Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Robert Augustus Masters - The Evolution of Intimate Relationship

Integral Life's series called Integral Post features leaders in that community penning an article a month (give or take). One of those leaders is Robert Augustus Masters - and his most recent article is from the Introduction to the reissue of his excellent book, Transformation Through Intimacy: The Journey Toward Awakened Monogamy.

The Evolution of Intimate Relationship

Image: Double Helix by Mark Henson
Robert Augustus Masters shares the introduction to his new book, Transformation Through Intimacy: The Journey Toward Awakened Monogamy, now available for preorder on Amazon.

Intimate relationship has over the last four or five decades evolved so far from its long-established ways—mutating in diverse directions—that its very nature and structuring, once a largely unquestioned given, is clearly up for some deep questioning and reformulating.

Reformulating, revisioning, restructuring, reinventing—how we tend to look at intimate relationship is changing almost as rapidly as intimate relationship itself.

One result of this is that many of us do not have a particularly clear view of intimate relationship and its possibilities. Nonetheless, we have to admit that something is different about intimate relationship now. We look back just two generations, and it seems as if we’re looking back many hundreds of years. Things are shifting that fast.

For a very long time, intimate relationship was viewed and lived, with few exceptions, as an alternative—and not necessarily an equivalent alternative!—to spiritual life. There was the householder, and there was the spiritual seeker, and there wasn’t much overlap between them. As wide as this split was for men, it was even wider for women. Intimate relationship was something you did—or endured—until there was cultural permission to do something “deeper.”

Now there not only is a significant amount of cultural permission—small by conventional standards yet substantial enough to register on societal radar screens—for something “deeper” to happen within intimate relationship, but also an increasing pull toward it. So intimate relationship has, at its leading edge, become less a prelude to spiritual opening and awakening, and more a catalyst or crucible for it.

Read the whole column.
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