The first gate to the deeper love is right here in your own heart. It opens through the longing to meet another without masks, to experience real intimacy without having to compromise who you are. Even if you are already in an intimate relationship, it is valuable to take time to connect with that place within you that longs just to relax all defenses and to experience unity with another. Ignored, it becomes a nagging feeling of restlessness and discontent. Honored, the longing to share real love simply and openly becomes the very fuel you need to rise to a new way of relating. The deeper you can allow yourself to feel your longing, using your breath to stay present in the body, without creating stories or projecting your feeling onto an external image, the more you can open to a source of fulfillment that is not related to any outer event or relationship.
When you can simply feel the raw essence of your longing, you come closer to your own presence, which in some spiritual traditions is referred to as the beloved, the friend, or simply love. We are not talking about the kind of love that comes and goes, the feeling of love, but the love that you are, that all things are made of. Often what happens when we make another person the object of our longing is that we lean too far out of ourselves, and we lose connection with our own presence. Your relationship now becomes an effort to supply what you think you are missing, it is based in a feeling of lack. It is in the source of your longing that you find your own fullness.
This is the only thing that can ever truly satisfy you.
This fullness does not necessarily mean that you will always want to be alone; on the contrary, it can open the gates into a relationship of deep joy and satisfaction. Even when you rest in your own fullness, you will probably experience a pull toward relating. But this pull is different from the mere desire to get satisfaction from another.
You are aligning yourself with the evolutionary force that pushes you to live your full potential, to fully blossom into your exuberant human beauty, and to share it with another. Having walked through the gate of longing, we find ourselves face-to-face with the next gate. The key that will unlock this gate is the transformative power of commitment.
Conscious relationship starts with you. Many of us wait for the “right one” to come along, or if we already are in a relationship we wait for that one day our partner will change. The sobering truth is that if we already live in compromise we attract compromised relationships. If we live in integrity with ourselves, we will attract a partner whose life is aligned with his or her deepest values. We don’t have to wait until the perfect one comes along or until our partner changes before committing ourselves to the deeper love.
You can get married right now – to love itself.
To begin, allow yourself to feel just how important it is to you, to let your life be a reflection of your deepest values. Yes, your life might be full of distraction, full of habits of protection and defense, but look deeper than all this. If you were to die tomorrow, what would be essential to you right now?
When you stop and inquire like this, you get in touch with your commitments. There is no need to make anything up or to set lofty goals for the future. It is more a process of revealing, of rediscovering, what is already here. These are your deepest values, maybe often ignored, but still there; the naked reflection of your innocent heart.
Before marrying anyone, marry these values themselves.
To commit to live your life by these values is the initiation into conscious relating.
(from my upcoming book Embodying the Feminine)