Thursday, January 14, 2010

Relationship Thursdays [Loving Consciously]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Yeah, where are all the neocons (and their black and brown co-dependents) now? Listening to hateful responses to the Haiti catastrophe on the right (thank you Rush Limpballs and Pat Robertson), I have to wonder if they have any capacity for shame...

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-=[ Conscious Loving ]=-

That which you are seeking already exists within you.

Today, a little fairytale, with a little twist...

I love tales of fantasy. One of the ways I sold my son on the pleasures of reading was to read with him Tolkien's "Hobbit," and the Ring Trilogy.

Fantastical stories can help to make our muddled world that much clearer: good and evil are often clearly defined; worlds can be created that question the way ours works.

Anyway, a few years ago I read an excellent book on love and relationships called "Mindful Loving," and the author, Henry Grayson, uses a King Arthur story to articulate unconditional, or "spiritual," love.

Sir Gawain, one of the Knights of the Round Table makes the sacrifice of marrying Ragnell -- a horrifyingly ugly woman -- in order to get information that will save King Arthur's life. On the wedding day, instead of celebration, there is a sense of mourning because King Arthur's “nene lindo,” the gallant knight Sir Gawain, is due to marry a grotesque hag.

The wedding night arrives and Sir Gawain waits in bed while Ragnell prepares herself for their first night together. Finally, Ragnell lies beside Gawain and says, “You have kept your promise and much more. All I ask of you is one kiss.”

[This is the part where everybody should go “ewwwwwww”]

Gawain, being that kind of person, leans over and kisses her, closing his eyes. When he opens them, he discovers he’s lying next to a beautiful woman! Startled, he jumps from the bed and kills her!

I’m kidding! That’s not how the story goes!

::clears throat::

Startled, he jumps from the bed and asks, “Who are you? And where is my wife? What kind of brujeria is this?” (Yes, Sir Gawain was a Nuyorican and switched language codes when excited.)

Ragnell looked Gawain in the eyes and said, “Gawain, I am your wife, Ragnell. It is time I tell you my story.”

Ragnell then tells Gawain el bochinche of how her evil stepbrother, Sir Gromer, was hatin' on her cause of her beauty and her not really feeling his authority and not following his commands. Because Gromer was such a hater, he went to his mother -- herself an evil bruja -- and turned her into one coyote-ugly looking biatche.

Ragnell paused and then told Gawain that there is a second part to this curse that she must share with him (don't you hate it when lovers pick to fess up in bed?). “Since you have treated me with love and not pity,” Ragnell said, “I am allowed to give you a choice. I can be a beautiful woman by day, so that all will admire me and consider you a lucky man, but then I would become ugly Ragnell by night, when we're fucking (oooops!) -- I mean -- lying together. Or else I could be ugly Ragnell by day only to become the beautiful woman you see before you at night. Which do you prefer?”

Without hesitation, Gawain answers her, “This should not be my choice but yours. You must choose for yourself. I will accept either decision as long as it's your will.”

With this response, the curse was lifted forever, and Ragnell could now be beautiful both day and night (but she still had bad breath -- kidding!).

The point of the story (aside from the fact that if I had been Sir Gawain, Ragnell would still be cursed) was that Sir Gawain's love was not concerned with personal needs; he saw beyond them and was concerned only with his partner's happiness and well-being. His ability to love unconditionally was what healed both of them and brought them both real joy.

Grayson says that this story captures the meaning of what he calls “empowering love,” the ability to love unconditionally. I agree that this kind of love should form the basis of a “spiritually-centered” marriage or relationship -- relationships not based on purely ego-driven needs.

I think we have lost the ability to view love as something from within, as opposed to outside, of us. In the same way, we have lost the ability to feel God (what I perceive as “pure love”) as something within us. Many think of God as the flat-earth Sky god far removed from our lives here on Earth.

When we think of love (or God) as separate from us, we unconsciously create an unquenchable thirst to seek love outside of ourselves. And believe me, this is what we are all searching for -- we wish to experince our selves as loved -- and yet we often deny it and push love away. Ironically, this keeps us in a state of seeking love.

Is this not the main motivation for our relationships? A quest to “find” love, secure it, and in the process ensure our happiness?

But how do we avoid the temptation of the narrow perspective of the ego and instead create a relationship based on unconditional love? I think some of the problems begin when we “fall in love.” But I won't get into that right now!



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