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Integral relationships

Last post 05-10-2007, 6:03 PM by ambosuno. 684 replies.
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  •  09-21-2006, 6:43 PM 8799 in reply to 8764

    Re: Integral relationships

    Davidd:

    tamgoddess:
    The challenge is to continue to be naked with the other in your relationship, though. It's easy enough when you're just starting out. But there comes a day when you don't say what you're feeling, and it creeps up on you, seemingly inevitably, so subtly that you miss it entirely. To keep that day at bay...that is the challenege I have yet to meet fully.


    Yup.  Tell me about it, dear Liz...Smile [:)]  Maybe the rest of us too. The clue (seems to me) is to see why one is holding back.... Fear of hurting the other.  Shame.  Lack of complete trust.  Whatever.  All those issues that weren't dealt with at the start, in the understandable rush of love..  But seeing it is the thing.  If you're seeing it, you're not doing it.  That's being naked with oneself.    In the mirror, not looking away....


     


     


     



    Seems to me David that it's about the story that we tell ourselves about ourselves. That we're actually some "one" that can be hurt. It's all about our attachment to self (with a small "s"). If we didn't have a fragile ego, we would be so naked, transparent, and present for every single person we came in contact with that you would just feel the love flowing forth. Cause really, when the small ego self is extinguished, what's left, but God. And can God do anything but love?

    I've been totally grooving on these questions. I've always believed that relationship is one of the most profound, powerful sadhanas available. So thanks to all for your thoughts and insights.
    There are two types of conversations worth having; those about the deepest things, and gossip!
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  •  09-21-2006, 6:49 PM 8800 in reply to 8799

    Re: Integral relationships

    Yes, but before that step, the self must be integrated. Going straight to the enlightened awareness has its attraction, but it's a spiritual bypass on all the crap you need to unlearn or relearn or integrate or leave behind.

    An asshole who realizes enlightenment is an enlightened asshole, to paraphrase KW. This process must be AQAL to achieve the most enlightened stage of being. I'd like to get there all in one piece, not dragging the ugly bits behind me. (unintentional irony aside) That's how we get people who can bring people up a stage just by their presence, and who also sexually abuse their students. No thanks.Indifferent [:|]

    Liz


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  •  09-21-2006, 9:38 PM 8812 in reply to 8172

    Re: Integral relationships

    Hi DavidD,

    Davidd:
    Now, depth is the tricky part.  I'll throw out the suggestion here that achieving intersubjective depth is the LL equivalent of achieving higher stages of consciousness in the UL quadrant. Any takers for that idea? If not, what would be the equivalent?


    I think you are right that romantic relationships are one type of intersubjective experience, among others such as friends, parents and children, although I hesitate to equate it with higher stages in the UL.

    Davidd:
    In the UL, you meditate and engage in spiritual practices to increase the chances of development.  In the LL, the practice is to empathise.


    I agree with you here too, although it should be pointed out that Tibetan and Vipassana Buddhist traditions hold lovingkindness meditation as an essential element in spiritual development. The Metta Bhavana is a five-stage model of expanding circles of compassion and inclusion. To summarize very briefly, the meditation begins with yourself, then a friend or someone I care about, a person I feel neutrally towards, a difficult or hateful person, and then finally, all sentient beings.

    This model maps well with the existing models such as preconventional/conventional/post-conventional or egocentric/ethnocentric/worldcentric, so I think that's a good case for saying that achieving intersubjective span is what we are looking for here; higher states of consciousness in this area means a broader range of people to whom we can feel compassion towards, which is embodied in the Buddhist concept of Boddhisattva, someone who vows to liberate all sentient beings.

    You are of course correct to identify empathy as the primary area of growth in this area, and I'd like to share a few observations from my experience on the nature of empathy and egocentrism.

    My two year-old daughter is capable of something that might be confused with empathy. Sometimes she becomes upset and bursts into tears when other children around her are hurt or upset, but I don't think this is true empathy, since she's actually reacting to an almost automatic sympathetic response that she locates in her own interior. To use an analogy, we all know yawning is contagious, but just because you have 'caught' a yawn doesn't mean that you are actually empathizing with someone's sense of being tired. What this means is that people operating from an egocentric stage are actually capable of something like empathy, but its empathy to their own painful reaction to an automatic sympathetic response. This is why, for an egocentric person, supressing empathy is a logical reaction -- its like removing a splinter from your finger. Egocentric people are also capable of being in relationships and experiencing blissful connection and resonance with another person. Simply not caring about others' feelings is a type of egocentrism, but an egocentric person can be very sensitive to others' feelings, to the extent that their own feelings are affected. For example, the Magical concept of the soulmate is a belief that stems from an egocentric worldview that ranks everything in relation to the strength of my feelings about them, and its possible to actively seek out and desire intersubjective resonance in a completely egocentric way. We see this often in real life, when we notice a completely infatuated with each other to the exclusion of other friends and family. The overwhelming romantic feelings actually cause the couple to regress to a less compassionate, less loving state.

    Returning again to the concept of a kosmocentric, all-encompassing love for all sentient beings, it seems clear to me that an integral relationship takes its place in the context of this overriding goal. I believe that a relationship which we engage in mindfully could be a kind of spiritual practice, perhaps even something like a koan. On a daily basis, we have the opportunity to notice when we are closed and lacking in empathy, and practice a brief lovingkindness meditation.

    Davidd:
    From an integral perspective, I'd say that a relationship is on-going intersubjectivity. Momentary intersubjectivity isn't a relationship: my chat with the postman this morning doesn't mean that we have a thing going on.


    I think a kosmocentric perspective would view a relationship with the postman as extremely important. We can recognize that the postman experiences sadness, pain, loss, joy, happiness and all kinds of suffering, and is trying to liberate himself just like every other sentient being! This is an obvious thing to see intellectually, but a very difficult thing to really feel with the heart. We are closed off to intimacy because we regard love as something to be hoarded and given out in carefully measured doses to people who will reciprocate it; we don't want to invest time and energy into someone who won't give us what we need. The solution to this is spiritual practice -- if we can see the wisdom of emptiness, an ego free of attachment and cravings, and the interconnectedness of all things, we are free to access the boundless love that the universe offers in every moment and to recognize that we can be a vehicle for that love for all sentient beings.
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  •  09-22-2006, 2:07 AM 8837 in reply to 8812

    Re: Integral relationships

    mrteacup:
    My two year-old daughter is capable of something that might be confused with empathy. Sometimes she becomes upset and bursts into tears when other children around her are hurt or upset, but I don't think this is true empathy, since she's actually reacting to an almost automatic sympathetic response that she locates in her own interior. To use an analogy, we all know yawning is contagious, but just because you have 'caught' a yawn doesn't mean that you are actually empathizing with someone's sense of being tired. What this means is that people operating from an egocentric stage are actually capable of something like empathy, but its empathy to their own painful reaction to an automatic sympathetic response. This is why, for an egocentric person, supressing empathy is a logical reaction -- its like removing a splinter from your finger. Egocentric people are also capable of being in relationships and experiencing blissful connection and resonance with another person. Simply not caring about others' feelings is a type of egocentrism, but an egocentric person can be very sensitive to others' feelings, to the extent that their own feelings are affected.


    I love this - this is what I was trying to get at in an earlier post, and here you've expressed it brilliantly and further clarified it for me - thank you!

    Welcome to the board, Mr.tea.  Smile [:)] 

    arthur


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  •  09-22-2006, 3:49 AM 8839 in reply to 8812

    Re: Integral relationships

    mrteacup:
    I think you are right that romantic relationships are one type of intersubjective experience, among others such as friends, parents and children, although I hesitate to equate it with higher stages in the UL.

    the Magical concept of the soulmate is a belief that stems from an egocentric worldview that ranks everything in relation to the strength of my feelings about them, and its possible to actively seek out and desire intersubjective resonance in a completely egocentric way. We see this often in real life, when we notice a completely infatuated with each other to the exclusion of other friends and family. The overwhelming romantic feelings actually cause the couple to regress to a less compassionate, less loving state.

    Great insights, Teacup...Smile [:)]

    Yes, my suggestion that relationships - in proportion to their 'depth' - are the equivalent of higher stages of personal spiritual experience is pretty bold, I know.  I don't yet see that its wrong, though. If all the Quadrants are equal, and if they all co-emerge, why should the personal, the UL, be privileged in terms of growth and evolution and development?  The UL happens to be particularly interesting to Wilber, and he has focussed on it a lot, but he too has referred to intersubjectivity as the 'miracle of miracles'.   And don't most people seem at least as interested in their relationships (with partners but also with their children etc) as in their personal spiritual life?  Aren't they usually more so, even those who spend time on spiritual development?   And this doesn't feel wrong to me.  I suspect that the idea that personal spirituality is somehow more important, and that 'worldly' relationships are somehow inferior, derives from religions, priestly celibacy and so on.  Wilber happens to write mainly about his spirituality, and doesn't say much about his relationships (with the wonderful exception of his relationship with Treya), and of course he has a perfect right to privacy - but in reality his relationships are likely to be of similar personal importance to his UL experiences....

    The examples you give of practice to develop compassion - lovingkindness (one might add Tonglen too) - are of course highly relevant. However, they're somewhat one way.  No argument that developing compassion and empathy is essential for spiritual growth.  But.  What you're talking about is UL practice again.   LL, intersubjectivity, would be a mutual practice, wouldn't it?   Its the relationship which grows.  

    Caring about my postman is UL.  The interaction between us is the LL.  Not he and/or I.  The interaction.

    In the UL, I grow; in the LL, the relationship grows, because the two 'I''s have surrendered to what is greater than the two of us.  The 'we' isn't I + I, which would still be two individuals.  Its the relationship.  That's what I'm arguing anyway.

    You can think of two people who are deeply in love as two individuals with strong feelings for each other.  That's what we usually do, and that is a right quadrant perspective which interprets what's happening as UL experience.  And of course its partly true.  But what is being missed?  What is missed is the relationship itself, the 'we' experience.  The LL experience.  You can't see it, but its the most vividly real thing in the universe to the partners themselves.  Does that mean that its selfish, because it doesn't involve others?  I don't think so.  Here's why:

    Your example of infatuated lovers is very true. Yes, there are relative depths of intersubjectivity, from shallow and egotistical to....  Uncharted fathoms, but somewhat evoked by Marianthi early in the thread when she talked about sweet unfoldings....  All I would add is that the experience of deep intimacy - in contrast to shallow and egotistical alliances - 'raises us up'.  It has to.  We can't change in one quadrant without changing in the others.  Loving truly and being truly loved makes us better people.  Is that not so?

    Good wishes - and welcome!

    ~ David 

     

     


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  •  09-22-2006, 7:21 AM 8850 in reply to 8839

    Re: Integral relationships

    i think this  love-thing would be sooo much less complecated if each guy had a wife-woman for each chakra....it would make perfect sense, no? especially in societies where women do the 'whore' thing to the tea..."i'm a  man teasing-pleasing,  the best of em' all biiiitch going"

    yah, the first chakra wife might sound somthing like - "i'll serve you to the best of my ability, i will cook , clean for you, do your laundry, change your sheets every day, i'll be the best mummy going"

    yah, second chakra wife may sound somt. like - "i'll spread my legs for you any time loverboy...i'll suk u , il pleas u any which way you want me to , i'll be the best porn babe going for you, and if you want o have porn videos playing whilst i'm at it, that's sooooo fine with me"

    yah, the thrid chakra woman sezing  - " i'm here for you babee ,you and i shall share all those touche-feely spaces, i shall listen with rapt attention to you without interuptions....or wotever"

    yah, the fourth heart-chakra woman is the best - "please love me, and only me, lets do the touchy-feelie thang to the max...i will be the  most devoted woman going, if u carve out some heart to heart time just for me"

    yah, the fifth chakra woman is always on the look out, always vigilant..."i can't be to vocal  , i must concentrate on paying attention to his points of view, besides, what if i open my mouth and he disagrees....silence is golden, and he might even think i'm smart"

    winging it along........

    yah, the third eye chakra wife-partner sez  - "hell if im gona share what i see, he needs not to be perturbed by any shape or form, or wotever, lest he dumps me ...so i will sweetly smile"

    yah, the crown chakra lady sez - "if i'm not you lover, your girl, then you're not my man" - 

     

      

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  •  09-22-2006, 7:41 PM 8940 in reply to 8839

    Re: Integral relationships

    Davidd:
    Yes, my suggestion that relationships - in proportion to their 'depth' - are the equivalent of higher stages of personal spiritual experience is pretty bold, I know.  I don't yet see that its wrong, though. If all the Quadrants are equal, and if they all co-emerge, why should the personal, the UL, be privileged in terms of growth and evolution and development?


    Of course, its not. But when we speak of spiritual experience, we are typically including the UL quadrant. And as others have pointed out, love is a verb, its something that I do. In another post, you said "intersubjective intimacy IS a spiritual experience - transforming us." What is being transformed? Only the LL intersubjective space? One problem I see here is that, as you point out, many of the world's greatest spiritual teachers renounced romantic relationships and intimacy. What should we say about the Buddha, who developed a kosmocentric system of ethics in the LL quadrant? Is the absence of intimacy in his life signify arrested spiritual development? This is a very bold claim indeed!

    Davidd:
    But.  What you're talking about is UL practice again.   LL, intersubjectivity, would be a mutual practice, wouldn't it? Its the relationship which grows... Caring about my postman is UL.  The interaction between us is the LL.  Not he and/or I.  The interaction.


    The meditations themselves are solitary practices, but Buddhist ethics are an expression of kosmocentric empathy put into practice in the LL quadrant. I think empathy is not an attribute of the relationship, its a level of a developmental line in the UL quadrant that each individual in the relationship brings to the table. Its quite possible for two partners to have very different levels of development in this area. Also, the stage of development in the LL is dependent on the stage of development in the UL of its individual members. If you have a room full of Green people, you will get a Green stage of intersubjectivity, etc.
    Also, I think that any time empathy is expressed, whether reciprocated or even noticed consciously by the person its directed towards, it creates an effect and is an intersubjective phenomenon. Since everything is interconnected, every part of the universe is having an intersubjective experience of varying degrees with every other part, and an expression of love is never meaningless because the entire universe is within the all-encompassing embrace of love. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be defining the highest stages of LL as a deep and intimate romantic relationship with another person. I believe that one could experience it in this way, but its not the only way.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts!
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  •  09-23-2006, 3:55 AM 8966 in reply to 8940

    Re: Integral relationships

    Many years ago, I met a man. I said I loved him. But I acted with him as he was an asshole, a silly man. He was a perfect vehicle to express my hanger against men. I lived a love fantasy.  Without concerns for his feelings. I thought I was a kind woman but I was a bitch in fact.

    I said him also that I Trusted him. And it was true. Since the first time I met him, at another Level, I felt a strong interconnection and confidence. He was a Friend. I Loved him.

    Between both my mind was squeezed, confused.  Did I love him or not?

    So, we can love with just one or two bodies but an integral relationship needs an alignment of our 3-bodies: body, mind and spirit.

    My point is during those years, I consider we were in this intersubjective process of spiritual transformation.  The love relationship is not the only mean to do it but it is a really good one it seems.  The largest part of population desires a healthy love relation.  To identify a process to improve a love relationship would be a good mean to make more accessible a spiritual growth at a larger population.

     

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  •  09-23-2006, 6:22 AM 8971 in reply to 8940

    Re: Integral relationships

    mrteacup:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be defining the highest stages of LL as a deep and intimate romantic relationship with another person. I believe that one could experience it in this way, but its not the only way.

    Well, Teacup, thank YOU for the opportunity to clarify that I definitely DON'T define the highest stages of LL as a deep and intimate romantic relationship with another person!  Smile [:)]   The thread has focussed on such relationships, but as far as I'm concerned they are just an example of intersubjectivity.  OK?  In my own life, my relationship with my four children has been transformational. Others have deep relationships with parents or friends which are as profound as any romantic pairing.   In fact, if you recall, I even (a little humorously) adduced inter-species relationships - though that's not so dumb when you consider the warmth of relationships between some people and their pets.  I've posted a pic of my dog a couple of times on the forums!  So you and I are very much in agreement here.  

    You make an interesting point about Buddha: does 'the absence of intimacy in his life signify arrested spiritual development'? So what makes you say that there was an absence of intimacy in his life?  Erotic intimacy, sure, after his enlightenment - but as we agree, sexuality isn't the same as intimacy by any means.  Wasn't the Buddha intimate with his followers, as Jesus was with his disciples?  Isn't that a beautiful example of intersubjectivity?

    I'm not a Buddhist, but Wilber is.  He uses as his exemplar of UL, the ultimate 'I', Buddha.  His exemplar of the ultimate 'It', the Right Quadrants, is the Dharma.  His exemplar of LL, the ultimate 'We'?  The Sangha.

    I salute your tea with my coffee (see my pic on the left)

     Coffee [C]

    ~ David

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
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  •  09-23-2006, 6:38 AM 8972 in reply to 8966

    Re: Integral relationships

    IAMisHome:

    So, we can love with just one or two bodies but an integral relationship needs an alignment of our 3-bodies: body, mind and spirit.

    My point is during those years, I consider we were in this intersubjective process of spiritual transformation.  The love relationship is not the only mean to do it but it is a really good one it seems.  The largest part of population desires a healthy love relation.  To identify a process to improve a love relationship would be a good mean to make more accessible a spiritual growth at a larger population.

    That's a lovely post, IAM isHome.  Your authenticity shines out.

    I am totally at one with you here.  There is such a focus on spiritual development through individual practice.  Integral marks an important move forward, since now there is an emphasis on the ILP, on practice in all Quadrants.  In this thread we have been giving special attention to that perhaps neglected (in spiritual terms) LL Quadrant.  We should take another look at our relationships of whatever kind - romantic, friendship, relatives, whatever.  Rather than take them for granted, if we bring our awareness to them in the same way that we devote time and attention to meditation or mindfulness or prayer growth can take place, just as you say.   And what we have been agreeing - it seems - is that we don't have to sit passively by and wait for our relationships to deepen into intimacy.  We can and we must take deliberate action.  For example, putting more time aside to share with others each day, learning to accept and receive love as well as to give it!   Because its mutual.  Its intersubjective.

    Smile [:)]

    btw, an alignment of our 3 bodies.  Relationships are far more complex and intricate than they may seem, aren't they...  They may seem cold or distant on the surface but that only disguises the deep shafts which have been sunk.  They may seem fraught and conflictual but behind that there is infinite tenderness.  Passionate yet gentle... They are seldom simple and they are always changing. They have a life of their own, and attempts at controlling them tend to lead to their death...

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
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  •  09-23-2006, 6:58 AM 8975 in reply to 8971

    Re: Integral relationships

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  •  09-23-2006, 3:48 PM 9082 in reply to 8940

    Re: Integral relationships

    Teacup mentions "many of the world's greatest spiritual teachers renounced romantic relationships and intimacy. What should we say about the Buddha, who developed a kosmocentric system of ethics in the LL quadrant? Is the absence of intimacy in his life signify arrested spiritual development?"

    I suspect that the reason many contemplative spiritual traditions minimize intimate romantic relationships is because they arise from or reflect a small sense of self and the ego. They involve attachment, dependency, jealousy, etc. And if the "goal" of a contemplative path is enlightenment, then those traditions would be hesitant to reinforce anything that would get in the way of achieving that goal.

    But as Tamgoddess mentions as well "before that step, the self must be integrated. Going straight to the enlightened awareness has its attraction, but it's a spiritual bypass on all the crap you need to unlearn or relearn or integrate or leave behind".

    I couldn't agree more. It's precisely why I believe relationship IS a spiritual practice. But it was denied or minimized by the contemplative traditions because they weren't aware of what the western enlightement/psychology brought to the table, and that's all the stuff about shadow, unconscious, etc. Perhaps there was less ego around in the days that the Buddha started his party, but there's LOTS of ego around now, and relationship is a perfect vehicle to confront all the ego stuff that has got to be cleared out to reach enlightenment. It's in no way the ONLY way to reach the big E, but it's effective! As long as all partners are using the relationship to that end, with conscious intention to practice relationship as a vehicle towards growth. And I intentionally used "all partners" instead of "both partners" because I think this is as true with polyamorous relationships as it is with traditional two party relationships. And this could certainly apply to family relationships as well. Didn't Ram Das say "if you think you're enlightened, spend a weekend with your parents". :-)
    There are two types of conversations worth having; those about the deepest things, and gossip!
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  •  09-23-2006, 4:17 PM 9085 in reply to 9082

    Re: Integral relationships

    Kameshvar:
    "if you think you're enlightened, spend a weekend with your parents". :-)

    Smile [:)]Smile [:)]Smile [:)]

     


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  •  09-23-2006, 6:41 PM 9097 in reply to 9082

    • marianthi is not online. Last active: 02-09-2008, 6:07 PM marianthi
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    Re: Integral relationships

    Kameshvar,

    I think that in the days and cultures of Buddha and up to recent times for many other cultures,  the man-woman relationship was definately seen in a different light.  Woman was a useful reproductive tool and/or workhorse and/or link to economic goods and/or means to socio-political partnerships for the man etc.  And you can add whatever the man was for the woman. 

    Whoever wishes for ´the good old times´should have a full Medical immediately. 

    Marianthi.

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  •  09-23-2006, 6:54 PM 9099 in reply to 8972

    Re: Integral relationships

    I believed it was not good to write spontaneously but if I want to be able sharing significatively I have to do.  So, if you have something against that, tell me about it.

    Usually, we have a relationship beginning with the body and, we have some chance (really rare) or practice Smile [:)] we attain the spiritual body.  In that relation, I feel like it started from the spiritual body and if we have chance or practice Smile [:)] it could attain the harmony in the body.  

    Romanticism, I seek in the dictionnary is the expression of "me" in feelings and emotion rather than rationnal. Can the romanticism expressed in other kind of relations?  I never knew a relation so romantic even if we were spiritual friends. Mr Tea, you speak of romanticism negatively it seems.  That I felt was like that I felt somedays in front of the majesty of the world.  When one see a human being so kind, so thoughtful than believe that God is living.

    In the body, life is not perfect.  We have pain, sadness, we have joy, and love.  But all that is Perfect.

     I tried a lot to have this kind of relationship with the members of my family or with other friends. It is very difficult.  It has like a frontier.  I tried a lot of things and nothing worked like I desired. But, things worked all the same.  Even when we make some errors, it's again better than nothing.  Something changed with one of my sister. And where there had no true contact, now it has regular contacts.  I mean by contact a deeper contact. I agree with you, with regular tries, we achieve to crush the armour.

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