The postmodern revolution raised our expectations for love and intimacy—now many of us want to find a “soulmate”, not a mere spouse. The sexual revolution changed the context of commitment in relationships—a series of monogamous relationships is the new norm for many of us. And spiritual awakening changes the very definition of love—if you love everyone, how is your love for your beloved in any way “special”, and how does it meet his or her need to be adored and cherished? Human love dwells in the in-between zone of human paradox, yet it needs a spiritual and an evolutionary context. Love is not only about fulfilment; it is also about self-sacrifice and giving. So what are the five principles for navigating the post-conventional territory of love?
Welcome to Post Conventional Love. In this article we shall explore what on earth has happened to marriage and our intimate relationships. How can we learn to embrace love even if it attempts to shatter our values and is it even possible to love in an authentic way outside conventional ways of relationship? Tasty topics eh?
If you haven’t noticed, or been living inside a cave for the last twenty years, relationships especially romantic-love based ones are seriously changing. It was only one generation ago when it commonly accepted that love happened only within the confines of marriage – full stop. Love between others (well maybe family love was okay), was forbidden and generally did not happen and if it did – low and behold there was a price to pay!
But now, change is afoot. There is a growing buzz in the air, a waft of change emanating throughout the entire cosmos. We are falling in love with each other left, right and centre. But this time I mean love in the truest sense of the word, I am not talking about bed hopping, or wife swapping, I am talking about heart opening ecstatic realization that you LOVE, many many people outside your relationship. Something that first started within spiritual circles, AA meetings, self-help seminars and Be the Change groups is now spreading into mainstream society, and threatening to bust open the walls of marriage and old paradigm relationships. It’s becoming so widespread that soon everyone will love everyone – well almost!
We used to think that love could become part of our lives as long as it behaved itself (old paradigm), however the new paradigm that rings out across the land is that love has become life itself. Love has overtaken us, leading us by the hand into profound spiritual mysteries, placing demands upon our limited selves and opening possibilities within our lives that were one time closed down. Just take a look around the world. Yes there is destruction and mayhem, but take a look again. Notice the highly contagious energy of celebration that is being felt, this faith, and belief and knowing that we can create change, that we will create change because we are the change itself. This realization in itself has the power to create a physical sensation in the body that we call goose bumps. That rush of togethership, that sense of belonging, that when we join forces we can create anything…. Feeling that energy swell in you now? Of course you are! Ever questioned what that is? Shame on you if the answer is no….
You see the culprit of this great catalyzing force is love. This is what the spiritual circles in their great evolvement are finally realizing and turning towards and its being filtered out throughout our societies, systems and family units. This tsunami of potential freedom and openness swirls through our bodies when we are engaged with a group, coursing through our hearts when we are together at a workshop or retreat setting and then when we come home – we tend to then hit a brick wall.
Because Love just doesn’t fit into the old container.
Love is our spiritual force, our transforming energy, that which pours through our soul, and transforms the mundane into the celebratory. This is our soul energy and eternal light, a cosmic force, an unknowable and unfathomable mystery … that we then we attempt to bring into our human world, by placing it in a container that we call a ‘relationship”. Which is natural – nothing wrong with relationships. But you see a relationship is a process and a place where we get to live out our emotional selves. Now how on earth can this great cosmic force be satisfied and honoured in our contained relationships? This is the very question that prays for an answer in this month’s article.
So lets break it down into digestible parts:
- Understanding that love is an energy (our core soul energy that moves through us)
- The “container” is the relationship (which is undergoing so much current upheaval)
Traditionally as a culture we have set the framework that marriage is the historical picture that we are heading for. It is this structure that is deeply, and I do mean deeply embedded into our psyches, as this is what we are all heading for. So deeply internalized that you could even say it is engrained into our cells. And if we don’t get there, then something is very, very wrong with us? Right?… Wrong.
Love in all its forms is happening outside marriage, in groups, friendships, sexual relationships, strangers, blind daters and across the Internet without even meeting.
It seems to me that the old paradigm of marriage needs to be either dissolved completely or radically updated. How many times have you heard the words “No matter what we have to save the marriage?” Well, what if the two people involved are miserably unhappy, what if they are making one another’s lives hell? Do we still hang in there trying to make the ‘marriage’ work or do we ask, “What happened to love?” “Do I still love this person, can I find the way to love this person, and can love be re-kindled?” If the answer is NO…. then surely we are sophisticated and authentic enough to leave, to seek, a true, intimate and wholesome sharing of love with another?
Surely the meaning of life is about loving one another, right?
The problem we have been experiencing is that marriage has become more important and has taken precedence over love – amazing.
Yet we can all understand why this happens. We are creatures of comfort and sticking with the familiar and unchanging. But something more is being asked of us now, we have come as far as we can with these ideas ands systems. Things need to change and reflect the copious changes that are happening everything. (Btw relationship has been the last thing to change in the world so far).
I am not suggesting that we abolish the institution of marriage in a reactionary impulse, instead I vote that we fully honour what marriage once meant to us as a species, to humbly bow for what it once stood for, whilst shattering the illusion of marriage, as we turn back to worship the first and foremost the Goddess (or rather Goodness) of Love.
I wonder what would happen if couples asked themselves “How can we use our marriage/relationship as the vessel of love?” Could there be such as thing as Enlightened Marriage? No, don’t laugh it could be possible.
I have tried both, marriage (one year) and serial monogamy. I don’t know about you but serial monogamy seems to work rather well for me, and there are a growing number of us out there. Those who do not opt into marriage, rather surrender to the pulse of love, and remain in service to its voice. Committing to an authentic relationship, that values integrity and communication and devotion to one another, however if the values of evolution and growth should diminish then one is free to leave and continue the path of the soul with another. Leaving in love (yes that is possible I have done that many times).
So how do you move your current relationships into post conventional territory?
First of all, go slowly. Before you do anything you need to know where you are and what is actually real and happening around you. Lets be really honest and begin with a ruthless reality check. Here are some insightful questions that will get right to the heart of the matte to find out what is actually real, or not.
A Reality Check for your Relationships
- Does your movement towards love come from your brokenness or your wholeness? What about your partner?
- Are you both seeking to evolve in the most profound sense?
- In the larger context, how does this love serve everyone involved?
- Are the feelings of hurt and pain in the relationship only coming from only a purifying, evolving place (growing pains) or are they indulging, purposefully hurtful and narcissist?
- Would you be willing to give up this great love, if you found out that it was in fact holding you back?
- What is love asking YOU (not your relationship) to do?
- What is your personal evolutionary journey? Does your relationship create the nourishment and space for that to happen?
That is what I mean by a reality check. I would say that about 9/10 people asking these questions will hit what I referred to earlier as “the brick wall”….
My advice for when you hit the brick wall, to spend long periods of time contemplating how you can evolve, how you can turn your attention back to love as you ask how to become courageous enough to birth change. Also to take comfort in the truth that we now all face these questions, that deep inside we now we can’t live like this a moment longer. Become a team as you ask these questions together. If your relationship is worth saving, join forces and feel into this new territory.
This building tsunami is threatening to bull doze into our lives, crashing into our value systems and rigid beliefs that could be hundreds 9maybe thousands) of years old (ooops forgot to check). We can move through these painful places, if we go slowly and stay in honest communication with one another.
When love beckons its hallmarks of authenticity guide you to ask profound questions of a conscious nature that searches for a greater meaning of your existence. By its very nature, its expose to us will ignite us to grow in capacity and capability towards a greater experience of love. So you could say that love, generates even more love…. If you are not experiencing that.. Then what can I tell you?
It’s either love, or it isn’t. It’s that simple.
Love is complex, simple, paradoxical and unconventional and it’s coming to a city near you, soon.