“When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you, believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
But if, in your fear, you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”
— Kahlil Gibran
As David Deida says, if you are in a good relationship, the worst, most hellish stuff that you are ever going to face is going to come up.
Do you have tools to navigate it?
The one tool that all conscious relationship requires is the key ingredient of self-responsibility.
This not only means taking ownership for your own thoughts and feelings in the context of relationship — but also recognizing that you have a sacred duty to Love itself. It means you don’t allow the way you show up in love to be determined by an unknown outcome. You don’t hold back because the other person might hold back. And you don’t open so the other person will receive you. You open because you want to be a person who is open. You give love despite your fears because you want Love to grow in you beyond your fears. You allow the way you show up in relationship to be a statement of who you are. Not a statement of what you want. Or a statement of what you fear. But the values and love you embody. You stop allowing the other, or their response, to determine whether or not you show up fully and offer your deepest gifts — because it’s not even about them. Every relationship is just a paintbrush that helps you curate the way you want to represent and embody love in this world.
So what’s your artist statement? Caring the least? Being in control? Choosing fear? Avoiding pain? I’m sure none of these feel good to embody, or put on. Nor are they worthy of the wide and radiant glory your resilient heart longs to offer. Any relationship where you remain safely in control is not a conscious relationship. Any relationship where the armor that keeps you safe is not being threatened is not a conscious relationship. To avoid vulnerability, or to avoid the rose’s thorn, is to refuse your sacred duty to the Divine Love that longs to come alive through you, and reveal to you, in time, your softest, most authentic, unguarded light.
Relationship is the highest yoga. It is some of the most sacred, and most difficult, terrain we can walk in this human life. But we can learn to enter it with totality — bringing the whole of ourselves forward; holding nothing back.
Tantra is the path of totality. It’s not really so much a practice of sexual rituals as it is a lifestyle; an outlook; a way of walking this earth. It’s a willingness to be deeply intimate with every facet of existence. In Tantra, all existence, all experience, is sacred ground. Nothing is rejected. There is no separate spiritual realm; and there is no separate spiritual practice. Everyday, deeply human experiences become the threshold to enter the divine reality. Every part of you is wholly invited. Every part of you is wholly accepted. Every part of you is wholly celebrated.
Now can you imagine a love like that?
This may sound like superhuman work. And, truly, it is — because you are. You are a powerful conduit of the divine. The sacred ground of relationship on the path of Tantra is not a meeting to two egos, or finite personalities, but, rather, the meeting of god and goddess. Shiva and Shakti. The all-pervading light of awareness entering ecstatic union with the animating life-force of all things.
Tantra translates to “stretch beyond limits.” Tantra acknowledges that we all have conditions and limitations — and provides a way to allow Shakti (the life-force energy that resides within us) to expand beyond these limitations. We all have fears, intimacy blocks, and wounds that we bring to the cauldron of human relationship. Tantra invites us to lovingly hold, investigate, and honor these wounds so we can alchemize them into a deeper expression of divine love.