Anyone can have sex. Don't you want to make make an honest, deep, lasting connection with someone?
Love. Sex. Boys. Girls. The same problems and frustrations again and again. We've been there countless times, wondering when we'll find that ONE, that perfect person we want to stay with forever and ever.
Even in a relationship, we reach a point where the person we're with doesn't feel as special as he or she used to. Maybe we start picking at flaws or noticing other people, wondering if we'd be happier with them. And once again, the relationship begins its slow decline.
What if you could guarantee a spark that lasted—no matter who you were with—and a happier life to go along with it?
The ancient teachings of Buddhism suggest that we can do just that if we transform our relationships into spiritual partnerships. If we use our relationships to make us wiser, kinder and more compassionate, we can actually change how they function. We can have the relationships and lives we've always dreamed of.
So what exactly is a spiritual partner? He or she is an ally for personal growth. You both decide that you want to work together to become your best selves as quickly as possible. You commit to helping and loving each other—and, here's the key—everyone around you.
Because, it is only when you are living love and kindness that your relationship will truly flourish. Try it and see. When put into practice, you can make all your dreams come true.
How do you do it? Whether you're in a relationship or seeking a new one, here are 10 methods for building a spiritual partnership.
1. Commit to something higher.
The element that elevates a spiritual partnership beyond an ordinary relationship is the revolutionary idea that your role is to support each other on your path to reach ultimate evolution, to become your best self.
Get clear that what you are looking for is not just physical security or emotional support but spiritual evolution. This means you are supporting each other in your mutual quest to become a more "enlightened" being.
Whatever goals you set for your relationship will dictate how it functions day to day. If your goal is company, or financial security, don't expect long-term satisfaction. If your goal is radical evolution of your body, mind and spirit, expect fulfillment beyond your dreams.
2. Be what you want your partner to be.
Make a list of the qualities you most want in a partner. Instead of looking for amazing features in someone else, develop them in yourself. For example: If you want a partner with financial stability, get stable yourself! You want someone fun? BE fun!
The beauty of perception is that you will see all your own qualities, both good and bad, reflected back to you in your partner. Be complete in yourself, and you will see completion in your partner.
3. Cleanse past relationships.
Think of your exes. What comes to mind? If it's anything other than love, you have some work to do. The images and feelings that arise in your memory color how you experience your current relationships.
Learn to forgive. No matter how bad your past relationship was, it taught you exactly what you needed to learn.
4. Recognize change and use it to grow.
Part of healing past relationships is embracing change. In Buddhist philosophy, this understanding is the foundation of wisdom. There's no start without a finish, no beginning without an end, no life without death.
Your relationship will transform as you each evolve. As spiritual partners, your job is to love and support each other through this process. Use change for growth—don't fight it.
5. Cultivate a daily meditation practice.
If you want to see a wise, loving, spiritual partner, you must be that yourself. Create a daily practice that includes meditation, prayer or deep contemplation.
There are a multitude of studies that prove the mental and physical health benefits of meditation. Learning to get still and meditate well is just like anything else: it takes training. Find and practice a method that speaks to you and connects you to something higher.
The time and attention you give your meditation practice determines the results you will get. And don't let it scare you—you can start with just a few minutes a day. For guidance, check out dhamma.org.
6. Get physical, every day.
Touch, intimacy and connection are essential ingredients of spiritual partnerships. A satisfying intimate relationship starts with having a body that you feel good in.
Yogic teachings explore the subtle energetic connections we have with each other. In order to access these deeper dimensions, your physical form must be healthy.
Commit to a healthy diet that works with your needs. Commit to an exercise regimen that enlivens you. Do something fun! Turn yourself on, and watch what happens in your intimate partnership…
7. Face your demons.
We all have baggage, right? We all have shadows that we don't want to see. Being in a spiritual partnership requires that we grow up into the person we were meant to be.
An essential step is bringing what we most deny in ourselves into the open. Partnerships are challenging. Your relationship is going to bring all your darkness to the surface. This is usually when the relationship ends, or when the "blame game" starts.
Resolve instead to help each other work through the psychological issues that arise. And don't think they won't arise! Find a good coach or therapist, as necessary. Do this work and watch your hearts flower and your minds expand. Otherwise your own shadows will inevitably undo your relationship.
8. Plan a date with an angel, twice a month (at least!).
How you treat your relationship will create the results you experience. Is this the most special person on the planet to you? If so, how should you treat them? If you relate to them as a sacred being, they will be. If you treat them as ordinary, they will be.
Make a commitment that you will have a "date with an angel" twice a month. Remember the blissful feelings when you first met and re-create those times.
Dress up, go out to the best restaurant, or make his/her favorite meal at home. Take time to make everything special. Think about what they would like: flowers, gifts, the works!
9. Align your visions.
A spiritual partnership is all about supporting each other's deepest desires. In order to stay together, your two visions must align. Ask each other: What do you most wish for? What is calling you? Explore these questions with courage and honesty.
Your visions don't need to agree, but they need to align. Find the common aspects of both of your visions for the future. Maybe one of you wants to live abroad, while the other wants to live near family.
Instead of getting caught in dualism, look for "third ways." We can move mom with us! Or live each place six months a year.
10. Go for your dreams.
We are all meant to be the heroes of our own lives. No one can do it for you, even your spiritual partner. The best thing you can do for your relationship is to become the being you dream of, the being you were born to be.
Kimberley Theresa is an expert in Buddhism, yoga, mysticism and psychology. She is the co-Founder and Executive Director of the Yoga Studies Institute (YSI), a global not-for-profit organization that trains yoga teachers on the inner and outer methods of yoga.
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