If you want to take your relationship to the next level, then you have no choice but to connect at a higher level. And I mean a MUCH higher level. How do you bring your connection to the divine, something greater than you, into your relationship? And how do you and your partner take that energy and use it to co-create something amazing in the world? Something that feeds your passion for each other – as well as for life itself? Today we’re going to tackle those questions, and more, with one of the world’s most respected spiritual teachers, Andrew Harvey. His new book, Evolutionary Love Relationships: Passion, Authenticity, and Activism, is just out – and it is a passionate vision of what’s possible in relationship. In this conversation we focus on how to make the divine not only accessible – but also a way of reinforcing the fabric and vitality of your connection to yourself and your beloved.
Becoming your Being: Becoming aware of ourselves as divine beings opens doors into new realms of possibility in all of our relationships. While this is a lifelong journey, we can continually attend to the following three phases:
- Tune into your own true identity and the divine consciousness that you embody. Find the ways you come back to Self. What are your rituals? Your sacred spaces? Your mirrors?
- As you experience a deepening into yourself, begin to expand this outward. Extend this sense of deep respect towards the cats, dogs, people, strangers, objects, etc. in your life.
- Choose to dedicate yourself to something that needs your voice and your compassion. Engage in a cause and a community larger than yourself from a place of authentic desire. Speak up, fight for, and join with, those people and places that if you did not, your heart would break.
Mystical Adventure: What would it be like to welcome this journey into tuning into YOU and of finding who you really are as a mystical adventure? What becomes possible when you begin to see yourself as a unique drop of light in the great ocean of divine consciousness? Perhaps this question begins to help you connect and celebrate your sacred YOUness and find your way towards a life of action that allows for you to show up in your most authentic and alive form.
Simple holy practices: Journeying into sacredness is as profound as it is simple. Simple practices incorporated into daily life can be incredibly powerful. For example, what happens when you invoke the word of God (in whichever form fits for you) into your mind/heart throughout the day? Try saying God’s name or a mantra of your choosing while walking, while brushing your teeth, sitting in traffic, etc. Is it possible that this becomes a secret door into a deeper sense of presence or a shorthand path that becomes a direct link to your connection with an awareness of all that is greater than? Another practice that can become a portal into closer relationship with the divine is through the simple act of sitting in silence. Try sitting in silence for 10 minutes on either end of your day and see what arises, opens, becomes, expands, and/or releases.
Facing the shadow sides: This journey into authenticity is inevitably humbling, and not without pain. The more, however, that you connect with your transcendent self (your pure radiant and aware self) the more security, peace, and humor you will develop, thus giving you the needed qualities to address and face the shadow sides that emerge through this awakening. This is a reinforcing cycle allowing for deeper and deeper learning, with more and more grace. Trust in the process, especially on days you’d rather hide from the shadows, or in the shadows.
Love changes everything. Similar to the way that coming into contact with our shadow sides allows us to discover lightness, love is filled with paradoxes. Instead of getting stuck in tensions between opposing forces, try to jump right in and dance with the dynamics. What is it like to be between dark and light, peace and tumult, safety and wild, play and seriousness, and breakdowns and breakthroughs?
Breakdowns becoming breakthroughs: One of the most damaging myths in relationships is that healthy couples do not have tension. Momentary experiences of tension, however, offer opportunities for incredible growth and connection. With intention, awareness, and loads of love, breakdowns can become breakthroughs. Celebrate breakdowns as they herald growth! Love takes us to the edge of ourselves, and if our partner can love us, reach out to us, and be there for us, then we can make amazing leaps into vulnerability and from there, into authenticity. In this way our moments of chaos and mess become our moments of Aha! Oh! And Wow!
Rituals of Celebration: Celebrations are key to fostering joy and sustaining passion in relationships. Everything can, and in many ways should be, celebrated. Can you celebrate your mealtimes with space for silence or a blessing? Can you celebrate the chores of the day? Find sacredness by appreciating the ordinary details of life. Be especially intentional about honoring the intentions of all your partner is doing, rather than just celebrating the results. Surprise and delight your partner by finding unpredictable things to celebrate and cherish, and unpredictable ways to do so! In how many ways can you celebrate the fact that this other showed up in your life and that the two of you found each other and continue to choose each other? Rituals of celebration help to fortify the relationship so that when the inevitable struggles occur, there is a deep well of love and appreciation to draw from.
“Celebrate the wonder of being with another human being who is willing despite your faults and your craziness and your comic complications to say to you, not only do I love you, but I want to go on a journey to the divine with you, to become a being who can radiate the fierce and tender loves of God in justice and compassion for the world.” (Andrew Harvey)
Surrender to authenticity: Loving your partner means loving all of your partner. In order to have a truly sacred relationship you have to be willing and able to give up control and expectation of who you wish your partner would be, could be, or should be. You have to be in a stage of reverence for their authentic beingness, and love with generous tenderness and compassion all that they are. Allow this letting go to be a continual process- a practice to attend to again, and again, and again.
3 practices to connect to the divine in each other:
- Gazing: Practice sitting cross legged across from each other and gazing into each other’s eyes with holding hands. Remember that gazing is different than staring, or looking. It requires a softening of the eye muscles, a relaxation of the face, and a sense of attuning to, rather than tracking, your partner.
- Imagining the Divine Mother: While sitting face to face, can you begin to imagine the divine mother (or whichever sacred image speaks to you) pouring golden light down your and your partner’s bodies. Imagine this glowing golden light warming and enveloping each cell as it passes from the crown of the head, down the spine, and into the feet- filling every nook and crannie. What is it like to see your partner all aglow while you yourself are being filled with the same light.
- Tonglen: Can you take this a step further by sitting across from each other and imagining each other’s shadow selves as a ball of black smoke? Invite this ball into your own heart- welcoming it, and bathing it in the deepest compassionate energy you can muster. Give their pain and sorrow a home, and a place in which it can be held and allowed to dissolve. This is a deep healing practice, almost like offering each other divine surgery.
**Note: ALL of these practices can be done by yourself in front of a mirror- and is an incredibly powerful practice for anyone- single or not.
Sacred aloneness: Do not wait for a relationship in order to start practicing divine connection. Use this time of aloneness to 1) get in touch with the beloved and 2) allow yourself to dream of another level of love that is possible. Make your aloneness holy through rituals and celebrations. Take time to daydream of what kind of love you would want, and then see if you can ask for even more. Use the silence that aloneness offers to get clear on what it is you truly want and then send it out as a prayer.
Do you feel alone in your partnership? Are you feeling like you are alone in the way you are showing up for the questions? Feel like you are the only one who is truly looking at the shadow sides and doing the work? Instead of moving into resentment, try to choose even more compassion. See your partner as already divine and treat them with deep sacred tenderness without asking for anything in return. Stop expecting and requiring that they change. Love them just as they are for in the end, the only changes people will make is when they experience being tremendously and unconditionally loved for who they are. Continue to do the practices, and surrendering to who your partner is in this moment- pour yourself into them with all the reverence you have and watch as the sea change occurs. For it will. And if it doesn’t, then perhaps you will have the clarity you have been searching for to make necessary choices to stay, or leave.
Invite and invoke your sexual connection to become a divine experience. Can you envision a sexuality that is beyond just creating pleasure for each other? What is needed to bring more revelation and reverence into the bedroom? Through grace and deep work with yourself and your partner you can begin to discover new levels of intimacy that open doors to shared enlightenment. Of course, this may be a new way of coming together, and will likely require a lot of unlearning. Be willing to look at all the ways you have assumed roles, chosen stagnancy, or limited yourself through body shaming. As you expand into seeing yourself and your partner as whole divine beings you will discover more limitations, restrictions, and vulnerabilities – welcome these uncoverings as very good news. The more you discover the more you can release yourself from old implicit patterns, freeing you to open to secret doorways into the divine experience of sex, sensuality, and connection.
Invite the divine forth: Sexual experience is one of the most direct initiations into divine bliss energy. Through practices and presence you can begin to invite the divine into the bedroom- opening the door, and waiting expectantly for what may happen next! Be open to an overwhelming sense of bliss- a blessed bliss that WILL leave you, and your relationship, transformed!
Check out Andrew Harvey’s website for the institute for Sacred Activism here
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