Never before have intimate relationships called on us to face ourselves and each other with so much honesty and awareness. Maintaining an alive connection with an intimate partner today challenges us to free ourselves from old habits and blind spots, and to develop the full range of our powers, sensitivities, and depths as human beings. In former times, if people wanted to explore the deeper mysteries of life, they would often enter the seclusion of a monastery or hermitage. For many of us today, however, intimate relationships have become the new wilderness that brings us face to face with all our gods and demons.
Most people in our society share a peculiar belief: We imagine that we should be able to establish a rich and satisfying relationship with someone we love even if we have never learned to relate to ourselves in a rich, satisfying way. We imagine that a successful relationship largely depends on finding the right person and doing the right things. We often don’t see that how we relate to another is an expression of how we relate to ourselves, that our outer relationships are but an extension of our inner life, that we can only be as open and present with another as we are with ourselves.
The increasingly precarious state of our planet and its inhabitants is calling on us to wake up, reevaluate how we are living, and align ourselves with a larger, sacred vision of human life. In these times when our world and our very humanity are increasingly at risk, we need a new kind of grounded spirituality that addresses the challenges of ordinary living and that can transform the quality of life on this planet through being fully embodied in the here-and-now. Fortunately, we have a powerful vehicle close at hand for developing this kind of wisdom – our intimate relations with those we love.