than trust, bigger than their hearts, then they have a sense of purpose greater than those things. And most of that cannot come true until we’ve fulfilled those lower levels.
In other words, once our children have grown up or once we’ve released the need to have children, once we have transcended the needs for those lower levels then we can start to comprehend that our relationship might be about something more than just ourselves. It might be about a broader definition of family, a broader definition of community, a broader definition of the purpose of our relationship. It might be about global change, it might be about building orphanages in foreign countries.
But satisfying that level of need in a relationship doesn’t stop and if a relationship stops there it will fall apart because eventually the things we are rising up to, if we achieve them, eventually we will, what they call, become green. In other words, it’s like a still pond. If the water doesn’t move in a pond it becomes rotten. And so in a relationship, if there’s not an evolution of the purpose for the relationship it eventually becomes rotten.
The next level is inspired. Now, this is not necessarily an action word. Inspired does not necessarily mean there is an outcome as a result of it. Inspired means that there is a deeper sense of beauty, a deeper sense of the interconnectedness of all things. So, people, when they’re in inspired relationships start to talk about sacredness, about the beauty of the world and they start to want to travel and go places, not only for the purpose of serving their devotion, which is a level they’ve already gratified, of keeping their heart open, of staying romantic, of keeping trust in their relationship and physical pleasure but there’s a sense of exploration that comes when we get to the level of inspired relationship.
We want to see the world, we want to participate in the world and we want to immerse ourselves in the diversity of cultures in the world. No longer are we stuck in the lower levels which is fighting for our relationship or religion as being right. Righteous religions, where, for example, people of the same religious basis want to collude with people of the same religion and exclude others is a very primal level of relationship. It’s when people start to see that black or white, green or blue, Catholic or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu or Bhuddist, no matter what, that we are able to transcend those boundaries because the definition of the world gets bigger. This is the definition of inspired.
And finally, the highest level a relationship can achieve is unconditional love. Now, in unconditional love the necessity for physical presence in the relationship is irrelevant. In other words, if a person passes away or if we split up from our partner or we’re not with them for extended periods of time, if we have unconditional love for that person it means that the lower six levels are being gratified in other ways. We might be even having an affair or we might be having a relationship on the side or we might be getting trust from our religion or getting a sense of emotional gratification and romance from the sports we do or something like that. The bottom line is that with unconditional love there is no need for physical presence. And this is the highest level of love. This is what they call Sacred Love. It’s absolutely beyond the physical presence of another human being. We love our partner, we love people, no matter whether they are with us or they are gone. Whether they’re in the body or whether they’re out of the body.
So there’s the seven levels of dreams, or seven levels of love. And what we’re going to say in this chapter is, the glue that binds two people together is the mutuality of dreams. Now, we drew, in the book, two circles. Those two circles overlapped by 33 and a third percent. It’s called the Vessica Pisces, and the Vessica Pisces is a universal symbol, and what the Vessica Pisces represents is the sustainable proximity of any two bodies on earth. Let’s say for example – even in the universe – let’s say there’s two stars in the sky, how come those stars don’t draw each other into each other’s gravitational field and explode, or why don’t they “zim” apart and fly into the universe? They’re all rotating. There’s centrifugal forces trying to fling them out into the universe but they don’t. There’s some sort of a balance exists between the push of gravitation or the pull of gravitation and the push of centrifugal force. And if you were able to draw a circle around that star and show its magnetic field or its field of influence, you would see that that field overlaps the next star by exactly 33 and a third percent. In other words, the two circles of the two stars overlap by 33 and a third percent, and that’s sustainable.
So, this is the model we use for relationships and we say two individuals, ie. Two stars, two circles, will overlap in their commonality by 33 and a third percent, in other words they will become undifferentiatable in 33% of their lives.
Now, this may change over age in what exists in that 33%. For example, two very young, newly married people, their 33% might be physical gratification with each other and as they get older it might be having a baby and their mutality might be in that 33 and a third percent of their family values and their collusion in building a home.
But time goes on and they rise in their levels of consciousness and they rise in their levels of realms of dream fulfillment and they may start to have to re-evaluate, what are the things that cause that relationship to overlap. What’s causing those two people to stay together? And as you go up the levels of the hierarchy of dreams you might find that when you get to the heart level, that 33 and a third percent is a sense of global responsibility or a sense of communal support that you both come together on to agree on, in a sense, or work together on, in helping change. And it can rise and fall but that 33 and a third percent is really what keeps two people together.
If we love somebody but we can’t work out how that person will help us fulfill our mission or our vision or our dream of the future, the relationship will gravitate back down to the physical and if the physical needs are being met or they’re not so important any more, then that relationship will have no reason, no universal reason to stay in place.
Now, there’s a lot of morality and there’s a lot of ideologies that keep relationships glued. In fact, Einstein believes that relationships that last a long time are false. He believes that the evolution of consciousness, one person and another person, makes almost the idea of people staying together long term impossible. I disagree with him in the principle that if two people are evolving in their consciousness and revealing their dreams, continually growing their dreams, then I think it’s possible for them to stay together forever. The honeymoon that lasts forever is a relationship that grows their dreams, both independently but works out how and why those two people are still together based on how they help each other fulfill their futures. This is the glue that binds lovers together.
Now, in the book, I’ve written a very important section in this Chapter 4 on Vision Quests for Lovers. And this is not about some Native American tradition. They worked perfectly but they’re a little bit hard for people sitting in places that don’t have access to a traditional environment like that. What you can do is do your own vision quest at home. And a vision quest doesn’t just mean sitting on a rock somewhere envisioning the future. It’s a six week process that takes about 15 minutes a day but by the end of that six weeks, if you do that once a year you will guarantee, absolutely gold plated guarantee, that the glue that will bind your relationship into the future is re-concreted, re-cemented. The magnetism that holds two people in a sacred loving relationship is the dreams they have of the future. And that six week process will re-guarantee, re-guarantee the vows you made at your commitment time when you came together.
Sacred Love – Chapter 5
Love is a Lifestyle
The fifth chapter of Sacred Love is Love is a Lifestyle. I think this is the most important chapter in the book because if you want a really sacred loving, beautiful, sustainable relationship you’d better make that a priority in your life. I think of all the things I’ve done in my life in the many relationships and circumstances I’ve had, the biggest failing, the biggest cause of trouble has been my belief that I can prioritise other things such as my work or my sport or my health or whatever, and sustain a beautiful, sacred, loving romantic relationship with a partner. It’s just not the case.
So, the first thing, the first step in Love is a Lifestyle, is making love a priority in your life, it’s the number one priority. Your lover has to be the most important person in your life. Even more important than yourself. Now I know that’s a stretch for a lot of new age people but the reason a lot of relationships fail is people become self obsessed and the reason really great relationships succeed is people become obsessed with the other person.
Which leads me to the second point – emotional honesty. Emotional honesty in a relationship doesn’t necessarily come from being a complete emotional basket case or a fruitcake, it comes from being really aware of how you feel and admitting it to yourself. Instead of blaming others and saying, you made me feel this and you made me feel that, we have to accept that our partner actually triggers emotions that are already inside of us.
And being honest about those emotions is really important. It’s more difficult, in my experience, for men than women, to own these emotions. I think there’s a vast difference between bravery, which is the willingness to experience an emotion to its greatest depth and wallow in it for a certain period of time, and courage, which is the determination to jump up and run into the face of the enemy regardless of the consequences. I think in a relationship we have to be brave. We have to be prepared to experience things that we may not like or may not want to experience. We may have to face things that we would otherwise choose to avoid, the darker side of things or the more vulnerable side of things. But this is ultimately the essence of a great relationship.
Once I remember, in New York I was sitting in my office looking out the window, talking on the telephone. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, it was 8.30, I was waiting for a limousine to pick me up to take me to La Guardia Airport and in turn the journey would take me to Nepal. I was waiting for the car when an aeroplane flew overhead quite close to the top of my building, three seconds later it drove straight into the side of the World Trade Centre. The shock was just horrendous and people fainted all around me in the office. I stood there with the skills that I’d been taught through workshops and the collapse process and I came to a sort of a peace with the event very quickly. I saw the dark and I saw the light, I balanced it all and I came to unconditional love for this event and then I watched people around me grieving and suffering and screaming and emotionalising and I thought, you know what, somehow this spirituality that I’ve adopted, which is very courageous and takes me through drama very quickly, lacks integrity.
And I went back from that day and started to reimmerse myself in the awareness of what do I really feel? What do I really experience? Where is my humanity in an event before I go into a process of healing? Sometimes I think when we get hurt we look for processes that help us avoid the experience of hurt and that blocks our love. That blocks our real feelings. Now, I know there’s the other side to this coin. You’ll meet people who have so much emotional baggage and so much emotional vulnerability that they can’t step out into life without being aggressive and violent. Now, I’m not talking about that extreme, what I’m talking about is the willingness to take time out and dig deep into emotional truth. I think a couple in a relationship need to celebrate the fact that they’ll be angry, they’ll be disappointed, they’ll be hurt, they’ll be happy, they’ll be vulnerable, they’ll be scared, they’ll be all emotions, at any time and they need to take time out and actually witness that with each other.
Such an emotional awareness comes with time. A relationship that’s in its early days may not be willing to go to those depths but it’s a target, it’s an objective one should have in entering a new relationship, that eventually you’ll know each other well enough to be really truly honest, emotionally honest with each other. I think this is a very important ingredient of a sacred relationship.
Authenticity is a topic that people under the age of 20 don’t need to read about, they do it automatically. But as time goes on and our ambitions and our careers and our lives and we read more books about how we should or shouldn’t behave, we become less authentic and we start to develop characters that play out roles in our lives. For example, we might start becoming the entrepreneurial clever person, the party, happy person, the relationship loving sweet person, the parent, the sports hero – we develop characters and we can develop negative ones as well. Characters that play out sickness in order to get attention. Authenticity really means that you can’t be an arsehole at work and a loving individual at home. Love becomes a part of your life and you treat everybody you meet with the same sense of loving affection as you treat your partner. That doesn’t mean we hug and cuddle everybody but what it does mean is we respect and honour them.
A loving individual is authentic even when they’re alone. That means that when they’re sitting in the forest or in the train or in the aeroplane going somewhere or sitting at home watching television, they hold their heart strongly as a priority, they hold it wide open. They hold their love for life and a flower and a tree. This authenticity pervades every area of life. It can’t be held exclusive to one person in a relationship. I hear many people getting jealous that their lover has loved people in their past or has had relationships in the past or that their lover loves their parent or their friends but a loving person is a loving person no matter who they’re with. It’s just they choose a relationship with one person for intimacy.
Be aware, authenticity means not following somebody else’s rules. That’s the lack of authenticity. Authenticity means thinking for yourself. Many people think that they think. They get the newspaper and they get hyper vigilant about certain moral issues when really the newspaper has reported what has really been transpiring for a long period of time and makes it quite an issue of the day. We need to be conscious and aware of what disturbs us, what we start riding on in terms of hero worship, we need to be careful of fads and fancies. Authenticity means that we hold sacred certain moral principles and those moral principles are unbendable.
Sacred love requires that we hold love, which means in some senses, appreciation for people and their beauty, as a priority in our morning, noon and night. Space to breathe in a relationship is so important, and in that breathing space one has to learn to recuperate and regain their inner strength so that they can come back into the relationship with completeness. Space to breath means spending time with friends outside the relationship, exercise and sport, creativity, hobbies of passion, work that you love.
In truth, 66% of your life will be alone. Only 33 and a third of your life can be sustained in a loving relationship. So, 66% of all you do, you’ll be doing as an individual. Therefore we must learn to be alone with ourselves. And this is a great key because when we break our own moral code, when we act out of integrity to ourselves, when we breach our own sense of decency and moral behaviour, it’s not other people that get so much affected, it’s ourselves. And I think this is what’s defined as karma, that if we do things to other people that cause us to feel a sense of responsibility or a sense of guilt or a sense of distrust for our own capacity, to hold our morals and our values sacred, then I think we cause ourselves in our moments alone, great disturbance. And those disturbances sabotage our lives. They sabotage our work, they sabotage our health.
So, to sustain a sacred and loving relationship we must learn to be alone with ourselves and like what we see. This does not come from isolation, it doesn’t come from sitting in a cave or crossing your legs in meditation or achieving great heights in sport or business, it doesn’t come from wealth. Learning to be alone with yourself is called contentment. The ability to say, I like this person. I can’t change them, I can’t change them. I am who I am and I’m worthy of love for that. And the only person on earth who really needs to know that I’m worthy of love for who I am, as I am, is me.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my own life trying to change myself and now I realise, as the time has past that I’m really still the same person I always was, that any attempt to add a façade or to follow a philosophy was just a mask that I was putting on to try and create a better me. But really, the moment I stopped the disciplines and practices around those particular activities I was still the same Chris. I learnt that my circumstances affect my behaviour more than my moral code. That if I put myself in a very difficult circumstance I would behave badly and I would break my own moral codes. If I put myself in a relationship that was unhealthy or that in which my heart wasn’t open, then my moral code would start to wilt. I think this is a priority. We have to realise that if love is important to us and we are in a place that love doesn’t exist, then we’ve automatically begun the process of self sabotage.
The key to loving others is to love self. And to love self we have to come to a place where we don’t want to change it. Where we are completely content with our own being. We recognise the divinity of being ourselves. We recognise that there is a dark side and a light side to everything including ourselves. That alone, that single awareness can transform a life and prepare us to live in a great and sacred relationship with another person.
I remember visiting the home of a couple who were looking for counselling. They had become friends and they were having struggles in their relationship. They asked me to come to their house to do a consultation. I walked in the front door and there on the wall was a picture, a photograph in fact from Apocalypse Now with some poor soldier struggling to take a breath in a bamboo cage while he was immersed in water. This dark and dismal picture graced the front door of his home. I could write another five books on the topic of environment because I believe truly that environment affects a relationship more than any other thing. It doesn’t have to be wealth, it doesn’t have to be fancy. What it has to be is loving.
In India, in the times that I’ve visited there, some of the homes that I’ve visited have been extremely humble yet they were filled with love. Candles were burning, incense filled the air and statues reminded the people who lived there of the Gods who really dictated the fortunes of their future. And yet, in the Western home I see photographs of the dead. I see reminders of the past that are not complete. I see bookshelves full of books that talk about pain and suffering and here we have a couple trying to live out the beauty of a sacred relationship. In some homes I even see antiques bought from places whose origins were not sure. Were those goods stolen? Did the families who owned them have a beautiful life or was there suffering and torture? Tibetan furniture quite often has its roots in the theft of a culture and we bring this into our home and wonder why things aren’t as harmonious as they could be.
Everything speaks. You must remember this very clearly. Every flower, every tree, ever piece of wood, has a story to tell. The walls of your home, if they are old walls, have been home to people long before you arrived. If you want to witness this first hand go to Norfolk Island in Australia where the old prison exists. The walls are now crumbled but this was one of the most mean and vicious prisons on earth. Norfolk Island is filled with the spirits of those dead people who were tortured, starved and beaten to death. If you walk around that old prison you’ll feel it. Even the most skeptical person feels their hair stand on edge as they walk around those prison remains. Your house, your car, your clothing, your food, all has with it a voice. A sacred loving relationship has to be conscious of the voices that surround them. The old jewellery from an ex partner, a gift from a person who is no longer wishing you well, things that don’t have authenticity, money that was taken and wasn’t earned.
We have to think very carefully about the design of our space, about the things that we bring into a loving relationship. This includes people because there are some people in our lives who do not wish our relationship well. Those people, even parents from time to time, may wish us well. They may wish that our relationship didn’t exist because they have aspirations for something different. This is the necessity of protection. We need to protect our relationship. We need to protect it from the environments that are not healthy. We need to fill our relationship with environments that are healthy.
Taking our relationship into places where people are ill – maybe it’s necessary sometimes to visit people in hospital or to go into the spaces of those who are not in good fortune but we need to balance this and recuperate and heal our relationship if it’s been into such a place. If we’ve argued we need to clear the space of the argument. If we’ve had breakdowns and hurts we need to clear the space of those hurts. We need to bring love into our environment, we need to look at what’s on the walls, what’s on the floor, how our furniture is decorated, what’s in the kitchen, how our food was bought, how it was prepared, how it was made and where it came from. All these things are vital in preparing an environment in which love can thrive. We don’t know the subtleties, we don’t really see this second voice, we don’t understand the effect of the other energies of this earth but we do know they affect us. We do know that people who are put into negative environments become negative. We do know that people become as we treat them and so, if we treat our environment and we therefore honour the sacredness of our relationship through that environment, we will create the best place for love to thrive.
My first marriage failed because I became lazy. My wife loved me deeply, she gave me all the love a man could ask for but I became lazy. I didn’t give what I was getting. Love and the greatest love of all comes from us. It’s so easy to become lazy and complacent in a relationship. To be given love by somebody is a great gift but to give love is an even greater one. And to keep giving love in spite of everything takes a lot of courage, a lot of commitment. I think this is the conviction that we’re all looking for in a relationship. We seek love, we want love but we forget that the greatest love we ever celebrate, the best we’ve ever felt is when we’ve given love to people.
What blocks our love is our emotion, our ego. We get blocked because our lover might remind us of something that we don’t like in ourselves. Our lover might do something that we didn’t expect. Our lover might start to do or behave in ways that we don’t want them to be. But this is no excuse, this is the metal, this is where we need to stand tall and say, I’m able to love this person no matter what they do. When we start holding back our love and expecting to receive it more than we give it, then we start to diminish ourselves. We become mechanical, we become materialistic, we love the passion, the inspiration, the things that make life worth living and we start to dwindle into disease, our body decays. We start to lose our wealth, we start to lose our sense of passion for life.
We must remind ourselves every day that the greatest happiness a human being can experience is the love that they give. We need to work through the rubbish that we put between us and our love. We need to work through the emotional blockages, the egotistical expectations that we put in the way of loving somebody. No matter what another person does they’re worthy of love, no matter how bad they are, no matter how bad their behaviour, we can love them.
I’m not suggesting for one minute that we should stay in environments that are toxic, where our partner breaks the agreed boundaries of the relationship. Under those circumstances, such as domestic violence we must leave but this is no reason to block our love. We can actually say, I love you but I can’t entertain a relationship with you.
That aside, I’m not talking about the extremes, I’m talking about the average, everyday experience of being in a relationship, of broken expectations, of our projections onto our partner, saying this is the sort of person I want you to be versus this is who you are and therefore, I’m going to withdraw love from you. This is no way to have a relationship. A relationship is built on the love we give. We must learn, we must learn the skills of giving love, under all circumstances.
We have children in later life and they will break our expectations continually but still deep down inside we love them. No matter how bad they become we say, I love this person. I can’t control them, I can’t demand of them things that they do not wish to do for themselves, I have to just simply love them. And that love exists in us, in our relationship as well. It’s the core, the sacredness of a relationship. We must remember, continually remind ourselves that the happiest we will ever be in our lives is when we give the greatest amount of love to our beloved.
There are many people who say that if they had to live their live over again they wouldn’t change a thing and I think they’re liars. Truly, if we had to live our lives over again we’d hurt people less and we’d change the mistakes we made that caused other people harm. I think the greatest harm we can do any other human being on earth is not turning up. And we don’t turn up because we make excuses. We make excuses like, I’m really busy at work, I’m stressed at the moment, my ex partner is still calling me, my children are demanding things from me, I’m tired, I’m confused. We make excuses and those excuses become the death knell for our relationships. Make no excuses, we need to turn up. Turning up means we’ve done our laundry, we’ve washed our clothes, we’ve cleaned our mind. We’re able to turn up fresh, the past is the past, it’s no longer affecting us. We’re able to forget yesterday, to learn from it, to grow from it, to take responsibility for causing it and turn up today brave, emotionally prepared, spiritually awakened, ready for a great relationship.
When I talk to people who are going through challenge, people who are experiencing domestic confrontations, emotional violence, it’s always coming from the past, from the inability of one of the two people in that relationship to actually turn up. People excuse themselves and say, I’ll never do that, or my ex partner caused me to be like this, or if it wasn’t for my family then I wouldn’t have this problem. But this is lying, this is cheating, this is deception of the greatest kind. There is no excuse, none at all for not turning up in love.
We should not expect another human being on this planet to accept our apologies for stupidity. We should not expect another person on this planet to accept us half. We should not expect a person to listen to our excuses and listen to us saying, oh I’m so busy at work or Oh, I’ve got so many problems that I can’t turn up for love. This is rubbish. Life is too short, we’re here for such a short period of time and love and our relationships are so precious. How could we let anything get in the way?
This is why personal mastery is so important. Personal mastery teaches us to experience our emotions, to witness our emotions but not act on our emotions. It teaches us to be honest about how we feel, to witness and feel the grief or the suffering or the happiness and the joy but never act out of those experiences. This inner relationship means that we can, at the same token as being honest with ourselves and having personal integrity, we can turn up for love every day, fresh as if we were young again like a child falling in love for the first time.
For many years I worked with indigenous cultures in Canada. They taught me many, many things including a deep respect for nature and the world around us. But one of the great things that I took from their teachings was an understanding of the importance of our ancestors. We haven’t just arrived here, fresh dropped from the sky like a raindrop that never came to earth before. We are the product of our past, we are the culmination of thousands of years of evolution and that evolution is built into our DNA.
Being grateful for the journeys of our ancestors and having respect for the paths that they’ve trodden to get us to where we are places a huge importance on how we behave in this next moment. We are not separate from anything, least of all our ancestors from the past. They trod the ground that we now stand on. They evolved our DNA to where we have it right now, and we will in turn pass it on to our children and they will look back on us and the people before us with some sense of gratitude, thankful for where they are, thankful for the history that brought them to their current place. Thankfulness is a key to the immune system and it is a great key to happiness.
To remain constantly thankful for the past is a simple task. It means that we can lose our thankfulness for the day, we can go through our emotional dramas as we need to go through them but if we hold a respect and a deep love for where we’ve come from, we hold something entirely precious and this, I think differentiates those who are trying to run from the past and create new lives and therefore overly enthusiastic about breaking away from the history that causes them to be who they are, and those who have a deep reverence for the past and are building on it.
In my own life I was born in the very humble origins of Tasmania in Australia. A place not necessarily known for its great intellect and wisdom and I was shy about this fact for many years. From Tasmania we moved to Mildura. Mildura, at the time was a little country town nobody had heard of. It was famous for growing oranges and later, for marijuana. And I hid these facts from the world, even when I worked in America, I hid my Australian origins and created an American accent because I thought that my roots were not important. I had no gratitude for my past and therefore was obsessed with only having thankfulness for what I’d achieved in the short period I called my life. I was even intent on separating myself from my own parents. This existence is shallow, this existence has no core.
Now I really appreciate the fact that I come from the very humble and very beautiful origins of Tasmania, people connected to the earth, people very grounded in the love and the spirit of nature. And I have a great deal of respect for Mildura, a place where hardworking people, many of them immigrants, came to Australia and merged their lives with the indigenous cultures of Australia to grow oranges out of dust.
I see the story differently now and I see in my past how much could have been affected by having a deep and respectful reverence for where I’ve come from. I meet people in Australia who have come from other countries, who are trying to recreate their lives but I encourage them to sustain a respect and love for their origins, to bring that culture to Australia, to bring their uniqueness, their accents, their cultural uniqueness into Australia and not lose it. It doesn’t mean isolation from the Australian culture, it means a natural evolution, an organic growth where the two foreign cultures merge to create a new one, a third culture. Appreciate your history, appreciate your roots, appreciate your parents most of all. These people, although they may be flawed, are at the least the greatest gateway to consciousness and love you’ll ever know.
My mother died in a car accident when I was three. My stepmother was an alcoholic and violent woman. Naturally I developed an expectation of the relationship that I would have when I grew up. By the time I was five I’d developed a fantasy of who I would be – a la Superman – and who my wife would be – a la – the Queen. I really thought that the experience that I was having was a fiction, that I’d somehow been given a bundle of bad luck and that with good behaviour and a good search I would find the ideal partner. I did but I didn’t recognize her. My head was so filled with my expectations, my fantasies of what a relationship could look like. But nothing on earth, nothing humanly possible could be sustained and live up to that expectation.
Our expectations kill love. Those expectations come from all manner of things. Some from what we reject in our parents’ relationship, some from what we accept in our parents’ relationship. Some of our expectations come from books we read, movies we see and novels. We want the romance, we don’t want the chaos. We want the happiness, we don’t want the trauma. We want the love, we don’t want the rejection. And so we build up a false, or a fictitious definition of what is a good relationship and what is a bad one. In doing this we make it nearly impossible to be happy in love. We don’t show up because we’re afraid to cause the drama which will contradict our model of a good relationship. We fail to argue with our partner and stand up for our rights because we’re trying to achieve a fiction, trying to achieve a passive, non violent, peaceful, loving space with a person.
But this is not love. This is escapism, this is delusion. A great relationship grows at the border of chaos and order, support and challenge. And it’s the ability to embrace both sides of this and love a person through it that gives us the sacred love we’re all looking for. Our souls want love. They are not looking for peace. That’s us, that’s our ego, looking for gratification, looking to be reinforced or accepted. Our souls are looking for challenge and support. They’re looking for growth, they’re looking for depth.
If you are truly in search of a soul mate or if you truly believe that you are living with your soul mate, you will welcome the chaos and the order of that relationship in equal lumps. You will welcome both the challenge and support with the same enthusiasm, with the same smile, knowing that love is not measured by either of these things.
If you take your time to go in nature you will find chaos and order in perfect balance. If you step off the world and sit on the moon and look back at this planet you will see chaos and order in perfect balance. You won’t become hyper vigilant and therefore paranoid about global warming and problems that you see as being life threatening. You will see those as one half of an equation of balance. Sacred love means that you will welcome both the good and the bad, the support and the challenge, the growth and the decay, the birth and the death, with the same enthusiasm.
Those people who are running from the past will excess challenge their partner. Those people who are stuck in the past will excess order their partners. Too much support. One causes burn out, too much challenge causes burnout. And the other causes boredom. To really turn up in a relationship, to really have sacred love, you’re going to have to embrace both sides of support and challenge. Be prepared to draw boundaries, be prepared to confront your partner’s ideas about who you should be and shouldn’t be, be prepared to be a unique individual. And at the same token be prepared to soften and surrender when it’s necessary, be prepared to be wrong.
There are many people who complain, oh I have a relationship and I’m married to this person but our romance is dead, we’ve lost the enthusiasm to make love, to be passionate with each other. And I would spend some time with that person and find them to be always wanting to be right. And a right person is the most unattractive, most unromantic individual you can ever find. We’re never right. We’re right and wrong. There’s always two sides to the coin. And the person who can embrace those two sides can choose to focus on the negative or choose to focus on the positive. This is romance. This is the ability to say, love grows at the border of support and challenge. I’m going to challenge my partner, I’m going to support my partner and love will be there right throughout the whole journey. If I just be myself, if I just turn up today, if I just be myself, I will support and challenge my partner. I will focus on the positive, I will focus on the support but I will acknowledge the challenge will not go away.
I’m going to share a beautiful story. A story of how nature planned relationships between human beings. It’s a story that happens naturally for those who are below 18, around 20 years old, who are just ready and waiting to fall in love. We infatuate the appearance of another human being. That infatuation triggers hormones and those hormones trigger pheromones. And the pheromones cause us to be physically attracted to somebody. That results in a sexual and very physical attraction. It’s a natural way to be. Sometimes we follow that physical attraction and end up in a sexual embrace with another person.
With a sexual embrace we may then open up another level of energy, which is the moral one. Do I like this person? Does this person have a code that I can understand? Do I relate to their value set? Am I interested in them more as a whole human being than just the physical experience and the infatuation that I have with them. And if the answer is yes, then we may even consider moving this dynamic with another human being to the next level, the emotional level. Am I willing to trust this person? Do I feel comfortable around this person? Do they make me feel good? Would I like to see them again? Is it more than physical? Do I trust them? Is there an emotional experience that’s taking place here, a chemistry that feels like it could last more than just a day or two? More than just a month?
If they pass this test the chemicals in our body move us to the next level and our heart starts to open and we say, I have just fallen in love. I feel love for this person, I feel a bond, I feel a synergy between us. And that chemistry in our body, electrical impulses and chemical reactions, causes us to want to start causing a permanence between us and this other individual. If these energy levels are open a next level rises, this level of what can we build together? What can we create together? What can we, as a couple, cause on this planet? And that might be children, or a business or friendships, or whatever it may be. We will look to manifest something as a result of our love.
If we pass this test and we see opportunity here we will move to a more divine level of love. We will move to a level where the physical is not the only basis. The mental, the emotional, the heart, the conceptual. It moves to a sense of inevitability, a sense of divine intervention, that this person is my soul mate.
If we can transcend that level of love we can move to a level of unconditional love which means I love this person no matter whether I’m with them or whether they’re here or whether they’re gone, whether they’re happy or they’re sad. We can move to a non physical level of love. The non physical level of love is an interesting one because it’s the safest. This non physical, unconditional love means that we can love everybody on earth safely because we don’t have to get our heart messed up with them, our emotions messed up with them. We don’t have to get our values confused with them and we certainly don’t have to expose ourselves physically. In a sense it’s a very high and sacred love but in another sense it’s powered us because we’re afraid, we’re afraid to be immersed, afraid to confuse ourselves, afraid to get mixed up.
For young people these phases of love happen chemically, they’re automatic. And as we get older and we start looking at re-entering relationships when we’re in our 40’s some of these phases are broken. The willingness to be infatuated is replaced with wisdom. We know there’s two sides to everybody and therefore infatuation can’t happen. The values become our own and we become quite rigid in saying, this is what I do and you either fit my values or you leave.
Our emotions – we’ve experienced emotional dramas and therefore we’re wary about colluding with another person or even exposing ourselves to another human being which may in turn cause us to have emotional drama. We become emotionally closed and finally, our heart. Our heart can shut, our heart can say, I’m not willing to do that any more because I’ve been hurt. Or the heart can say, I love in theory but not in practice.
And so, the chemistry of love gets lost in amongst the wisdom of age, the hormonal changes that come with life, the chemical unpreparedness, the unwillingness to experience life threatening and distracting emotions blocks us from evolving and instead we start searching for spiritual answers which help us transcend all the physical, mental, emotional, heart driven, creative experiences that are necessary to create a good relationship and we start talking about loving people with unconditional love before any other experience has taken place.
One can understand the passion for unconditional love. It’s a complete job, it’s a cop out, it’s sacred, it’s the sort of thing we imagine a high saint having. I love you irrespective of what you do or where you go or who you’re with. That, I think, in the real world of relationships is a very unhealthy place unless we’re talking about healing a relationship, unless we’re talking about the loss of a partner through death or relationship breakdown. And then it’s necessary, in order for us to move to our next experience of love, to love our past unconditionally so it becomes ineffective, so it becomes non influential, so it becomes inert in terms of our ability to turn up for our next love.