Well, of course, it helps! But, it begs the bigger question, what is enlightenment?
There is little usefulness in thinking of enlightenment as a static state of unending bliss, unless perhaps you are a recluse living alone on a mountaintop somewhere.
Like us, you are probably in the world, engaged in the hustle and bustle of the modern marketplace with diverse value systems in which a permanent state of bliss can seem challenging, if not impossible. Or you might be sharing life’s path with intimate others who regularly ‘push your buttons’ despite your best intentions.
ENLIGHTENMENT IS THE PROCESS OF WAKING UP TO LOVE AS THE UNIFIED GROUND OF ALL LIFE.
Our definition of enlightenment is; the process of waking up to our greatest potential as spiritual beings. The operative words here are process and waking up. In our view, humanity is awakening to its connection to the greater whole, to the entire web of life and the universe. In our words, enlightenment is the process of waking up to Love as the unified ground of all life. If you live your life from this premise it changes everything, especially your relationships. It changes the prime directive for your life and how you participate with others. It changes your criteria for a successful relationship. Enlightenment is not ecstatically sitting in the lotus position alone, it is how you participate in life and with other people in an extraordinary and transformative way?
Your enlightened partnership is not defined by where you where are in consciousness – it defines where you are headed. It is not a thing, it is a dynamic process with which you participate intentionally to bring forth the best in one another. In 1976, we committed our romantic partnership to our mutual conscious evolution. That commitment sparked a spiritual adventure headed toward a new landscape, a new dimension of consciousness. Our quest was as vast as exploring a new continent or a new planet. For humanity, it is the new frontier. The inner landscape that has been invisible for most, will become visible for those who have the eyes to see it. This time our evolution won’t be seen by physical changes. It will be determined by what we can see with new evolutionary eyes. This adventure requires courage, vision and most of all heart because it changes everything.
Re-Imagine Your Partnerships
We define partnership as a relationship between individuals or groups characterized by mutual cooperation and personal responsibility, to achieve a specified goal. The key thing here is mutual cooperation and personal responsibility. We would also add commitment. Partners usually have something at stake, whether money or heart or both. Partnerships are intentional relationships. People enter into partnerships because they choose to create a future together.
To re-imagine your partnerships, you must start to think of your partnerships newly. Let’s begin with distinguishing the partners from the partnership itself. We use the metaphor of a garden. A garden is a separate entity from the gardeners. The gardeners have a vision for their garden that determines the seeds they plant. They nurture the garden so it will deliver what they want. They don’t turn to their fellow gardeners and demand vegetables. They understand the garden can only give back in accordance to what has been given to it. And so, it is with your partnerships. Your partner doesn’t determine what you receive how you both cultivate it does. If you are intentional with what you bring to your relationships you get better results.
Just as enlightenment is not a static state, stop seeing your relationships as static things. Rather, see it is a “space of possibilities”; a living, evolving, process with which you participate. For many, this concept represents a paradigm shift in their thinking about relationships. Relationships are alive and they have a flow of life in them and that flow has a direction.
What is the direction of the flow in your partnerships? Where is the partnership headed? What is the partnership focused on? It is the flow of a partnership that determines whether the partnership is enlightened or not. What distinguishes an enlightened partnership from an ordinary one is that it is always headed in a direction that honors the Spirit. Enlightened partners are motivated by a vision and passion that results in an extraordinary level of cooperation and creativity.
As teachers of spiritual relationships for 40 years we have confirmed the primary essence of the human spirit is love. When we make choices out of love we elevate our spirit. The opposite of love is fear. When we make choices out of fear we diminish the expression of our spirit in the world.
Therefore, an enlightened partnership is one that is committed to making choices out of love and an elevated vision rather than fear. In an enlightened partnership we ask ourselves, “What would love see here? What would love express here? What would love choose here? What choices honor the spirit in all of us?” These questions help us gain some spiritual altitude that delivers uncommon and inspiring solutions.
We use the terms enlightened partnerships and evolutionary relationships interchangeably. We also use the terms spiritual or soulful relationships to define relationships that honor the incandescent Light of spiritual awareness. We have found there are soul savvy skills that take us far beyond the ordinary relationships we used to settle for. And the learning of those skills requires regular practice to master. Just like being an extraordinary player of a musical instrument or a master of martial arts, you practice so you can be as proficient as you choose to be. The art of soulful relating requires practicing specific skills, as well. And you practice with others who have the same goal in mind.
If more people learn and practice the skills of enlightened partnerships what kind of future could we create together? In our experiment with this idea, with couples and in communities, we have found as people participate with their partnerships newly, and they ongoingly dedicate themselves and their partnerships to a soulful wisdom, compassion and trust, something quite remarkable happens. The partnership itself generates a life-giving force that elevates the partners involved. For us, it has been an experience of being more fully alive with a soaring freedom to be true to our greatest potential. The relationship itself becomes a space, a container so to speak, where the dignity, well-being and contributions of each member are honored in practical and imaginative ways.
Can You Create Enlightened Partnerships?
Are we enlightened? The most honest answer is yes and no. Remember we consider enlightenment as a process of awakening. This process is never ending because it involves the eternal nature of our individual souls. That means as advanced as we may develop in our comprehension of Truth and Spirit, it can always become more sublime. It can always get more expansive. The possibilities are truly infinite.
There are times when we easily shift the gears of our awareness to a soulful wisdom and love. There are other times when we are stretched to the limit of our capacity and we fall short. Falling short is a familiar experience for us because, as conscious evolutionaries we are living at the edge of our capacity.
But, if you ask us if we enjoy an enlightened partnership, we would unequivocally say, “Yes!” We have been loving and learning together for most of our adult life. We are wiser and more loving because of what we are dedicated to in our relationship with each other. We’ve had lots of ups and down, hard times and good times. We keep falling deeper in love with one another. Our experiment was to find out how to keep the love alive in our relationship and we discovered how to do that! It was to connect with a soulful love within our selves that never ends and then to share it with one another.
Even if this kind of enlightened relationship may seem impossibly on the moon for some of you, we know it is possible for anyone who is sufficiently motivated, willing to let go of preconceived notions and willing to learn and be coached in new skills, the world of enlightened partnerships opens to them. We know because we have been helping others do it for forty years.
If you re-imagine the purpose of your love relationship and dedicate it to bringing out the best in one another, every day in every way, you will begin to attain higher levels of consciousness that culminate in an ecstatic shift with your truest nature. You will find you don’t have a Higher Self – you are your Higher Self.