With all of the mindfulness in relationships that I've seen/heard/read lately, it all makes me fully realize that healthy relationships pose all of the lessons for self growth. Any lessons not learned in past relationships, and left unreconciled, will be thrown right back in your face in the next relationship. And, we've all got our own set of lessons to learn in this lifetime. Being in a relationship amplifies the opportunity for self growth.
In a sense, relationships are the new ashram.
Like the Eskimo's many words for 'snow', the word 'love' has a plethora of meanings in our culture -- from the romance of chemistry, to the results of arranged marriages, and all the many layers of Hollywood's silver screen imprints in between -- What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion? With all these nuances and images, lyrics and emotions, do we really know what love is? What does real love look like?
A few years back, I asked this of my therapist at the time: "What's an ideal relationship look like?"
He replied that once a commitment is made the main theme in a healthy relationship should be about personal growth: "I think marriage is a state of firm long-term intention to do our best to be in a mutually supportive relationship, "in sickness and in health." This is how arranged marriages can be so enduring, and romantic marriages so often end in divorce. The fundamental concept also has to do with purpose. If the purpose of marriage is to have the other person make us happy, we are in for a rough ride because they will inevitably disappoint in one way or another. If the purpose of life is the fulfillment of consciousness - and we are intentionally, consciously using marriage as a way to confront and work with our limitations and complex personality structures - we have a chance."
Easier said than done - indeed. No one ever said inner work was a piece of cake, but with the right intention and momentous presence, hopefully you can have your cake and eat it too.