THE YOGA OF LOVE: FIVE VALUES FOR EVOLVING IN RELATIONSHIP: A TREATISE
- What is love: The Necessary Components of Conscious Love
- The Sensual Experience
- Five Components of Conscious Love
- The Role of Respect in Love
- What is respect?
- Where does Respect come from?
Is it innate; need it to be built or created? And maintained?
- What are Values and what does it mean to share values?
- Concentricity of Shared Values and Goals.
- Independent yet Connected
- Core Values evolve but not change..
- Real Communication is Empathic Connection3
- Empathic connection as part of the experience of respect and shared values. All of which are components of conscious love.
- Empathic connection in communication supports and evolves into a Loving Relationship.
- Commitment to Support of The Other’s Independent Growth Process
- Never being a stumbling block is the beginning of support
- Ways in which we support each other’s growth and development
- The Experience of Chemistry in Relationships
- Spiritual Chemistry: how spiritual values and practices are shared
- Intellectual Chemistry: sharing creative interests and practices
- Emotional Chemistry: sharing an emotional understanding of ourselves and the other through an impartial self observer
- Physical Chemistry: based on the physical type and shared lifestyle.
- Commitment to Consciously Love: Real Love is Conscious
- Everyone CAN consciously love: ONLY IF he/she willfully, consistently choose to do so.
- This choice is to be made in each and every moment, each and every day.
- When all 5 values are engaged there is the commitment to consciously love in the relationship.
We have decided to share our 50 year relationship journey in order to inform and inspire those that read it. Love is perhaps the most powerful yet most misunderstood energy and reality in this universe. Our story, like any good tale, will give the ways we have spent the last 50 years living Love through our commitment to this process called yogic love. Dedicated to utilizing a variety of challenging experiences, defining moments, if you will, it is our prayer that the wisdom we have derived from our practices will serve as a beacon for you in your journey toward the true meaning of Love. The information shared is a distillation, a purified expression of the essence of our understandings that we developed throughout the years.
It is essential in any relationship that each person is or becomes clear on what it is that they want, need and have purpose for in their own individual lives. At the same time, wanting to share their lives with another who can align with that direction, purpose and meaning.
A Relationship is a dynamic interplay of different qualities of energy that each of the participants brings to any given interaction. There are different energies that makeup relationships and they flow together in a synergistic whole which has varying degrees of balance or imbalance. Some of the qualities originate from the emotional center and involve a deep sense of knowing without words. Other qualities are intellectual in nature and present a sense of order or ‘fit’ which is experienced as a level of awareness of life and another both derived from one’s life experiences. There are also physical qualities that are present which stem from instinctive energies that flow between the individuals within the relationship. This is what most people call attraction.
The most significant energy is the spiritual experience within a relationship which is the cumulative resultant, consciously or unconsciously experienced from the interplay of the first three kinds of energies and something more to boot. In any real relationship there is an additional energy that comes from a higher source. All these energies evolve and come alive in a dynamic and flowing manner and grow in each individual when there is a real relationship that has been consciously committed to and practiced each and every day
This is a book about the nature, meaning and committed practice of creating a conscious relationship. It is a book for anyone and everyone who has an interest in this vital component of our human existence. We all live on this planet in relationships of varying kinds and therefore, whether we know it or not, have a need to be more conscious of our experiences within them. We are sharing this, our journey, as a married couple of 50 years so that it may provide some input of value to the reader about how to have more functional and peaceful relationships. Intrinsic and vital to this journey is our exploration of what it means to Love.
The nature of working to create any real relationship is like creating a painting or sculpture that is alive as a work of art which exists within and beyond the individuals in the relationship itself. This living being comes to life through the care and attention given into the relationship so that a five-dimensional work of art and being takes shape in our day to day reality. The process of conscious love is the substance that describes this work of art.
Chapter One: What is Love?
What is this force called love?
Perhaps the easiest to imagine or describe is the sensual experience of love. This includes all those experiences which are connected to the physical body. Each sense has a diverse and colorful input into what is generally called the sensual aspect of love. The sense experience of sight contributes to what we often feel is intense attraction or perfect fit/type which defines what we would like to believe is our ideal. The sense experience of smell is more subtle and involves the presence of pheromones. The sense of sound involves voice and other physical manifestations which contribute to our definition of ‘love’ in the physical realm. The sensory input we derive from what we see, smell, hear and touch and a general sense of polarity toward another person all describe a sensory-based definition of what is generally called
love yet is but one dimension of the complexity of what we define as conscious love.
This dimension of sensual attraction, as an exclusive means of determining relationship, is limited because it excludes all the many more subtle inputs going on at the same time which we are generally not aware of. When we first met 50 years ago there was an awareness, within each of us, which we both were graced with, of something beyond the immediate sensory world. Michelle and I always had an orientation to looking deeper. We met in a context that was ‘deeper dimension’ oriented. On our first date we talked for hours on the meaning and spiritual context of the “Exorcist”. This interaction, and many more of this kind of interaction, encompassed the sensual attraction immediaately. Therefore, in any relationship it is important to ‘see’ that there are invisible, nonsensual energy experiences that do occur at subtle or subliminal levels that we must directly and willfully attend to in order to perceive them. They are there, and they may not always be positive. These will reveal themselves if we pay attention.
When we met we also knew that we each had an interest in areas of life that involved deeper meaning, purpose, and direction to the nature of life itself. This fact was a very important part of the fabric of our connection and marked the beginning of our journey together into these enchanted woods called conscious love.
This brief description provides the context of the art of love that is sculpted along the way of our journey. In fact, this whole experience has a special energy quality that resonates throughout the time spent together in any relationship that is intended to be a more conscious one. The interests and values (more importantly) that we shared also produced an energy that was well beyond what was sensual.
Therefore process of inner awakening is the first aspect of creating any work of art, and conscious love as such, involves this. This awakening process consists of different elements that are dynamically interconnected and are experienced in a natural or organic way. That is, they come alive in us as we practice.
Any and all the practice that goes on first takes form as an inner psychological process. Whenever we try to impartially observe ourselves it is essential that there is total inner honesty. This awareness and observation process also requires humility in being able to accept what we see in ourselves. If we so choose, sharing our observations with each other can create a deepening of the connection in the relationship. Eventually this latter phenomenon is what organically will take place as the work to awaken the inner neutral observer occurs.
Therefore, what attracts us to a partner clearly, has many levels to this experience. To reiterate, the physical attraction is not necessarily a very discriminating process. In this case what we are simply experiencing is the physiology of attraction. This is a primal experience that manifests in relation to our biological clocks and stages of development in the human life cycle. This primal experience allows us to survive as a species. We always need to remember that the human being however is far more than a physiological mechanism. We, as humans, are POTENTIALLY so much more. This fact can only be understood through awareness and discernment of all the aspects of our human experience, especially in relationships.
Carrying this thought and theme further we can see that the common denominator of what is called love is filled with certain feelings, thoughts, and sensations in the body that are actually on the surface of real Love. The Encarta College Dictionary defines love as an intense feeling of tender affection and compassion. It also defines different kinds of intensity such as a romantic affair; strong liking; or passionate attraction and desire. Sometimes a misrepresentation of love is experienced in the form of an uncontrollable need, even compulsion, to be part of another’s life experience. This definition is only a beginning, and sometimes a deadend, in the journey wecall real love.
This way of experiencing/practicing the love described above, however, if improperly engaged, can lead to many difficulties which result in disappointment, despair, or even anger and hostility. Some other forms of what is called love, also not uncommon, include the experience of sharing and enjoying a particular hobby or activity; enlivening friendship or even sexual release. All of these experiences with a common base of immediate desire satisfaction, are limited in relation to the true purpose, and meaning as well as the potential of real love. The purpose and meaning has infinite aspects or levels and will be unraveled as we go forward in this journey.
Chapter 2: Mutual Respect as the Beginning Foundation for Real Love
One definition of the meaning of respect (Encarta) is a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward another with accompanying feelings of consideration or thoughtfulness. However, there can be no respect for another without first feeling respect for oneself. Respect for ourselves comes from our experience of a loving connection to the core of our being. Each within ourselves. It is unique and personal for each of us. That experience may also come from some form of love for a higher or universal reality. It may also come from a connection to some invisible forces that are experienced as nurturing the greatest Good within ourselves, most significantly in relation to our sense of identity.
One of the first manifestations of this experience of connection and respect may take form in the context of nurturing relationships such as with parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts or siblings or a dear friend. The potential for feeling and evolving respect is inherent in us and yet always needs to be nurtured to be maintained. The experience of respect, as a fundamental human quality, is something that can never be taken for granted.
Within this dimension or component of real/conscious love, called respect, is the active internal psychological process of discrimination or discernment. Discernment is when our deeper human faculties are accessed in a deliberate manner so that the thoughts, efforts, and feelings surrounding the being to be respected and ultimately loved, including ourselves, are naturally felt but also consciously developed. That is, we need always be aware of and in control of what the feeling of respect entails, in detail, and therefore can ultimately initiate it at will when appropriate. Over time information, knowledge and experience is gained about another person. We then use that information to understand what is it about this person that is respectable for us. Then the process of conscious love begins.
Chapter 3: Sharing a Common Denominator of Core Values
What are core values? What do they mean and imply? These core values are an expression of the deep sense of purpose and meaning that we attribute to our lives. These core values also inherently evoke the inner and outer direction we need to take to unite with and become that PURPOSE. Some examples of values include: being honest, compassionate, using reason, logic, being ethical, being present in the moment, being a loving person( and not confuse real love with what is a superficial attraction or compulsion), and having faith in a higher being or dimension of existence. We each need to take some time for ourselves, each and every day, to ascertain what those values are and how they connect you to your purpose and meaning in life.
These values give you the means to be independent as a being while remaining intimately connected to the partner you have chosen to be with who shares these core values. Values, when they are core values, can evolve but do not necessarily change. When values are not shared it is usually the case that the relationship ultimately devolves into various levels of difficulty and conflict. Just so, this is the case in any relationship where one or both people are not committed to understand these core values and then develop and evolve past their limitations or personal difficulties.
Chapter 4: Communication as Empathic Connection
All forms of communication, even and especially the physical ones, involve the development and maintenance of a larger overview or perspective. This perspective is built on respect for the other and honoring the shared values of the other. In any communication there are three components, or philosophical bases: the message we want to convey, the medium through which it is conveyed and the meaning and intent of that message. For example, when one person feels a particular attraction and desire for another, it is important, before pursuing that , to have the attitude and manifest behavior of “asking permission” or ‘being invited’ into a connection. Within each aspect of respect just mentioned there needs be a psychological attitude of humility, that is, as a way of honoring the other. This is part of the idea of doing what is ‘best’ for the other’s real needs, which is an integral aspect of developing real connection or love. If you do not know exactly what that is, it involves doing what the other person wants in order to help them feel a sense of comfort and safety.
The intention to evolve within oneself and to be a part of the evolutionary process of the other is a perspective that is much greater than fulfilling the immediacy of your or their desires. That is, it means to support and respect the other’s willing efforts to go past their perceived and/or objective limitations in order to become the best they can be for themselves. Although when this is not yet clear, honoring the other’s reasonable and healthy desires is appropriate and allowing the empthic communication process lead the way toward these ends.
What we value in our core determines what we are as communicators and determines whether or not we can be truly empathetic in the process of relating. A paradigm for effective and loving communication now follows.
The person with whom we are communicating is a person who is sensitive to our actions and attitudes based upon the initial mutual respect that is achieved. When this first condition is not known or achieved the four part communication process still remains a valid practice.The first step therefore in any communication process is to give forethought and thorough consideration of exactly what you want to share and exactly how to share it so that it is optimally received. The receiver of this communication, verbal, written or otherwise, has an active role in the empathic process in his/her effort to empathize and understand what is being shared in the moment and to perceive the positive intention behind it which is an aspect of any valid/authentic thought out communication. It is the kindness, sensitivity, and valuation for these principles of relating and the related behaviors which demonstrate and create the vital connection that comprises the tapestry of the loving relationship, and give it its life and depth. Steps two and three evolve through a continuing dialog. Once the shared thought or feeling occurs, is validated and
understood by the listener, each person offers a plan for addressing the one issue at hand. It is important to not overwhelm the communication process by engaging in more thn one issue or topic at a time. Then, the fourth and final step, is the follow-up on those plans each and every day until the issue has closure, or peaceful resolve.
This whole process creates a bond of connection that deepens as time passes. This occurs in the ongoing initiator and receiver role play and in the process of communication just described above. The flow between the yin and yang or active and receptive forces evolves into a unified experience that can exist in any and all forms of communication, be they physical, emotional or intellectual.
Try Practicing These Communication Exercises
The basic Paradigm: each person has two roles to play: one as speaker and the other as listener. The speaker needs to engage in forethought and consideration as to how to present an issue important to him/her so that the listener will optimally receive it, i.e., understand and validate what is being shared. The listener is a role with two functions. First to concentrate attention and thought on the speaker. Eye contact is helpful! Then to EMPATHIZE with the person and what is being shared. This process is followed by the listener’s need to validate, and understand what has been shared and then reflect back what the meaning was. If there is any unclarity it needs to be discussed and resolved so the message and messenger and recipient are connected and clear. The next phase of this paradigm for communication is for each person, in each role, to provide one clear concrete plan in which to address and work toward resolving or compromising on the issue presented. The communication partners also agree to meet daily to discuss and follow up on the plans shared previously. This last phase takes place until the issue is resolved one way or another.
Another communication exercise involves each partner posing, and answering and then, alternating in order, three questions which are helpful in evolving a consciously loving relationship. First question: what do you value most about your life; what is most important to you in your day to day life? Second question: How shall I support you in this quest for fulfillment? Third question: What are three most important virtues/values/attitudes to support our relationship and without which we could not individually evolve nor create a consciously loving relationship?
Chapter 5: The Shared Commitment to Evolve as Individuals into Our ‘Best’ Selves
There are many ways this commitment can be established and nurtured but it always begins with each person taking total responsibility for themselves…who we each are, how we each behave, and the lifestyle we choose, by omission or commission. It is only through impartial self observation and self acceptance of who and what we are and where we are now in our journey that we are able to begin the process of conscious love. Once we can clearly see who and what we are in relation to our ideals, purpose or meaning in life, and the core values behind that, then we can begin the journey of individual inner transformation. In regard to the other with whom we are working to build a connection with the next step begins with not being a burden or stumbling block to the other in their chosen and most meaningful path toward life’s fulfillment.
This commitment to support each other in our inner and outer development-needs involves not only respect, alignment in shared core values and then the regular practice of the communication paradigm but also the commitment to develop ourselves, each person committing to do so. Utilizing the exercises described above will also help. Without these processes, building connection in the practice of conscious love is not possible.
For example, in areas of physical and emotional intimacy, the partnership needs to be based in total and honest openness, trust and vulnerability all of which are necessary to fulfill the components needed for developing conscious love and are accessible through the practice of the first four components: respect; shared core values, right communication, and commitment to work on ourselves toward developing beyond our limitations.
The nature of a commitment to self improvement may change over time, Therefore, as it does change, it is necessary to communicate fully about all the aspects of the change in order to develop a complete understanding both for the individual and between the couple. This all requires patience and persistence over time always reflecting back to the original purpose: the evolution of conscious love both within and between the beings seeking it.
We do not always have to agree with the partner’s perception of self improvement but we always must stay on course and align with the fundamental shared or core values that have generated the path sought. When there are points of disagreement or confusion, the fall back is to always engage in the paradigms of communication described above. Gaining clarity on any of the aforementioned issues between the individuals is a vital component to developing a consciously loving relationship. These efforts become part of a wondrous journey that we call Conscious Love and allow, through compromise and understanding, the fulfillment of a truly connected relationship
Chapter 6: Chemistry: The Energy of Human Connection
There are at least four levels of this chemistry or energy between two people which can be experienced and identified independently. It is wise to become conscious of these as you move forward into any relationship. These four components of chemistry are not necessarily given in any order of importance but we have found that over time an ordering of their significance occurs naturally.
From our perspective we have sought the spiritual component first. This is because the realm of connection sought between us from the beginning of our 50 years together was and is beyond the physical and material world. Through our presence within it, we realized early on in our lives that spiritual connection requires a deep commitment to the evolution of an energy that lies outside, or deeply embedded within the external world, and aligns with the connection to a Vibration that we call God or The Endless Endlessness.
Each person will define, for themselves the unique way this relationship is established which can be shared along the journey. This spiritual connection is a process that exists in each moment and is contingent on the alignment with the commitment to work toward connecting to our deepest selves and therefrom toward a consciously loving relationship.
It is this alignment and commitment which support and give foundation for the very practice of all that is connected with conscious love. In fact, it is the very source of that Love.
Intellectual chemistry involves the intrinsically held deep desire for knowledge. This includes any and all knowledge that serves in the personal and couple’s valuation toward a meaningful and loving existence. My personal lifelong pursuit of knowledge and wisdom is in relation to the diverse religious, esoteric, healing and spiritual teachings that convey essential principles and practices involving spiritual evolution and enlightenment. My personal journey encompassed mastering the martial arts and esoteric healing and energy arts over the past 45 years. It also embraces prayer and meditation and healing sciences such as Reiki and nutrition. My life has been and continues to be a learning journey, each and every day and I thank God for this.
Michelle values and partakes in the study of human biological sciences as well as Tai Chi and esoteric and religious teachings and philosophy and the history of ethical and social order in the world. We both deeply cherish these sources of knowledge and engage on a daily basis what they have to offer. We read together these works and discuss their meanings daily.
Emotional chemistry is another form of connection which means that we always work to understand each other in all aspects of our lives together and we persist in our communications in these realms over our 48 years together. Each and every day we work at understanding and questioning and sharing our individual journeys and work to traverse all hurdles along the way when we do not understand each other. It is an infinite process, which began 50 years ago and continues to this day. Over time we have experienced greater depths of love and continue to build our love around these communications, sharings and an evolved understanding.
The physical chemistry we share we believe was generated as a result of these other three components as our first meeting and connection was under an unusual and quite magical circumstance. Our lives as a couple began with living in an esoteric Christian monastery for over 15 years, under a vow of poverty. The details of this journey was shared in our dual memoir: “Guided by the Light”. To this day, at age 75 I feel more attraction to her than I ever have even though the physical elements have naturally changed.
Chapter 7: Conclusion: The Ongoing and Infinite Reality of Real Love as Conscious
Our Work, over time, to experience each of these various components or experiential dimensions created a synergy whereby our individual efforts in each of these components of conscious love become assimilated together into an experience of Unity with the greater whole which we call conscious love. There is no question that the experience of Faith is innately involved in this experience and directly connects each of the aspects or components of what love is to one another. All human beings are potentially able to love and are capable of doing so if they are willful enough to commit to the process and the development of these components or aspects. We have found this process, over our 50 years together, to be an infallible way to proceed into the enchanted Garden of real love.
We both hope, from the bottom of our hearts, that you, dear reader, will be vulnerable and open enough to allow yourself to receive this, our shared journey, and for it to support you in your chosen journey toward the experience of real love. These principles or processes we have shared can be used to create your own loving relationships but it requires much persistence. Persistence means focusing and planning at the beginning and during each day to a resounding remembrance and practice that reflects that remembrance of the commitment to consciously love.
It is also our hope that each person reading what has been shared will come to a more vulnerable and open place inside which is required in the practice of real love. When we authentically open ourselves up to this practice, which embraces these various components and processes, the experience of love becomes more willful and conscious, more deliberate in every facet of relating and across every dimension of your shared experience in the relationship. The need for impartial self-observation of your feelings, thoughts, and actions become the umbrella under which all other components exist. Without the inner awakening through impartial self-observation and a more objective thought process, none of the other components can manifest. Therefore we have to always remember to first look at, see, know and understand who we are. Then consider, in light of these observations, what we are aiming for, i.e., our life’s purpose and conscious love, in order to bring this notion of love into living relationships. As a result, we are lifting the current state and experience of love up to a more conscious and broader state and understanding and a more fulfilling experience in relationships with others and within oneself as well..
Enjoy this joyous journey into love!
Appendix: A Meditation and Affirmation Practice
The yoga of love is in everything we experience. It is a dimension that you can call Love but by any other name remains the same. This, as an experience, manifests in the way we approach and relate to life and other relationships within this life. It is reflected in qualities such as unity, peacefulness and kindness…a deep connection to Self. The use of conscious rituals or ceremonies in relating invites (as described above) summons a connection to The Self, the Soul.
Here is a simple exercise or meditation that can facilitate this experience. Sit, quietly and as still as you possibly can with awareness of your breathing. It may be helpful to sit before a lit candle in a darkened room. First, notice you are separate from the candle. Then be aware that your consciousness is separate from your physical experience of stillness. Allow the energy of the Light to enter you as you enter the energy of the Light. Try to observe how the simplicity, peace, and beauty of the Light is reflected in the healing nature of the Silence that can now be felt.
There is a healing nature to this energy as we let it embrace us. This meditation exercise is a stepping stone to the experience of knowing Love as an experience and Presence within the practitioner. Now you can take this experience and allow yourself to experience the other, whomever that may be.
This stillness and silence reveal the idea that life is a flowing dialog between summoning and receiving and sharing and caring then realizing. Any real relationship is about being our authentic most conscious selves with one another. The more thoroughly you are able to engage in this practice the greater is your experience of love.
Summoning higher energies, through reflecting and stilling the mind, is engaging that reality that opens you up to a deeper dimension of experience that can be known as love. Like any real journey in life it begins with the first step: studying the art of conscious love which we shared with you today. We hope we have provided a reasonable catalyst for you to begin your own journey into the enchanting realms of love.
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