Every individual enters romantic relationships with a unique set of ideas and values based on their family systems, cultural norms, spiritual traditions, and past experiences. In many relationships, these remain unspoken, leading to disappointments, misunderstandings, and betrayals. The best gift partners can offer each other is to begin saying some of these out loud, so that there is opportunity to meet each other more often than disappointing each other and to create conscious and intentional commitments.
When I was first introduced to buddhist philosophy, I thought it was negative. I did not understand the focus on suffering and on death. The first teaching has to do with the reality that sickness, old age, and death are a part of life for all of us. In my buddhist community, our daily chants and contemplations include the line, “death is real and comes without warning.” This is followed by a contemplation of our precious human birth and a commitment to make the most of our time here.
During the last few weeks, every person I saw in the Bay Area was clearly impacted in some way by the changes in our political climate. As a couples therapist, I witness the impact of this on people’s intimate relationships. Those who are feeling fear, grief, and anger about the political situation need to turn to their partners for support and care. But, for many couples, this is not easy.
By taking time to be with ourselves in silence, we develop a capacity meet our life experience in a more naked and transparent way. When we are no longer trying to control our life to make it more comfortable or less uncomfortable, there is profound creativity possible.
“Understand that, just as a bird needs two wings to fly, you must develop wisdom and compassion simultaneously. Wisdom is a correct understanding of reality and compassion is the desire for all beings to be liberated from the causes of suffering.” Mattheiu Richard
In our yoga practice, when we move into a new or uncomfortable space and allow ourselves to feel what is present either physically or emotionally, we develop our capacity to feel more on all levels in our lives.
I believe that when we experience true intimacy with others, moments of simple presence without conditions or expectations, where we are naked and unguarded, we can get a glimpse of our inner being or our deeper nature.