By Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith
Relationships are at the core of everything we experience in life. From our relationships with intimate partners, family, friends, colleagues, employers and employees, to Nature and the environment, and most importantly, our relationship with our Self and Spirit, how we relate influences and shapes our lives more than we imagine. In a series of eight articles on relationship, master teacher, creator of the Life Visioning™ process, and founder and Spiritual Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith provides clarity and insight into the true nature of relationships, and how to create and experience them from a place of unconditional love, wholeness, and well-being.
Relationships provide the environment for mutual growth, unfoldment, support, cheerleading, and critique to occur. Yes, you read that last word correctly: critique. And when I say critique, I’m not saying the kind of critique that hurts people’s feelings, makes them feel bad, or embarrasses them. No. I’m speaking of the kind of critique that fosters and encourages growth from a space of love and honesty that allows the person to evolve. It’s common to be triggered in relationships. And sometimes, when we’re critiquing and even in the moments that we’re not, something gets triggered. Instead of handling and addressing the trigger in the moment, it is important to establish an appointment to talk about it. You don't talk about whatever is bothering you when you're triggered because there won’t be any good communication that comes from it. They're going to trigger you. You're going to trigger them. And the only thing that will come from this is a slammed door and either you or them walking out.
When the subpersonality gets triggered and you’re aware that you've been triggered, that's when you retreat. You go to yourself and you see what’s up. What is this feeling? Is it anger? What is this emotion? You become aware that if you go in and talk about whatever is bothering you now, there will be World War III. So you stop and remove yourself from the situation. You don’t announce that you need an appointment with the other while you’re triggered because it will be met with resistance. Instead, you learn how to remove yourself and hold your own counsel. You call your licensed spiritual practitioner or someone that holds your confidence. And then at another time when things have settled, you say, “Hey, we need to have an appointment. I just got to talk to you about something.” You can have the conversation and express what came up for you but from a space of neutrality and coolness. “You know, when you said that the other day, when you did this the other day, this is what came up for me. This is how I felt. Maybe you didn't mean that, but this is what happened for me.”
Now, you can engage in dialogue. You can engage in a healthy conversation. But if you try to engage from the trigger, no communication can occur, just blame. If you wait, call your practitioner to get some prayer, be still, get yourself together and set an appointment for the conversation at a later time, then dialogue can happen and it's much better. And since, hopefully, you two are in the relationship for mutual growth, there’s a trust that happens and a certain listening that develops. You both become more aware. And with that trust as an anchor, any time you have one of those kinds of conversations, the trust gets bigger and bigger. Then, you're able to talk about different things as they come up.
When this happens, the cheerleading and supportive vibrations outstrip the critique vibration. The critic is still there but you’ll begin to notice that there’s more joy, buoyancy, and freedom in the relationship as well. There’s not a controlling domination. There’s more space there, too. You become more spacious within yourself because the material that is there in you takes up space, energetic space. When that material starts to be resolved and dissolved, you become more spacious. And then, as another individual is doing the same thing, they become more spacious.
And in that space, what's there? The qualities of God. Peace is there. Love is there. Beauty is there. Creativity is there. Let me provide an example. Have you ever walked into a room where two or three people may be sitting and they’re not speaking to each other? They're not arguing. They're not fighting, but you can actually feel there's no peace there. That’s what no space looks like. There’s a lot of material in each being that's taking up the space and it's suppressing the peace that's intrinsic to each individual.
Now, when the individuals begin to have a little space, you can walk into a room and they can be disagreeing, but the peace is still there. They may have different sides but you can notice that there's space within each other. The peace is not suppressed and they're able to dialogue about it and eventually come to an understanding that there is a high idea trying to emerge and maybe they both have an aspect of it.
When we talk about spaciousness, we're talking about the presence of God – the qualities that are alive within us. When we move from spaciousness, we have the room within ourselves to allow those qualities of Spirit to breathe and have their perfect way in us and in our relationships.