Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yet Another Integral Relationship Post


Love is an expression of the willingness to create space in which something is allowed to change.

~ Harry Palmer

When I think of God, or whatever we want to call the Eros of the Kosmos, it’s the word Eros that fuels my understanding of what God is. Lots of Christians will tell you that God is Love, but I don’t think very many of them mean it in the way I envision it. In my version, the love that defines God is the drive toward change and growth that is inherent in evolution, both personal and universal.

This got me to thinking, as is often the case of late, about how different memes express values like love. Most Christians are at the Blue/Orange meme level (check this out for an explanation of memes and levels) and so their version of love is a lot less open and vast.

I don’t think I am a second tier person in any real sense, but I can conceptualize with second tier ideas and visions. At second tier, love doesn’t have the grasping qualities that it often does (not always) in first tier. Love is the vastness that allows and encourages the beloved to grow into whatever s/he will become.

The old cliche poster says:

If you love something, set if free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.

If you can look past the possession thing (very first tier), the first line is right on target. When we love someone, we have to create the space for the other person to grow and change -- and the other person, if the relationship is to work, must do the same thing. In a very real sense, that kind of love requires us to set the beloved free -- free from our expectations, free from our grasping, free from our needs.

Last week when I posted that Kira and I had to be willing to give up the relationship in order to get through the conflict we were stuck in, many people, I think, saw that as a lack of commitment that being married would negate. On the other hand, we see it as the measure of our commitment to loving each other that we would sacrifice our needs for the other’s happiness and growth. One of the most important elements of our commitment to each other is our commitment to each other’s growth.

I am constantly searching for what a second tier, integral vision of love and relationship might look like. I think this is an important part of it.

On that note, Kira and I are considering starting an Integral Relationship blog -- sort of an ongoing conversation on the topic (with occasional theoretical posts from me, because that’s what I do). We are also considering the option of including two others, a man and a woman, to offer divergent opinions and ideas. Is there any interest in this? Would any of you read a blog like this?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous said...

I agree that there's a definite element of unconditional love -- that we're absolutely committed to each other's happiness and growth, even if it means the end of our relationship.

But my take on us being willing to give up the relationship is different from yours -- and I think about this more and more as I read Embracing Each Other. The traditional template for romantic relationships in our culture includes a piece about compromise, and I believe it's ingrained in us to such an extent that we go into relationships with an assumption that we have to suppress and bury a lot of who we are in order to be in relationship at all. In other words, it becomes a "given" -- a requirement of intimate relationship. When people do this (past a reasonable point of being flexible), we may silence ourselves and turn our back on aspects of us that are really part of our core self, assuming (however unconsciously) that we have to give up parts of ourself to have a relationship. We end up abandoning ourselves, and that's a surefire recipe for messing up intimacy.

So when I said I got to a point of being willing to give up the relationship, I meant I was no longer willing to bail on myself (and I also didn't want you to bail on yourself). And paradoxically, reclaiming ourselves and our individual bottom lines seems to be exactly what is catapulting us to the next level in our relationship. And it makes perfect sense (now that we've moved through the roughest patch): our relationship suffers when we don't bring our authentic selves to it, and it thrives when we bring our authentic selves to it. We spark each other's growth when we're being real with each other, and we're more able to be real when we're connected to ourselves.

One last thought: I reached a point of being willing to give up the relationship if need be, but it was also a place of fiercely wanting to be able to be my full self AND be in our relationship. I felt (and continue to feel) fierce about not having to give up the relationship to stay connected with myself. It felt like some kind of insistence that it must be possible to have, and be, both. I'm going to continue to be fierce about that, and I trust that you will, too.

The Zero Boss said...

My wife and I have gone through similar upheavals in our relationship - ultimately, for the better.

A critical point: When you let yourself be authentic, you perceive your partner in an entirely new light. The relationship opens up in new dimensions, because you are actively working to abandon whatever stories about their behavior you've been concocting in your own mind. It's a renewal, and it has the potential of changing your dynamic with your partner completely - all due to a change in your own consciousness. That's how it's felt for me, at least.

I wish you two the very best moving forward.

Anonymous said...

Relationships are a perennial area of interest for me, plus I find your posts on every subject interesting; combine the two, and heck yeah I'd be interested in reading that blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes , yes!!!

This is something that I am very interested in myself, just that I find relationship itself to be the most tranforming practice.