Awake in Being, the deepest gift of falling in love

Maytime….delicious abundance and vitality abound and Karen asked me in a blog comment to write about falling in love and relationship……

The word ‘relationship’ implies the negotiation between two or more separate identities, two or more different perspectives. Your being in its purity, is not, cannot be, in relationship with another – infinity, being, knows no separation, there is no separate other. When this freedom is, life is always enough. There is, in the appearance, a falling in love endlessly with what is. It is two conditioned identities that ‘have a relationship’. Their emotional responses, and their physiological and psychological maps of the world will have, of course, some similarities and some differences. If your lifestyle or opinions or values or approaches are strongly identified with the person you think yourself to be, relating with the ‘significant other’ eventually brings conflict and suffering because there is a sense of separation through difference. The conditioned personality of a separate self inevitably argues with any reality not exactly in alignment with its own. The defending of its position against change or threat is perceived as a matter of survival. Often this destroys relationships and marriages.

(Please note that relationships which are abusive or violent emotionally or physically are not included or referred to in this blog post–seek help, from one of the many sources there are, immediately, if you are in this situation)

What we refer to as ‘falling in love’ in this culture usually involves becoming fixated on another person as the source of beauty, wholeness and ….To read more, please Log in or subscribe here (Sign up | Log in | or via the Sign up button at the top right of this or any page of the website. It takes less than 20 seconds

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….fulfilment in life. The ancient Greeks called this Eros. When two people do this to each other simultaneously in the story, the potential is there for one of the greatest dances of delight in life to begin. We can also ‘love’ others in a slightly different way, when we are deeply familiar with those family and friends and attached to them that their absence from our lives would cause us suffering. This kind of love was called philia by the ancient Greeks. Another delight of the apparent human journey. Yet both kinds of love are frequently sabotaged, sometimes discarded completely in the quest for another hit of romantic infatuation and personal freedom rather than coming into natural wholeness and true release from the bounds of the conditioned personality.

In the real and unreal dream of life, without strong emotional experiences—the good and the bad, the beautiful and the difficult—human beings wouldn’t mature and grow in consciousness. Coming to consciousness is naturally inevitable, though it may be fought against! Differentiation wants to happen for you. Clarity of understanding, a big heart to receive all, a belly feeling  life and stabilising, grounded connection with the earth, are natural gifts in maturity, if there is a deep listening to life’s calls every step of the way. Truth is inevitable. Awakening to being might be considered as your natural birthright. Anything else creates suffering. The pain of ‘me’ is simply a resistance to truth and growth. Evolution–physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – is innate, built in to your nature. And the people you are most attracted to-those human ones who push you to the edge—are the catalysts for that awakening process. The relationships may not necessarily be sexual, physical, they might involve those in your family, your teacher-guide or your lover in this lifetime, but there will be commitment involved, and attraction, and challenge and fear are guaranteed at times. Without these deep soul connections, human beings would remain stagnant and perhaps, to a degree, disembodied too.

You can’t set out to find the relationships that will push you into self-realisation, but they will certainly find you. If you can trust the attraction –mixed with fear, repulsion, excitement – that you naturally feel for certain, specific people (you don’t feel this powerfully drawn to just anybody!), then you will know who you will grow with. It can seem easy to be serene, the ‘good spiritual seeker’, when one is not ‘in relationship’. Oh yes!

The level of attraction you feel indicates the level of growth you can experience. Just listen to your silent heart’s intelligence (not your mind’s arguments or fantasies). If you’re not drawn in either direction—if you’re indifferent—then expansion isn’t occurring.

Relationships are dynamic; they can include many ways of being together. There is nothing wrong with shared comfort ease and enjoyment. Shared toast. Still, growth is the deepest potential and invitation of relationships which have a measure of committment. Real growth comes from the depths. The transmutations—from controlling to acceptance, from fear to security, from fight to delight, from rage to peace – ask much of you because intense feelings must be activated, then seen and acknowledged, welcomed and embraced, without commentary, before they can be changed. If we are alive, we are affected by apparent ‘others’. If you listen to your heart, you are led to those with the greatest gifts for you. And they will lead you into growth. If you say no to that growth, compromise and dullness arise in the subsequent cutting off.

Have you ever asked yourself – once you are a way in to a committed connection with another – ‘Isn’t my love (or sex, or family, or spiritual, or friendship) life meant to bring more joy?’ Sometimes a client or group participant says to me ‘I’m just not in love with him (her) anymore. They are comparing the past and their remembered feelings when they first fell in love with how they feel currently. Meaning is given to this current feeling of ‘not in love’ and the sense of loss and disappointment it can bring. The mind may be busy trying to find solutions. That is a hopeless cause! However there is no doubt that the cauldron of committed relating requires real work, for a while, once romance has been seen through. The awakening beyond old smallness means you must pay a price. The fee is those beloved identities, roles and belief systems you thought would protect you, indeed the fee is the very self you know yourself to be. Only then can the larger longings come to fruition.

Love dismantles anything that is made up or fundamentally untrue—not necessarily because there is anything fundamentally wrong with the relationship, but because it’s part of the natural function or evolutionary drive behind intimate relating.

Awakening is your natural birthright. Our culture has tended to glorify the mad grand passion and its dangers and tragedies. Popular culture encourages the conditioned tendency to avoid life just as it is, by emphasising the falling in love over and over again.  We are not in mainstream culture taught how to create joyful sexual relating and fulfilling, lasting emotional connection within long-term relationship. Marriage has for most of our history been an arrangement for economic, social, even political reasons. Now though, we have abandoned this structure and have ever higher expectations for fulfilment from the primary relationship. The high divorce rate soars because most people do not have the esoteric education and esoteric context to get what is really happening and in which to learn the skills that mean these ever-higher expectations are – as they can be – met.

Yet fighting the natural process of alchemical transformation that relating offers feels terrible. My heart goes out to those who struggle with loving. There is a struggle with the pain of love because there is an unconsciousness love of and belief in pain which has not been fully met for the whole lifetime.  The pain  that has been carried since childhood or conception even simply, and inevitably, gets transferred to adult ‘love’ relationships.

How does that happen? What does that mean for you?

A new born baby is simply love. That love is endless and doesn’t have to be, cannot be, earned. It simply is. The growing child, in developing his or her own awareness, is of course by being aware, becoming separate from life and those who care for him or her. In this growing awareness of separation is the sense that others bring care and nourishment and yet can come and go, beyond his or her control. This transition from oceanic oneness to separate self and attachment to other, and the awareness that love is apparently withdrawn for no reason, or can be earned by certain behaviours such as smiling or crying, may be experienced with a high degree of ease and acceptance or not. If the parenting is consistent and competent, then least pain is experienced, yet even in this ‘secure attachment’, the core pain of separation is still present. If the parents are unaware of how they project their own pain, or are unreliable or even threatening, then love becomes associated with a high level of pain and discomfort.

So, human love is in varying degrees experienced as untrustworthy and a longing for the ideal love and for oneness develops, along with identifiable defences against the love that is here in ordinary life. These attachments and aversions are generally unconscious. The underlying longing for oneness becomes transferred to religion or a political cause, or an ‘ideal’ romantic partner or fantasy for perfection, perhaps many times in a lifetime, and the falling in love phase might be experienced as blissful oneness.

One of my favourite poems is ‘She is all states, all princes I, nothing else is’ John Donne and it describes this well. This phase of love falling in love (with another human) temporarily ends contraction and the expansion can be similar to that experienced in ‘spiritual’ (I prefer the word ‘natural’) awakening-and I sense that Donne was glimpsing this. Susan has attended several retreats and ongoing trainings. Her comments after the last gathering are significant, and I wanted to share them with you, below. The endless invitation in any Secret Garden event, whatever the stated theme, is to deepen your exploration of truth and Love and support each other in being Freedom itself.) I feel that the words Susan wrote here touch vividly on facets of this.

Read Susan’s words below, feel her natural aliveness and joy, and spend a minute or two imagining what your life would be like if you gave yourself this same gift, consistently …

‘I was blown to a new place last weekend. ‘When you introduced what felt like new territory, to me, I felt the woman of my depths come forward in me and say ‘Yes!’I was nurtured by the women and taken further than I have been before by the men. And with this, I fell madly in love with so many of you – as real, deep and rich as any love I have ever felt.

I have also been in love with the streets, the houses, the food I eat for lunch, I think I might just be love itself. For the first time ever I really had a great desire to ravish every one of you in the circle – I still don’t feel certain as to why we don’t!

In the morning meditations I encountered this body as a creature I am not familiar with. I discovered it through the sensations of its movements. I am loving this experience of this creature, I move in & out as I’m head first back into work life. After the meditation where I first encountered this creature, when I walked outside I was heading from A to B, but then…

I felt the grass and a tree, that I am that, so I slowed down and touched them. It seemed it would have been more apt and far less nonsensical to lie naked with the grass than sit at a breakfast table.

I am noticing men a lot more and feel them more, as though there used to be a veil between us and now its fallen. So many of them look so nice and seem so lovely, I see them walking along making an effort, I want to kiss them and undress them to free them from their clothes!

The fear I expressed about people touching me has clearly receded. I feel confident now that I can simply respond to however man is towards me.

Thank you all you gorgeous men that gently helped me to release & feel all the love this heart really does feel – it gushes more rich and deeply than before’. Susan, London

And a man adds his voice about the impact of true intimacy he finds in Secret Garden – Usually by midway through the retreat I am in a state of bliss and this retreat is no different. I would say that the three areas of health, wealth, and relationships have improved since I’ve been with Secret Garden. I am exercising more and eating healthier foods which have naturally improved my health. My relationships have expanded to include more loving and supportive people in my life. These practical benefits and the state of bliss, equally, keep me coming back to Secret Garden whenever I can.’

Nevertheless, awakenings end. The separate self re-appears. Yet life is never quite the same again after such an opening. Then integration of the new seeing into one’s ordinary daily life with its roles and responsibilities and agreements, is essential-and brings new gifts. And some things fall away if they are not serving  this new higher vibrational way of being. The Essence work supports both aspects of this natural evolution. It takes many years to build defences and cages. They are wholly seen through in awakeness but it is usual that moving from separate self to being and back to separation happens for many years. So it is intelligent make that prison more comfortable, while seeing clearly how it is made up. Embody the clear seeing and act from that, best you can, even when the source gift has disappeared from view.

The opening of falling in love is a taste of the same expansion beyond the separate self as is experienced in spiritual awakening, of life’s potency and wonder. The beloved one seems to be the compelling reason for this bliss. Projection and a dependency occurs as a result and a pact forms between the lovers (or life guide and student) to preserve the merged connection. Anything that threatens it becomes the enemy. Eventually, such delusion cannot hold. As with awakenings, the bliss comes to an end again. The phase of falling beyond self into love with a partner comes to an end. There is a landing in the reality of the apparent other’s ‘different-ness’. The projections may be eventually made conscious through therapy or conscious relating and the energy is claimed and recognised as being, all along, one’s own. This process of withdrawing projections, dismantling co-dependency and claiming back energy from a parent, teacher, lover, a or a boss who we haven’t seen clearly, can be very painful, especially without guidance or an understanding of what is trying to happen. If there is a lack of either context, lack of a strong container within the relationship, and lack of skills to communicate responsibly in order to move through the pain, and see through the projection, it is most likely that withdrawal, judgement and rejection happens instead. There is a refusal to deeply listen to one’s own being as well as that of the other. It is easier to run away from, push away, what is, in self and other. Deep listening can be painful.

What to do, instead of that, when what is feels like disillusionment? The only solution is to give up the ego’s sense of sovereignty and co-operate with nature. And learn the skills of authenticity, transparency, receptivity of another’s experience, sprinkled with a  good dose of humour, thus transmuting emotional reactivity, releasing all past, dismantling projection, victimhood and trance. Generally this requires clear, committed guidance from outside.

You can’t milk the romanticism of relationship for too long as you become more conscious.  It’s more wonder-ful than that.  It really is.  People keep wanting to make romance from their lives and their relating lives all the time.  It’s part of the culture, based on lies and longing. I want ‘the one’, the soul mate, the special thing. But the awakening process starts to show you the emptiness of that.  You start to ask for something deeper.  You start to wish to meet another human being in (relative) truth.  And human truth, intimacy, is frightening.  It is every thing. Truth is fearful sometimes, or angry, truth as the group participant you sit next to has body odour, truth as the woman you are with is boring (to a separate mind), truth is the other’s withdrawing and blaming tendencies, truth as the man you are with forgets his phone.

Then perhaps you begin to see how you keep coming to the same place in your significant relationships, and after the falling in love is over, the ‘ring pass not’ is your excuse to give up, either by leaving or settling for dull, resentful compromise together.  Your rationale is that it’s too heavy and intense or painful. Or you become stifled by co-dependency or feel guilty about your partner’s unhappiness and don’t know how else to relate. You feel disappointed by something the other does. You judge and withdraw. You need to be free.

Actually what’s happening is your false identity is being threatened too much.  For the relationship to move to the next level of truth (and therefore also more love) requires a willingness to open and a vulnerability that – in truth – you’re not ready to make. And to make this even trickier to navigate and move through, you are likely in a romantic relationship to have attracted someone who mirrors you. For example, one partner may have very obvious commitment issues, and their partner is very likely to have them too, but perhaps they are hidden beneath a ‘committed, caring’ persona. If you both refuse the challenge (invitation) life brings, all goes to waste. If you leave and ask for a relationship where ‘that never happens again’, you trade a partner in, then meet exactly the same things once the first flush of falling in love is over. You are doomed to repeated disappointment until you have fully met that energy or patterning in ‘you’. If- and it’s likely this will require the support of a guide and the best are fully free of their own patterns of refusal – you keep opening to what is disliked in the other, watch it, embrace it and you keep deepening in your response to this truth,  you can realize that there’s no good or bad about it.  It’s all innocent. Choiceless. And only life’s invitation to simply be. This does of course require that both partners are committed to take this ‘journey’ beyond their ring-pass-nots.

So, being ‘in love’ for most human beings, usually brings, after the first flush of ‘falling’ into opening, joy, love and freedom, many variations of pain, such as feelings of jealousy, of possible loss, of  anxiety,  of abandonment, of wanting to control the other.  These feelings have at their root a lack of  self-worth and self-love.  It can be incredibly hard to let go of these feelings because the pain is certain, known, strangley safe, and part of an identity, whereas freedom means uncertainty and the unknown.  The painful feelings ask simply for recognition. There is nothing wrong with them. In full presence, in tender, total embrace, they dissolve. In honouring those less glamorous aspects of our human nature, we can come to see how wondrous ‘ordinary life’ and being human is.

One thing that is deeply longed for is that a partner will accept all that is, in nature, in the human being. We are taught that what is, simply is not ok. There must be something more, more perfect, more fulfilling. This is largely because most people have learned only to act out their pain, rather than embrace it and transmute it and then, if necessary, and only then, speak of it. This falling out of love, though it seems to be about loss and disillusionment, is fundamentally a powerful invitation to WAKE UP & STAY AWAKE. The world, including those lovers that have come and gone, is the invitation to see through the world, to relish not the appearances, but being itself. As Kabir says ‘Behold but One in all things it is the second that leads you astray’ – there was no-one there who was the one you projected that there was. All there is, is simply what is. And in awakeness that is so much more than good enough. It is wondrous, yet grounded in the ‘real’.

So once you are in these apparent relationships and aware of yourself as separate in them, how do you deal with the strong emotions that come? Simply – Hold the intention to embrace feelings of fear, not to make them into feelings of love, simply because they already ARE love. Simple, not easy. When rage, fright, jealousy, anger and disappointment arise, it means we have fallen out of consciousness of being. It is frightening to apparently lose the love. But if there is an illusory dream of ‘I’, with its appearance of separation, it is inevitable. Life and love are all things, dark and light, hard times and easy times, and the personality does not like that.

This is why Essence work – diving deep beneath feelings, and the Aliveness Moving, Stillness Listening meditation, and ho’oponopono-are at the heart of Secret Garden. It is so beautiful to witness people wake up, as if they shed a whole shell. Miracles unfold then because miracles are the natural reality. The person you desire or respect so much has the ability to wobble your long-held ego certainties and hiding patterns. Listen, then, with a  kind attention, in the safe container of your quiet ‘practice’ time, to the old, repressed experiences love and light has woken up in you. Notice that all of it is simply sensation-al life which your mind rejects with layers of interpretation and analysis.  Are you really that small?

Can you continue to come back to love itself, even in a relationship with someone you’re compulsive about? Or can you move towards someone you do not trust? It’s not easy to do. But it’s absolutely growth-inducing. Don’t run away from someone because they make you feel mad or hopeless; show up to the challenge life is bringing you and change. Do you need to feel greater inner security that isn’t dependent on circumstance? Do you need to learn to let go more easily? Do you learn to forgive and move on? Then use the opportunities relating and falling in love brings you- to wake up. Fall in love with BEING. Do you wish to know, in every way, in all circumstances, that you are love? You can do this. You can grow into the simply being truth of who you are.

When you realize that your partner/teacher/ parent/child/life is not the enemy, but is the means by which you can transform, gratitude, humility and willingness can emerge. Make sure you show them your appreciation. Thank them for the gift of your aliveness. Secret Garden practices assist you day by day to follow the winding path into embodied love, Joyful Loving. They allow a dialogue with the unmet, unloved, ‘not good enough’ aspects of your being, rejected and hidden long ago. And they give you support to re-member to See What Is Seeing. Until it is all that is.

If you are a couple who experience that you are separate people and personalities yet wish to continue relating after the falling in love phase has ended, the bliss, and disagreements trigger the ‘I need to win’ buttons, and veil that seeing of what is adored, oneness can be re-discovered in conscious shared life and lovemaking, through gateways which can be activated with transparent conscious communication, consciousness, breath and subtle movements.

Conditioned thought, fantasy, demands for satisfaction and excitement or for certain lifestyles do not awaken or sustain this subtle energetic stream –consciousness and a loving embrace of all that is does that – but they are the root of it. Yet spiritual enquiry has for too long denied sexual energy so that it becomes repressed and devitalises the whole experience of life. Stillness, clarity, consciousness and presence allow the opening of this stream. Through relating with consciousness, sensation-al bodily life and awareness become more and more refined. From being based purely in the genitals, sexual energy awakens the entire body and the focus on the genital area relaxes. Sexual life force energy can then energise the energetic body.

Joyful Loving invites you into experiential play with these gateways and how to open them and circulate the enlivened sexual energy between you and your partner. This increases bonding, enhances the genital -heart connection and the energetic exchange between masculine and feminine energy which is at the heart of Joyful Loving. Stillness, presence and exquisite orgasmic aliveness throughout the body become part of every day life. The physical act of making love becomes quite literally a making of love at a cellular level in the body.

Nature invites a delicious falling in love in order to lead you on into committed relating and through and beyond that, into the inner ‘journey’ of dismantling what is not love and awakening to large-ness beyond the separate self, the changeless beyond everything that changes. In love, everything, including a loved one’s apparent imperfections, is perfect. Everything is included, all the messiness of life, relating and the dysfunction of personalities, unconditionally, in ineffable love. Light is not something other than the human journey, it radiates out of the most disturbing emotional circumstances. Yet, the more it is realised that love is not outside, that nothing can be held onto, the more serene life and relating becomes. Yet, another paradox, love is out of time and space. There is no ‘being in the moment’. It is beyond comparison and time and the mind’s opinions about this and that aspect of an apparent ‘other’. It is direct, natural experience, by no-one.

As fixed, held positions dissolve, in this spiralling human journey, relating may become easier and more harmonious, whether circumstances change or not, or they may come to a natural and ease-ful completion. Beliefs assert less and less hold. The need to control one’s life and experiences softens. It is worth saying that awakening, the glimpses of one in fragmentation, of nothing in everything, and the creation of a healthy and high functioning relating life – is an apparent journey into increased aloneness. And in full realisation, relating does not arise from need, but that doesn’t mean that a preference for sharing and connecting, being human in all-one-ness, cannot arise. All-one-ness is not the same as separation or independence, or interdependence, there is no comparison or meeting point. Wholeness cannot connect to because there is no separation! Being is enough.

If it is seen that relating is just what is happening, is not between “me” and “you,” but between temporary identities or points of view that –first – both originate in being, there is release from suffering. The walls tumble down. It is possible for two separate selves, if they are interested in conscious living, and are not yet free beings, to transcend the sense of “I” and “you,” “my point of view” and “your point of view,” “my needs” and “your needs.” And look after a larger, shared, picture. Remind each other with kindness that beneath all identity and form is what is formless. Nature is only ever one, it was never two.

In mature exploration of life, through meditation and self-enquiry, or through sport or art, or nature, an awakened state beyond separation might be experienced tasted by the still separate individual, the state is experienced at a  certain time and the state comes and goes, just as profound connection within a couple or family comes and goes, depending on the level of attention given to bringing consciousness into the connections. So nature invites you over and over again to watch the projection and its inevitable judgements with enough space around it that it can unravel, and free yourself of the egocentric perspective that  makes your role of loving another and being in love with a particular one more important than actuality of love which is ever-present, impersonal and unconditional.  It is only in letting go of the personal and our need to be loved and to love that love is revealed, in all things.

The revelation beyond the falling in love can be that love need not be found through an apparent other, it is simply what is, always, whatever is apparently happening. And anything can arise, including boundaries, conflict, exquisite lovemaking, tiredness and on and on. Of course, trying to get this state is inherently coming from separation from love and is doomed to failure.

An individual committed to continued spiritual practice (and in some rare cases without it) may experience the state of oneness in love for days or weeks or months, just as the honeymoon in love relating can last for months. There may be strong longing to return to this beingness. Nothing can be done to bring it back, however, just as nothing can be done to persuade the lost ‘perfect love’ to return.

Daily Essence and forgiveness practice with its reflective enquiry, contemplation, deep listening and conscious lovemaking and relating is to enhance the quality of daily experience. To help you find your own answers as the story unfolds-what is life asking you for next? Separate? Disconnected from the truth of being? Get on the mat.

Consciousness-enquiry-increased consciousness – realisation-integration is the way to heal lost love and a closed heart. There can be glimpses that even the bruised, fighting separate self is also oneness. This is the ruthlessly tender compassion that dismantles illusion.

Only grace brings liberation, however.

Perhaps, by grace and without any cause, beyond time and space and personal story, it is realised by the apparent individual that there is, and has never been, any separation on any level except as an appearance. It is seen that this wondrous revelation is and never has been created by anything the individual did or did not to. Love is not an activity done or experienced by ‘someone, it’ simply is, without concept. No-thing else is. And, Love is not and never has been a separate entity to ‘get’. Wanting, including the need for love, dissolves totally. Love is all there is.

There is a love which is actually not a function of attachment or obsession at all. The ancient Greeks used the word agape for the recognition of oneness, the realization that Being is always seeing itself and there is no ‘other’, ‘outside’. Attachment and romantic infatuation do not cloud this.  Yet passion, the love, the anger, the lust, the fear, the desire, the rage—are all free to arise, still, for nobody.

Personal ‘love’ then, can (only apparently) evolve and blossom into love that is utterly unconditional. Life unfolds just as it is, in boundless freedom, an endless falling in love with what is happening, an elbow, a disagreement, an ice cream cone, birdsong, a baby’s cry, a friend’s story, a lover and this beingness the same oneness, endlessly bringing pleasure.

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