Conscious Relationships.



Last week I was asked to be on a podcast with a friend and colleague to talk about conscious relationships. Conscious relationships are a spiritual practice and an excellent place for us to walk out the path of conscious love that the Christian wisdom path is all about.

We can choose to engage in conscious ways of relating with everyone whether the other is making this choice or not. And some relationships will be more mutually conscious with both people bringing this shared intention. We can choose to be in conscious relationship with ourself, other humans, living and non living ancestors or spiritual guides, God, non human creatures, animals, the earth, plants, and places.

Conscious relationships are a living breathing organism that must be tended to and requires discipline, attention, and awareness. Many of our interactions and relationships tend to be more unconscious and are characterized by habitual reactivity; not taking responsibility for reactivity rooted in historical fight, flight, fawn, and freeze states; low trust, high expectations, and have a tendency toward rigidity or unpredictability.

Conscious relationships have many practices involved in them but I came up with ten that have been helpful for me. These practices are a compilation and application of many influences including the Marital and Family Therapy Masters program I completed, the Gurdjieff Work, the wisdom path laid out by Cynthia Bourgeault, Steve Hoskinson’s Organic Intelligence, and some of my own. These are not in any particular order and they of course build on one another.

1. We can apply Gurdjieff’s practice of Conscious Labor to our relationships by becoming conscious or our interactions, remaining aware of ourself, and intentionally efforting to override our mechanical automatic patterns

2. We can Commit to Wholeness and Growth by seeing one another both whole and in process, accepting one another as we are and allowing one another to change

3. We can apply Gurdjieff’s practice of Self-Observation to our relationships by becoming more self-aware, seeing ourselves honestly and impartially as we are not as we wish to be

4. We can apply Gurdjieff’s practice of Intentional Suffering to our relationships by choosing to consciously embrace the suffering that is an inevitable part of misunderstandings and challenges as well as be willing to bear the negative manifestations of the other just as they do for us

5. We can Take Responsibility for Ourselves by recognizing that no one else is responsible for us and therefore learning to steward our own inner states, working toward responding rather than reacting, recognizing how you impact others, and repairing when necessary

6. We can learn to Tend to the Energy Exchange of the relationship by becoming aware that there are helpful and unhelpful energies we put into and withdraw from it and working toward equanimity

7. We can Cultivate Abundance vs Scarcity by focusing on what is working, what is good, and what we appreciate rather than what is missing; we address what isn’t working and then let go

8. We can Ask What Is Needed Rather Than What Do I Need which is about coming with the inner posture of what we can bring rather than what we can get

9. We can be Low Maintenance With Low Expectations and be flexible with realistic desires and expectations about what others can actually do

10. We can Cultivate Trust by a commitment to come with trust that we both have one another’s best interests at heart; Cynthia Bourgeault encourages to give trust rather than wait for it to be earned

If you would like to hear more about this topic, you can listen here.

In Goodness, Truth, and Beauty,

Heather

 

Here most of the Readings from this week's pauses: