Relationships are at the core of everything we experience in life. From the relationships with families and friends, to our colleagues and employers, to nature and the environment, to intimate interactions, to the relationship with Spirit and the Self, how we relate influences and shapes our lives more than we imagine. In a series of eight articles on relationship, esteemed thought leader, creator of the Life Visioning process, and founder 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 space of Divine wholeness and well-being.
Many people desire to enter into relationships without understanding the essential nature of who they are to begin with. Before we can talk about having a relationship with another, there has to be discussion around the relationship with one’s own self. And, there has to be a proper context of who we are in relationship to the Self. Oftentimes, the so-called “failure” of relationships has more to do with the wrong context for the relationship more than the relationship itself.
The conversation of relationship, or any aspect of our lives, cannot be separated from why we are here. We have to begin always by asking the question: What is the Universe up to? What is Life up to in terms of who I am? Who we all are? The Universe is up to producing a being that can absolutely reflect and reveal the Cosmos in a way that has never happened before. Said another way, the Universe is up to producing a being that It can come into existence as.
People have a tendency to put relationships where the universal Presence should be and think they’re going to get their joy, happiness, fulfillment, love, and more from the relationships in their life. This is, perhaps, the number one mis-take in relationships: believing that your joy, happiness, love, and fulfillment can and will come from anything outside of you. The context from which I teach at Agape is that the Universe is seeking to produce a being that’s conscious, awake, and aware. The Universe is seeking to produce a being – and that being is you at your unique stage of evolution – who can absolutely reveal the nature of reality and all of the spiritual qualities of the eternal Presence which is never an absence. The Universe is seeking to produce a being who radiates the qualities of peace, love, joy, harmonizing prosperity, abundance, and the like. The Universe wants to come into Its own as us, as you and me. Then, our “relations” become a “ship” that assist us in developing ourselves so that we become a coherent, integrous being that allows for the fullness of Life to express through.
As you observe the unfoldment of humanity over the last few decades and even centuries, you will notice that relationships are evolving based on the evolution of consciousness. Years ago, when humankind was much younger, the reason for relationships was entirely different from what it is right now. It was about survival of the species, i.e., having kids and making sure you had a generation to follow you. People were very inspired to grow up and get married in order to have babies. Eventually, the reason to be in relationship expanded to, "Let's have babies and let’s get a house. And, let’s have a picket fence around the house."
At this stage of our evolutionary development, we began to see that relationships are not merely about coming together to satisfy human needs and have babies. All of the relationships in our lives, whether with our intimate partners, family, friends, coworkers, or anyone with whom we are involved, carry the vibration of transformation. Relationships bring the vibration of transformation to us so that we become more of our true selves. So, if you’re thinking that an external relationship will provide you with a sense of well-being, happiness, joy, etc., then as the proverbial statement goes, “You’re barking up the wrong tree.”
Relationships allow us to become more of ourselves – more of who we truly are. They are a channel through which the gifts of the Spirit get to express. Because the quality of our outer relationships is a reflection the inner relationship we have with ourselves, as we evolve, we discover that we’ll tend to choose to be with like-minded individuals who are consciously on the path with whom we can grow. So instead of engaging in unconscious relationships which are marked by either trying to fix people or waiting for their potential to emerge, we flow in harmony with individuals who are walking in the same direction as we are. Not that those relationships will be without challenge. However, we’re a step further because our choice was higher, and we recognize that these challenges, like all of life’s challenges, are designed for us to grow and expand in magnificent ways.
The context of relationships is in the awareness that we’re here to mature and evolve so that God, Life, the Universe, the Presence, the Cosmos gets to express its qualities through and as us. And as this happens, we become aware that the love, peace, well-being, and wholeness we try to seek in our relationships are intrinsic qualities that are already within us; our relationships are the catalyst through which we come into a greater awareness of this truth. As we come into this awareness, we cease attempting to extract our joy and love from anything and anyone outside ourselves and release our attachment to the idea that someone else will make us happy. This allows for relationships to be what they truly are: canvases upon which we get to expand and express our love, appreciation, peace, joy, creativity, beauty, opulence, and more – in essence, our God self. In other words, we get to perfect our loving, and our relationships can flourish in a state of intimacy, beauty, generosity, and deep fulfillment.