The Way to the Sacred, and the Challenges of Sharing a Sensuous Relationship
I provide a number of seminar tours every year, predominantly in Europe. And in every tour, I am asked if ever I would consider giving a seminar course on Sacred relationship. Many men and women have spoken to me privately about shifting out of the relationship or marriage forms they had previously chosen. Some are searching for fewer boundaries, some for more. Some want multiple partners, some want only one. Some want more freedom, some want more rules. Some prefer to be more intimate, some want more autonomy. Rarely have I encountered any two people who want exactly the same arrangement in their relationships. So, I’ve hesitated offering any.
There are plenty of formula courses on creating the ideal or perfect relationship already out there. Coming up with an alternate or similar version wouldn’t be difficult. But I find any prototypal formula for creating the perfect relationship can be potentially misleading. Many of these courses have value and have helped couples find what they had hoped for. But so too, every relationship is unique. Placing the pressures or concepts of any single ideal way of being in a relationship can simultaneously present the very real possibility of ruining the essential innocence that’s necessary in being in an ever-changing process. And in that formula, there is the very real possibility of losing one’s self, rather than finding one’s self.
Every relationship requires constant renewal and insight. Most relationship couples are adamant about finding a place of safety. When in fact, real growth-oriented relationships are anything but safe. Truthful relationships inherently call up every ego boundary and learned ideal to make them grist for the mill. They’re not much good to us if they’re simply safe. We need them to be our best effort at being real, but doing that requires us to risk opening doors and windows into ourselves that require more of a discovery than a set formula. And sometimes, in order t for a couple to find what is truly real for them, it requires first breaking the form altogether.
If we mindfully set aside our desire to justify or assert our identity, we might to some measure reach past our sense of separation and come to recognize that we all share an essential Sacredness. The prevailing ideal in our ever-fallible human love relationships is to find a means to achieve that unconditional way of seeing the other while also appreciating the natural carnal states of physical duality and sensuality. This process or manner of being is simpler than most people might expect. But it’s also rarely realized.
It’s a profoundly spiritual concept, but doesn’t require any specific religious involvement or sectarian influence. I touch on this here because religion is generally universal, while spirituality is virtually always personal. Sacred relationship is of course a religious concept, but it’s really more spiritual because it’s so deeply personal. Ideally, Sacred relationship is a couple union in which both are moved to appreciate the Divine in each other. Religion does not invariably play a part in that. It is to experience Oneness through sharing a mutual path. But this is rarely attained due to the life-jading experiences we endure in real everyday living, commonly brought on through our search for perfection in a world where nobody’s perfect.
For thousands of people, I represent their ideal teacher for spiritual guidance. Consequently, I am quite often projected on as having to be that imagined ideal that they’ve been told that teacher must be. This is certainly easy to understand, but this notion of pre-imagined forms is hopelessly flawed and sadly limiting at best.
Whatever action I take, or facet of knowledge I present, it passes uniquely through the mind of every audience participant. When that happens the spectator naturally searches his or her memory database and compares my actions to some kind of past indoctrination of ideals or concepts. This innocent and automated action of scrutiny is particularly acute when it comes to relationship interactions. Which unfortunately, too often relies on a double standard. What the everyday common man or woman might choose to experience or partake in for themselves is rarely a tolerable or acceptable medium for their spiritual teacher.
The following story is an example of how that can play out, as it happened in my own life approximately ten years ago. In presenting the following true story, it is important to first understand that I am not a celibate. I observe the idyllic view that relationship sexuality is an exquisite, vital, and nourishing feature in being human. I also believe strongly that the restrictive or judgmental rules that differing echelons of society try to enforce on relationships are for most people far too flawed to endure. I hold to this belief because every person is unique and has differing needs, and as such, has an inborn divine right to orient their sexual needs and relationships uniquely.
Forms of Relationships in our Society and the Freedom of Choice
I also feel strongly that the #MeToo movement has an important part to play in kickstarting possible remedies for imbalanced male-female interactions in a world that struggles to understand. At the same time, I find it profoundly wrong to judge relationships unsympathetically when making personal choices for polygamy, monogamy, heterosexuality or homosexuality, or for that matter making a choice for celibacy.
Aside from the usual inborn urges of differing body types and mental constitutions, these above labels in themselves are typically representative of people searching for belonging through endeavoring to fit into a niche-identity. But, for that reason, I find it nearly impossible to fit in to any of those categories. Albeit, to the onlooker, I no doubt appear to be a monogamist. More precisely, a serial monogamist, who chooses to have only one partner at a time, versus the staunch monogamist who chooses to have only one partner for a lifetime.
I have been married twice in this lifetime. My second and present marriage has divinely occupied my life for the last thirty years. Hence my appearance of being a serial monogamist. But my choice for being in only that one relationship is not because I believe monogamy is superior to other choices. It is simply what I prefer as my means to uphold my involvment with what I perceive to be an evolving Sacred relationship. Before and between my marriages I enjoyed numerous relationships, each dominated by one essential desire, to find that “Sacred relationship.” —More on that later.
Recent conservative studies in the US confirm that 55% to 60% of people will drift beyond their vowed boundaries at least once in their marriage. Numerous experts on the subject of relationship now claim that monogamy is on the wane, and that it will likely be a minor choice in the future. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t see it fading away anytime soon.
That said, what we see is not always what is. Many marriages today may appear monogamous on the surface, but have clandestine affairs going on, some lasting for years. Some change their course and convalesce, and move on to a deeper and more faithful type of marriage. Others agree on a more flexible kind of relationship arrangement allowing occasional outside partners. Others simply resign themselves to a life of intimacy-discontent, while agreeing to stay together for economic or friendship reasons.
My feeling on this is that no one has the right to judge or condemn any of these choices, as they are all a part of each participant’s journey into self-discovery. All beings are in one way or another seeking love. Though that path may be fraught with mishaps and faulty choices, in the end, it is that core search for love that inevitably leads to the quest for our Sacred relationships.
My own Journey to Sacred Relationship
Before I met my present wife, I had begun to lean toward living a life of celibacy. I had come to the decision that all I desired in relationship was already there inside me, found where my individuated consciousness touches the unconditional unified side of existence. Where all beings exist in a single field of grace.
I had just come out of a year of silence, hidden away in a mountain retreat, when a friend from my past came to visit and asked if I would like to meet a young artist in Seattle who had dedicated her art to giving form to her spiritual visions. I agreed, and unexpectedly, I soon found a love blossoming in my heart unlike anything I had experienced previously in my life. I saw her human beauty, but there was so much more. There seemed to be no resistance in her as my gaze passed beyond the surface limits of her green eyes and touched her high Self essence. I knew instantly I had a chance at exploring the shore of that genuine Sacred relationship I had been looking for in all my past relationships. She saw the same, and after living and adjusting together for a few years, we married each other on a Sacred heiau plateau on the North Shore of Kauai. We both knew it; we had found a third path, hers, mine and what came about as a result of the two embraced in Oneness. We soon found ourselves living our uniqueness unreservedly, while also remaining embraced in the great Yab-Yum in that united field that lives on eternally beyond any limits and conditions.
Our lives danced in harmony as I evolved my work, offering classes more and more in Europe, while she generously cared for and supported anyone who came to us in need of healing, assurance or inspiration. But in that process, life unexpectedly bore down on us, as it so often does without warning and fairness. Her father tragically took his own life, catapulting her into an unending shock and disillusionment of pain that would last years.
The impact was felt immediately in our relationship as she understandably withdrew from her usual willingness to fully open her heart to life, or to me. Her trust in being in this world had been marred by tragic circumstances and it unintentionally played out in our relationship. Her kindness and compassion for all beings continued, perhaps even deepened, but her intimate closeness to me had become circumstantially splintered. We spoke of it often, and it was clear she wanted to break through her pain to return to that place we had once known together, but it was obvious that her effort to heal the disparity would take time.
Years passed, and the wear of missing the “us” was slowly taking its toll on me. She was born with a celestial heart, so sensitive and heavenly that it began to look as if it might take a complete withdrawal to rekindle her essential Goddess Self that lives beyond the burning and destructive forces that so often rise up to test the light. I wasn’t certain then which path would be her right one. It was a choice only she could make. Would she need to withdraw from life as she knew it, and from our relationship and return to a place of renewed innocence, like a child restarting life? Or would she find her way through the ordeal in our nurturing environment that we created in our shared home? I was determined not to give up on staying the course. But, —I was not fully prepared that missing her previous full-on love was becoming a vulnerability for me.
As a result, I made a grave error in judgment. A long time passed. Invariably, I started to imagine that her ordeal had caused her to lose her love for me. She had been my sanctuary, our shared home in Oneness on this Earth. Not having the right to impose my desire to push her to heal through it, I absorbed myself more heavily in my work, while unknowingly rendering myself less aware of the subtle fog of vulnerability that was forming.
As a part of my work I’ve counselled many couples through relationship issues, most of which were to some degree related to one or both partners looking for love beyond their monogamous marriage boundaries. As a medium for that, sexuality was almost always their primary means to open the channels to that hoped for goal. Each time, in their attempt to find remedy, the deciding factor that allowed them to reconnect to their marriage came down to a simple choice, were they able to love without condition, as a natural expression of their essential being. Or, were they unyieldingly dependent on the love of the other to give them their sense of wholeness? The first choice inspiring a near instant sense of fulfillment and return to center. The second choice most always leading to a deepening vulnerability. —A vulnerability that is destined to search for a resolution externally.
As I stated before, Sacred relationship is a couple union in which both are moved to appreciate the Divine in each other. It is to experience Oneness through sharing a mutual path. It is a coalesced path, but is fully dependent on each person’s relationship with themselves. There is but one reliable formula. In realizing Oneness in one’s self, Oneness is realized in the relationship. Realizing love arises from the Oneness, only then can love come to life within the relationship.
The path to Sacred relationship cannot survive the illusion that demands the other be the source for their own fulfillment. In Sacred relationship it is we ourselves whom we seek, the other is merely our opportunity to share the shine of our discovery. Once realized, love is sourced solely from within, in an open field of shared Oneness. What the other does, or does not do, is no longer the deciding factor in love.
My error in judgement was inadvertently succumbing to a call to find fulfilment externally. Fortunately, in our search for Sacred relationship, given enough time and experience, our errors can through sincerity and inward insight mature into a greater strength and deepening wisdom. In my seminars, acting as an authoritative voice, or in presenting an example for what people are striving for, I tend to draw others who are seeking their ideal relationship. As a result, I’m quite often propositioned or pegged as a target for a possible affair that might lead to a new relationship. I’ve accepted that as a part of my public exposure and work, but have not in thirty years chosen to step over the line to engage in that kind of call. Except once, ten years ago.
A German woman with strong sensual urges had been participating in my seminars for a few years. She was cleverly coquettish, strategic, acutely aggressive and highly robust in her sensuality. By the time I realized she had no uncertain designs on me, I was already interrelating with her flirtations. I need to add here that this was not entirely her doing, it was also my choice to participate. Normally I would have just let those kinds of intentions slide by without giving them much concern, but that vulnerability fog had a firm grip on me. Not fully aware of its implications, it was calling me out of my usual indifference to the natural human seductive game.
It’s also important to note here, it often matters little to relationship hopefuls if their target relationship is married or not. It’s not uncommon for people in our contemporary societies to test the waters of other relationships, which is one of the ways they shift and change today. Having advised so many couples, I’ve come to learn that it is the most common way many find their partners. As I stated earlier, life is a journey that is unique to each person, in which everyone has the free will to choose their path. The only limits in life are the ones we choose.
There was an unquestionable conflict in my heart. I suddenly found myself standing in stark contrast with two of my cardinal rubrics: Never get involved sexually with a student, and more importantly, never betray my choice for monogamy in my relationship. But my heart had grown weary in the long wait for my beloved to return. And, this woman seemed uncannily able to tune into that. Initially the flirtation seemed harmless, which moved back and forth for over a year. I was buffered from any meaningful physical interactions because we lived on opposite sides of the ocean, and during the few weeks a year when I was in Europe, I was consistently around the clock with the one woman I truly loved, my wife. But then one evening during a Northern Italian seminar retreat, I found myself crossing the line.
In that moment, it appeared this single act was going to end my chosen relationship in the worst possible way. I had not resolved my vulnerability inwardly, and in my actions, I profoundly distressed my wife. When the deciding moment arrived, a simple standalone realization set in —I did not love the new woman I had interacted with. I had only one love burning in my heart, the deeper spiritual one that had been my Sacred relationship! But it now appeared that relationship might come to an abrupt end. And, understandably so. I had broken the form. I found myself standing on a precipice between two realities, my imperfect human circumstance, and my divine retreat in Oneness.
But then something extraordinary happened. As a consequence of the old form being shattered, my beloved was able to reach through the fog and see me again. Not the betrayer that the darker side of society often brands the person who might choose to risk breaking a relationship, but that person she truly loved, who had been long missing our love, and as a result, finally took the risk to either end everything or have that deciding moment enliven a new start.
Shared Oneness Is an Evolution
Ten years later I am still with my beloved. The difference from where we were before and how we are now is best captured in the magnificent depth of our present love and innocent listening for what might be, rather than affirming should be. The idea of relationship and what we are taught it must be is no longer relevant to either of us. Instead, each moment is a choice, a clear honoring of ourselves and the other. All expectation had been circumstantially torn away and a purer and more mature innocence returned. An innocence not based on a need for my beloved to bring me fulfillment, but on the endless discovery in unearthing and freely offering up the shine of our Self-generated love.
Over the last ten years the revelations on Sacred relationship were many. The most significant are listed below:
7 REVELATIONS on Sacred relationship
Text: Aaravindha Himadra