Maintaining our sense of individuation in the context of romantic relationship seems to be one of the biggest challengs to living in an ongoing sense of Presence. The desire to be awake is a skillful desire. This desire compels us to recognize the need to observe the internal and external events that trigger a shift away from Presence. Perhaps we’ve done much work in regards to inward seeking and while we may have a deep understanding of the concepts of living a fully liberated life, the microscopic truth is that in certain aspects of our lives, those concepts have yet to be fully embodied. We can see clearly in most situations and possibly very clearly into other people’s patterns. When our sense of self is less emotionally invested, our awareness of Presence prevails. This keeps us feeling healthy the majority of the time. But we are most likely interested in feeling healthy all of the time. So when do we give it up?
In those moments of feeling detached from Presence, there is usually the presence of blame. When we are blaming someone we tend to feel either righteous and superior or rejected, incomplete and inferior. The use of justified anger isn’t as strong as it appears. It is an overcompensating response to feeling unwanted. So the deeper root, the common denominator, is feeling unwanted. So let’s look there.
If we hold a secret story of feeling unworthy or insecure then we will look to remove that feeling by receiving approval and acceptance from other people. The deepest validation of our worthiness coming from the person who chooses to make us their significant other. The misguided belief being, “I must be worthy if this person wants to be with me.” And thus we define ourselves as worthy premised upon another person’s approval of us rather than our own.
This is an unconscious paradigm to operate within because it makes you feel inferior to your partner because they represent the fulfillment of a need rather than a choice. It also means that if we don’t feel that emotional fragility around them then we most likely are assuming that if they have feelings for us then those feelings are also “need based”, which we perceive as a weakness in them. This keeps us locked in a cycle of unhealthy relationships. It’s impossible for someone to be fully themselves when we are more interested in having them meet the expectations of our own projections of what a relationship should look like.
We may tend to hold a naive idea of what it means to fall in love. It’s like we are still chasing the Hollywood story. Rather than placing a relationship on top of a solid structure of personal autonomy and self acceptance, we supplant our personal sense of me with a sense of we. We transcend and deny rather than transcend and include. This new expanded identity of an “us” with all of its wild chemicals leaves us susceptible to replacing our core identity with a new identity of us. It often imagines how it is perceived in the eyes of the world and the approval of another signifies its worthiness to the world. Since it is deriving its sense of self from how the world views it, it’s like giving an addict a drug when it receives this approval. This heightened state of ego fulfillment is often misinterpreted as love. When in truth it is tinged with clinging and attachment.
The shifting away from Presence begins with the unconscious giving away of our personal autonomy. It is experienced as anguish anytime there is the interpretation of being unwanted. I say “interpretation” because since feeling unwanted is a belief structure we hold (or are learning to release), we will mistakenly interpret other’s actions through the colored lens of our own conditioning. We will literally, on an emotional plane, manifest our own fear. What’s more, even if the interpretation of your partner choosing to not be with you is accurate, this is their free will and in no way acts as a referendum upon who you are or your value as a human being. But when your self identity is based upon their desire to be with you, and that shifts, your sense of self will crumble with it. The ensuing sense of pain is not the cause of your suffering but rather the experience of it. The cause resides in the false sense of incompleteness that gave rise to the giving away of your personal autonomy.
It’s through the practice of reconnecting with Presence in the moment of this recognition that we can fill the perceived void with our own self acceptance rather than seeking another to do that for us. Once that foundation is in tact, we have laid the groundwork to experience authentic love. A love that is based upon two whole people choosing to share their lives rather than two half people trying to make a whole one.
All attempts to find wholeness through the acceptance of another is the ego’s false attempt to replicate truth. And truth, of course, is that we are inherently whole. We need only to connect with Presence to experience the absolute beauty and wonder of who we truly are. That is the practice. Connect with Presence. From that platform we can connect with eachother without the risk of losing ourselves.