Families exist not only for propagation, but also to provide a training ground for learning how to develop intimacy and a mature emotional body. This function is true for all long-term relationships. Life in the family is designed by its very nature to help our feeling body mature. Intimacy is one of the last frontiers of human consciousness. In true intimate relationships, one experiences durable love, steady trust, and a willingness to be vulnerable. Durable intimacy requires a continual willingness to keep one’s heart open under any circumstances.
Intimacy is not about having a fixed and secure relationship. It is about being willing to leap into the unknown with your intimate other; it is about being willing to face all the issues of the human condition with one’s partner, from birth to death; it includes healing the patterns of one’s family of origin. Relationship in this context is not about shaping a partner into your idea of who he or she should be, but supporting the partner in reaching full potential as a mature and aware human being in alignment with the divine plan. It is about helping your partner be the full wild woman or man each of us is meant to be. At the highest level, each inspires the other to move deeper into unity with the Divine.
In this way, a durable commitment to intimacy in relationship is a powerful spiritual path. This is also the key to developing a loving relationship. When we have developed a mature physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, we are able to love without controlling or being controlled. The most direct way to know love in every moment is to be love in every moment rather than to demand it from someone else.
Through the experience of an ever-blossoming marriage, as a psychiatrist, as a family therapist, and as a spiritual master, I have seen that when people have the courage to love each other in full, vulnerable intimacy, without holding resentments, their relationships will work out to its highest potential. Love in the family brings peace to the world. It is the power of blessing, and the prayer of seeing beauty in all Sometimes, in the midst of some activity, I will turn to Shanti and share my experience of her beauty… simply to share the beauty of her as the illuminated face of the Divine in the moment. It is developing the inner eye that experiences perfection in what may appear as an “imperfect person or situation.” In kabbalistic terminology it is the practice of azamara, or seeing the spark of light in all things and situations.
Another general secret for maintaining an open heart is the power of blessing another person or situation that one may perceive as hurtful. The blessing is not about blessing the other (as there is no other); it is about momentarily opening the heart so that we can move into the witness awareness and see the hurt, past or present, as a temporary misperception, which we can then release rather than remain stuck in as a point of pain within our psychosomatic structure. The power of blessing is the power to change our life and in the reflection, the power to change the life of the illusionary other that appears in the living field as something separate from our individualization. It is in the family that we have the opportunity to learn the power of blessing and prayer of beauty in a direct and daily way. Our life becomes the prayer. Our prayer is who we are. Our living prayer is a healing message to the living field for the healing of disease, dysfunctional family and couple patterns, difficult interpersonal situations, and the war and domination energy of the Culture of Death.
The ability to be insulted without retaliation creates peace in all sorts of human interactions. This awareness and state of mind reinforces the meaning of the words of Jesus, “Love thy enemies.” The truth is that loving our enemies means we have no enemies; love turns them all into friends. To love and forgive in this way is a wonderful practice that brings peace to every aspect of family and community life, and it is the bedrock for creating a world family. The way of peace is the way of love. Forgiveness is the way of love.
The great Chinese sage Lao-tzu put it nicely: “The wise accept all people as their own family.” This, of course, is the love of the family at the highest level of family, interpersonal, and personal awareness and health.