Category: Relationships

Putting Your Relationship First: Lessons from Your Bra...

How do we make our closest relationships our top priority in life? What does the latest neuroscience tell us about how our minds affect the way we respond to challenges in relating to others? How can we improve our brains to improve our relationships? In part one of this dialogue between Tami Simon and psychotherapist and author Dr. Stan Tatkin, we explore these questions and more to help us shift out of conflict and into deeper connection. (61 minutes)

A love we never outgrow

Let us hold all fathers in our hearts today, in gratitude for the gift of life they have given. Some of us are close with dad, some are not; some have very fond memories, some do not; some of us never really got to know that person we called “dad” and what really moved him, inspired him; what he really wanted and what his unique relationship was with the movement of love; or why he came here to this sacred human place. But the one thing we do know is that, just like us, dad only ever wanted to be happy, to be free from suffering, and was only able to use the tools he had been given to take the journey that was his. We may never understand the nature of dad’s journey, the unique pattern that unfolded as his life, somehow orchestrated in the stars, to unveil to him the mysteries of love.

Whether dad is still on this earth or the beloved has sent him elsewhere, it is possible for you to fully connect with him right here, right now, for he is alive inside every cell of your heart; no matter what has happened in the past, he has given you something important for your journey. May we honor dad on this day in all of his guises, in all of his forms – personal and transpersonal – and may we be guided by his wisdom qualities down that pathway that he and all beings have laid out for us.

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Washed out by grace…

We can be so hard on ourselves in so many ways: why did I choose the same kind of partner yet again, why am I not able to find more meaningful work, why am I acting just like my mother/ father, why have I not become awakened yet, why am I not truly loveable by another. Recent research and clinical reports in the fields of attachment and interpersonal neurobiology have shown us that the way we’ve come to see ourselves, others, and relationships was formed in the extended nervous system prior to the acquisition of language. As little ones, we lived in a non-verbal world, shaping our models of self and other according to our deeply wired need to survive, to receive love, and to be mirrored empathically.

Fortunately, the realities of neuroplasticity have shown that it is possible to reorganize the way we see ourselves, conceive of this sacred reality, and interact in close relationships. By some unknown grace, it seems that we are wired for love; somehow we are supported by the unseen world to allow love to restructure our lives. While this journey is simple, we know it is not easy. We sense that it demands everything – and this can be scary. But through compassionate self-inquiry, authentic contemplative practice, somatically-alive psychotherapy, and especially through that ever-fiery crucible that is attuned, intimate relationship, the opportunity is there to give ourselves fully to this life and to receive the fruits of a wide open heart, a body and senses that are an offering of love, and an the clear wisdom of an intuitively-guided mind.

It does seem that one thing is required though, and that is tremendous kindness to ourselves – an unconditional friendliness to who and what we are, and a deep respect for the journey from fear to love, for it requires everything we have – and more. Let us nurture and hold ourselves in kindness today, and to appreciate the difficulties and challenges in living a life beyond belief. Let us set aside the spiritual superego, our desperate need to be something other than what we are, and to allow the grace that is always and already here to wash down throughout this sacred body, pouring through these precious senses. And let us behold the miracle of this life as it is, seeing how lucky most of us truly are, and how we could only ever be in the exact right place, to take the perfectly-designed next step into love.

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Robert Augustus Masters: Emotional Intimacy, Part 2

Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Robert Augustus Masters, an Integral psychotherapist, relationship expert, and spiritual teacher whose work emphasizes embodiment, emotional literacy, and the development of relational maturity. He is the author of 13 books including the new Sounds True book Emotional Intimacy, as well as the audio learning course Knowing Your Shadow. In the second part of their discussion, Tami speaks with Robert about the importance of mutual transparency in relationships, how we can engage in “connected catharsis,” the telltale signs that reveal when we are using spiritual bypassing to avoid emotional experience, and how we can start to identify and work with our own shadow material. (57 minutes)

Holding mother in our heart

Let us keep all mothers in our hearts today, creating for them the most luminous holding environment of love, in which they can rest and be nourished. Through the unknown – and through the most sacred womb – they have offered the gift of life, a rare, blessed opportunity to make this human journey, to allow this precious heart to be polished into eternity. No matter what our relationship with our mother in the physical world presently, we can exchange one moment of love with her – for the bond we have with her is beyond time and beyond space.

As the Tibetans believe, each being we encounter in this world has at one time been our mother, and has shown us the most precious kindness, care, and compassion; and has been willing to give her life so that we may come into being. May all mother-beings everywhere receive an outpouring of blessings on this day, may their hearts and their bodies be bathed in love, and may they come to know directly, even for a moment, the true preciousness of this life.

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A cure through love

It was Freud, in a letter to Carl Jung, who said: “psychoanalysis in essence is a cure through love.”

It hurts us so much when those around us are suffering, when those we care about are struggling. Maybe it’s one of our co-workers, an elderly person who is all alone, a client terrified in the face of a cancer diagnosis, one of our children whose self-esteem has been crushed, our partner who is so sad that our relationship is not flowing, or a close friend who is grieving the loss of her lover. What do we do? How can we help? What are the most effective ways to lessen their grief, their sadness, their anxiety, their shame, their fear? We hear that to truly love another is the most powerful form of healing – but what does this mean? When we’re with someone who is suffering, we can create with them a holding environment which allows their subjective experience to be exactly what it is. We can stay very close to their experience, allowing it to be metabolized in the space between us. They feel us right there with them, that warmth, that space in which all is welcome. They are able to be what they are, right then and right there, and know at the deepest level that they will be received, that they need not hold anything back, that there is a certain safety and ground in which all of the most precious pieces of their psyche, their heart, and their body can dance, can express, can unfold, and can become illuminated within the sacredness of the relational field.

In my experience, most of us, when confused or hurt or anxious or sad, want so deeply for our experience to be seen, to be met, to be touched, to be received into that relational field of space, kindness, presence, and warmth. We can be there for another in this way and really allow them to fall apart, to go crazy, to be confused all the way, to touch all of those thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations that have been kept at bay for so long. It sounds so simple, but in practice is in fact a revolution. When they know that we aren’t needing them to be different, when they know we will walk with them into terror, panic, depression, grief, anger, and fear, they soften, the space around us softens, and we are invited into the mystery, guided into the unknown together. We’re never sure what will be revealed there, but we are called nonetheless to move into this new territory together, with some crazy sense of faith that there is an intelligence here, a creativity that is pouring out of the beyond.

We long to somehow receive permission to be what we are, for another to understand how we are organizing our experience, for another to somehow be willing to enter into a burning love-field with us, without needing us to be different, to be “cured,” transformed, or even to heal. When we are truly met, when our subjectivity is deeply touched by another, with no agenda, a very organic process of healing is initiated – one that does not come from us or from our friend who is suffering, or even from what we want or think should happen – but seemingly from some mysterious Other. That Other is a raging field of intelligence and creativity, and has come to touch us, to hold us, and to show us something precious. When we allow ourselves to enter deeply into the subjective experience of another – and when they feel us with them inside of the cracks and crevices of each and every cell of their heart – love takes over, grace begins to whisper its secrets, and we turn toward home, together.

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