y people in the world are waking up and becoming more conscious. Every year I return to the West and am delighted to see more yoga, more recycling, more meditation and so on weaving its way into the mainstream. As we evolve our consciousness it is natural that relationships should evolve too, thought certainly this part of our lives often seems to lag behind other areas!
It used to be that relationships were all superficial…one ego meeting another. People chose partners based upon looks, wealth, status and other surface-level attributes. A consumerist attitude was common: what will benefit me? Which person will make me happy?
Then they dived deeper. Relationship counseling was no longer only for messed-up partnerships, but was undertaken as a support structure for healthy relating. Couples learned Non-Violent Communication and other tools for communicating and processing. Relationships evolved into vehicles for transformation.
However, the flip side of this is that it is possible for a relationship to be in a state of perpetual processing! How many couples feel that the norm of relating is to be “in process”…digging into the shadows, sharing heavy emotions, and spending many hours holding space for one another. Certainly its an evolution beyond the superficial, but is it actually the final destination?
Though I am grateful for all of the tools of processing and conscious communication, I began to question a little deeper. I notice that when you apply processing tools, things come up. And thus if you are always using a tool, something is always coming up. What if, I asked myself, what if peace were the predominant state of a relationship?
There is a mantra from a Course in Miracles that says “I could choose peace instead of this”. The day this was my lesson, I found myself mildly upset by someone I was close with…something they had done had hurt me. I was getting ready to share my side of things and give them my reflection and enter processing…and then the mantra popped back into my head “I could choose peace instead of this”. I sat a moment and closed my eyes…I realized I had a choice between attaching to my story by bringing it forth for processing, or finding the peace within.
I looked and I found a shimmering peace in my heart…it was simply there. The energy behind processing was also there, and it was like a choice which route I chose to walk down. I noticed some attachment to the processing and being heard and all of that. But I also noticed that I could just let it go, forgive them, and be in peace. In this moment, I chose peace. It took a willingness of my heart…to choose love instead of needing to be right, or be heard.
This day was a major insight for me. That even though to share and be heard and to process can be amazingly rewarding, deepen an intimacy, heal old wounds and bring two people closer…it is not the only way. Peace is also there, already…because peace is our true nature.
Now of course this does not mean doing peacefulness on the outside, whist still feeling resentful and unresolved on the inside! That is not peace at all! This just comes from a fear of conflict, and creates a sugar-coated passive-aggressive pseudo-peace that can explode into anger at any time!
It is essential to forgive and let go of incidents in order to return to peace. Can you see that the other person was coming from fear? Can you see they were simply protecting themselves? Can you remember that this is not who they really are? Can you forgive them their hurtful action in order that you can relate from peace rather than conflict?
The peace that we are choosing is not an attitude, but actually we are choosing to return to our true self. This connection is strengthened by meditation and consciousness practices, so that in moments when we are tempted to swing into a polarized perspective (i.e. taking sides) our true nature can actually be strong enough to offer us another choice. That choice is peace/ truth/ love.
Sometimes we are willing to fight for truth. But so long as there is a fight on, there is no truth. Truth itself is transcendent, beyond all right and wrong. So if you want a truth-based relationship, you have to be willing to forgive moments of misalignment and find your way home to peace. You have to be willing to move from being right to being open to love.
“Out beyond ideas of right and wrong there is a field…I’ll meet you there”
What can you do?
Here is some practical ways to move from conflict to peace next time you feel yourself tempted to react or enter process:
However, take the time to check in whether peace is an option. If you let go of the some of the processing time you can free up more space in your relationship for sharing fun, having adventures and making love with one another. And that just has to be a good thing!
May peace be with you!
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