It’s really challenging to practice living a third stage relationship when your partner’s in a different place emotionally and spiritually. Recently, it occurred to me that perhaps that’s exactly the point. What kind of challenge would it be if you were both deeply, consistently committed to seeing the good and expressing our divinity through the context of your relationship? What kind of growth would be possible?
Lately my partner has been “slipping in his magnificence.” He was busy at work and has been quite distracted because of it. I haven’t been feeling his presence, even when he’s physically around. I know from past history that my tendency is to withdraw; to prevent myself from getting hurt by withdrawing my love first. I’m conscious of this tendency and working to shift it, and yet still I feel moments when I want to withdraw.
The practice really begins in the third stage when one of us slips in our magnificence. It’s so easy in those moments where one of us slips, to return to known patterns of behavior that have protected us in the past. He’s acting in old ways, which serves as a trigger for me to revert to my old patterns.
And yet, committing to being in the third stage in a relationship is about consciousness. It’s about rigorously remembering and about keeping your eyes and your heart wide open, not just when things are good but even when they’re not; especially when they’re not. That’s the practice, and that’s why it can be called the yoga of relationships. It’s a practice of remembering, of opening to Grace, of breathing deeply all that life has to offer, even when that offering brings pain and suffering. In those times of suffering, we can look for the good. We can look for the lesson, and we can remember the Hindu story of Lord Shiva and the poison.
The story goes that Lord Shiva in his infinite compassion, drank from the ocean of consciousness all the poison therein which would have destroyed the world. It turned his throat blue because he held it in his throat instead of swallowing it, and he was able to transform the poison into sweet nectar. In our society, we want the fast answer. We want the nectar immediately, but through the practice of relationship yoga we can come to transform what tastes like poison into sweet nectar. We can learn to take those times when we feel disconnected, dive into the ocean of our own consciousness, and find the pearl. We can use those moments of disconnect to go deeper into who we are and remember what is true and real.
Committing to being in the third stage in a relationship requires a certain transparency that goes beyond being truthful. It requires us to go deeper and confess the truth in our hearts. It required me to say to my partner, “I’ve been feeling really disconnected from you lately. What can we do about that?” He began his way back, remembering his magnificence. And we’ll see where this dance leads us.