At the beginning of the month, Maude visited her old haunts in Europe while Phil stayed home. We both wrote about the experience of the separation and how it highlighted the sense of union that we have. This makes it a perfect topic for today because we’re in Carson City celebrating our wedding anniversary.
MAUDE: I’m sitting here in Amsterdam snuggled in a captivating old house (old even by European standards), deliciously ensconced mid-house while the rain pours down outside.
Phil is in Santa Barbara. Nine hours behind me, just waking up to a day I’ve been in for many hours already. We’re on different continents, in different time zones, and yet our bond remains fully intact and unchanged.
The night before I departed on this journey, we had a moving conversation about our bond, its characteristics and spirit-based, almost mystical nature. We have written several times that when we physically separate, we have no sense of distance or any sort of disconnect.
How can this be?
It involves a choice, an alignment. We have chosen to enter and remain in a state of union, of trust and undefended openness. We are both committed to each other and to that bond. This choice is all-important to having the kind of conflict-free relationship we describe. At the root is this deep center of joint mutual intention. This is not a concept, but rather a living reality.
All successful relationships have a commitment to this core of conscious inner connection. Each partnership is different, and yet however you choose to live your lives together, be aware of this basis for your connection. Nurture it. Foster it. Remain aware of it, find ways to honor and speak of it to each other. Never take that golden thread for granted, or forget it in the fullness of your individual work and lives.
Phil and I are both strong developed individuals, and in our togetherness, we support and promote each other’s separate well-being but never lose our sense of connection. Remaining aware of the deepest truest reason for your joining, of that glue that binds you together, can give you the strength and security to face anything that may come your way. Much is to be gained from fostering this awareness. Talk to each other about this basis for your connection; explore it, mix it into your everyday experience.
Learning this practice of imbuing your everyday lives with the essence of your union also promotes an understanding of the importance of recognizing the inner core in all relationships. It is the place from which we can directly experience peace and learn how to spread it, one relationship at a time.
All successful relationships have a core of conscious inner connection #quote #relationships Click To TweetPHIL: So we’ve just spent 17 days apart, the longest ever separation we’ve had, and for me, it was just—different. There were Netflix programs I wouldn’t watch because I knew we would both enjoy them. I missed the telling of small stories. I missed the physical intimacy. I loved the sense of free-floating time. I woke up at 4 a.m. and read for an hour. I thought I would get more writing done; all that I managed was to finish an essay on why we believe what we believe (the Medium editors recommended it—yay!)
The point is that it was a time of difference, not loss. We are secure in each other’s absence, like an infant who can play contentedly when he knows his mother is nearby. I don’t intend to infantilize us; the difference is that we take strength and joy from our independence, and being together just adds pleasure to that.
Maude has written about union, the sense that we are one. This is an old idea: “the two shall become one flesh,” though it is framed there as an injunction, not an observation. Firstly I want to say that it is an uncanny experience. When we talk about this sense of connection, one of us will give as good a description as possible, and the other will agree, “Uh huh, right.” This happens again and again, far beyond the realm of coincidence. It is strongest in sexual union, but extends far beyond that. I am talking here about how we are, the nature of our relationship, and how we experience it.
As a rational materialist (see my Medium article), there is no place to fit this. The Western materialist view places consciousness in the brain, see Dennett and Tognini, for instance. Our everyday consciousness uses language, which is a dividing, categorizing tool, classifying the world into this and not this. That is why we see ourselves as apart from the world.
And yet we are not an independent body, separate from the world. We are a part of it—we interact with the world with every breath, trading oxygen for carbon dioxide. Separation is an illusion.
To open up to this, consider that we are many things, many identities. Religion, culture, nationality, sports team, career, political group, gender, and very importantly, human; there are so many ways you can say “I am this.” These identities are experienced as well as spoken. We have to mute and transcend language to be fully aware of these greater identities.
That is where our union resides.
Photo Credit: Andy Samarasena, Studio SB Photography