The Second Miracle: Intimacy, Spirituality and Conscious Relationship
Richard Moss is a spiritual teacher, long-time meditator, and author. This is an excerpt from his book, The Second Miracle: Intimacy, Spirituality and Conscious Relationship. In it he speaks eloquently about how romantic relationships can be a spiritual path. Enjoy!
The most crucial mirror for me has been my marriage. As it becomes more honest, so does my teaching and I experience more and more, the nearness of God. Sadly, too many of us conspire with a partner to together live less than our personal potential.
In the journey of awakening, two complementary dynamics are essential. The primary movement comes from within. It is the enlightening impulse of the universe expressed through the soul of each of us. I refer to this as the inner teacher. The second movement comes from without. It is made up of the individuals who, through whatever means and in whatever relationships strongly influence our understanding of ourselves. But it is also includes those situations through which our lives are transformed. These are the outer teachers. The outer teacher becomes someone calling us to our fullest potential as human being in the fullness of ordinary life.
A commitment to consciousness is a way of life, not an escape from suffering, or a reward, or a path of salvation. It is, purely and simply service to what is potential in us, and this is seen ever and always in the mirror of our relationship to each other. Spiritual teaching requires a high degree of openness and availability between teacher and student and this means a genuine respect and honoring that must be mutual.
It is the role of the outer teacher to instill within the student a profound sense of love and wholeness. Paradoxically, this will mean presenting him with not only with his true beauty and soul qualities, but equally with every place where the student is non-relational, where there is withholding, self-deception, lack of integrity, and self- delusion. These must be made conscious and eventually forgiven. To me the true value of psychological work is that it is a form of self-inquiry where we learn about our own personal area of potential self-deception and distortion.
At its best, this is a relationship of great beauty and wholesomeness, but is also highly vulnerable to distortion and abuse. The integrity and wisdom with which the honoring between student and teacher is invited is crucial to whether the teaching flowers in psychospiritual maturity or whether it creates unhealthy dependency on the teacher and diminishment of the student’s connection to his own inner wisdom.
Is someone who cares for the poor, the ill, and the outcast any more heroic than someone who works to mature a long-term marriage or any long-term, committed relationship? In my life, it has seemed to me far harder to sustain and evolve these intimate relationship than it ever was to tend to the needs of suffering strangers as a physician or even in my teaching work now. The range of these latter relationships even when deeply consecrated, is intrinsically narrower in terms of the repertoire of emotional and psychological issues that must be addressed and the degree of paradox and tension within them, than in a mature marriage of equals likewise consecrated to Infinity.
Marriage generally begins as ego fulfilling, a choice for happiness that will protect us from suffering and when we are “in love” in the romantic sense, this is surely the case. But over time, if a marriage is to become a mature spiritual relationship, it will begin to call us into ever deeper levels of revelation of our unconsciousness and potential for self-deceit, and capacity to cause suffering to the other and ourselves. It holds up the possibility of a mirror in which we can ruthlessly behold how we avoid true relationship to ourselves, God and each other. When we grant to our spouse equal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual authority as we imagine for ourselves and become Guru and Shakti, teacher and beloved to each other, calling each other back, again and again, to Infinity, this to me is truly heroic.