Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Fear of Losing Loved Ones on the Spiritual Path

One of the most common fears that people have is that by following the spiritual path that they'll lose the ones they love. It's an interesting fear, and as all fears are, it's based on lies. It sounds harsh to see it put this way, but you've got to face facts: you can't keep any relationship ever. Every relationship is changing in every moment of every day, and we can consciously change them in any moment. That's probably a lot to handle right out of the gate (Yeah, I usually have more of a warm-up before hitting some hard points on these posts). But you probably have a lot of core illusions that we have to face, and we've got quite a bit of ground to cover.

The Illusion of Permanence in Relationships
You've got to face facts: whether it's your relationship to your husband, mother, or dog, that relationship is changing. It's changing because you are always changing and they are always changing. That will never stop. Part of the initial problem that so many people have to deal with is that they believe in permanence. Even the mountains of the Sierra Nevada will crumble one day. That's a fact. So to will any and every relationship you have, including the one you have with yourself.

That's a key point here. How you are with yourself is changing. The deeper you go on the spiritual path, the more you will also have to dissolve the duality of being able to have a relationship with yourself, but I digress a little. This is putting the cart before the horse, and I'll leave this nugget out to those of you in active awakening that are having your entire mountain shaken to the ground.

The key point is that you are not permanent, and most of you are so lost in your current illusions, that we have to burst this current bubble first. So if you can't even be a permanent point in this universe, then how will you ever be involved with anything that's permanent?

The Spiritual Path: Embracing Change
One of the core parts of the spiritual path is embracing change and letting go of the illusion of permanence. In so doing, that will shift how you are with yourself. In so doing that, you're shifting how you are with everyone else. That's where things start to get emotionally charged. You suddenly find people with whom you were close now distancing themselves from you, getting angry with you, you getting angry with them, or you distancing yourself from them. Or maybe it's some other form of lack of harmony, and you wonder what you're doing wrong.

Nothing. Nothing is wrong. Things are changing, and that's just part of the spiritual path. In truth, that's simply a fact of life.

However, these truths may not be giving you many tools to help in the letting go process, so I'll offer this instead: when you make space in your life, you make room for other people to enter it. You see, there's this other illusion going on in all of your heads that if you "lose" a friend, spouse, girlfriend, or whomever that you'll never, ever, ever, ever, EVER get another person with whom you can connect with like that again. In some ways, that's true. Each connection with each person in each moment is unique unto itself. There will never be another one like it. But somewhere in this is this idea that somehow you'll be lost and alone and forced to live on a mountaintop by yourself on the spiritual path. If nothing else, you're going to find your ability to connect deeply and intimately with others enhancing the further you go, not decreasing. Perhaps at some point you may glance over your shoulder and realize how unfulfilling the relationships you've been in actually were and wonder why you ever hung onto them so hard.


Holding On Leads to Suffering
Now, there's a difference between making a commitment to a relationship and holding on past the lifespan of the relationship. All relationships have lifespans. After a certain point, they're done. Beit, 60 years, 60 days, or 60 seconds, a relationship will end. But that doesn't invalidate the relationship that you have during those times. I sometimes think people are too lost in the failure/success ideology of our times. People seem to think that if a romantic relationship doesn't last until someone keels over after 50 years of marriage, then the romantic partnership was a failure. What a sad belief. How many other beautiful relationships are invalidated because of it?

And of course, that belief can lead couples to hold on doggedly in the shackles of less than holy matrimony for years and decades. As I said, there's a big difference between committing through tough times and difficult lessons and holding on when there's nothing left. Only you know this time. You know it in your heart, and you know that you have to walk this spiritual path if you're reading this blog. Why else would you be here?

But also keep in mind that social contracts between people can be consciously shifted, but you're both going to have to want to do that work. If you got into a relationship when you were hiding a lot of spiritual beliefs, then you've got to talk to your partner about making room. How your partner responds will tell you a lot about him or her, and this can be an instance of consciously growing and expanding your relationship. It may also be the end of it. Either way, you can't hide from this truth if you're going to walk the spiritual path. Truly, you can't hide from anything on this journey.


Keeping Faith in the Process
I've had tons of people move into my life, out of my life, and some have cycled back into my life again. Each relationship and each moment is precious to me no matter how fleeting. I've learned not to hold onto good moments as well as bad moments. I've noticed that while certain moments with some people are amazing, that may be the only amazing moment we ever have together. There's no need to drag out any friendship or relationship to try and re-create that moment, which is what happens for a lot of people. Along the way, I've learned to have a great deal of faith in the spiritual process because in opening myself and clearing fears, I've created more and more space for others of similar natures to meet me.

Consider this: if you've been a negative person, you've probably attracted a lot of negative people. The more you let go of that attitude, the more space you create for new people to connect with you in new ways. It may not be immediate, and it will require you to teach yourself a lot of new ways of acting, speaking, and being with others. That's part of the re-programming almost all of us have to do in this world as we delete a lot of lies and fear-based programs that society has taught us. But if you keep faith and trust, you will be amazed at who comes into your life and the refreshing and healthier types of relationships that come your way.

Nothing Is Lost on the Spiritual Path
At the highest truth, nothing is lost. There is only the question of if you are living the life you want to live in your heart of hearts and at the center of your soul's desire. Are you? Because if you aren't, you probably have a lot of people around you who aren't doing so either. It's what you've attracted into your life, and they probably reinforce the same illusions and lies that you have such as:

"You can't do this."
"It's not practical to live the life that you want to live."
"Spirituality is all a lie anyway."

The list of lies goes on. Only you can sort out what is true, but know this: when you let go of relationships that no longer serve you, you make space to grow. As you grow, new people can enter your life. And it may take awhile to get used to being with different types of people. You're walking way outside of your comfort zone and saying good-bye to it. The only way to truly be comfortable on the spiritual path is to be fully comfortable with yourself. Once that happens, every place in the world is part of your comfort zone (You do still maintain your discernment, however; you're not blithely skipping through warzones). And with such an expansive comfort zone, you can see how things flow. You can see how relationships become like drops of water. Some flow in, circle and swirl in the eddies of your life, and then they flow out to be replaced by new droplets. It's all very beautiful, and in this flow, you are never alone.
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