ASHRAM – Taking Care of Yourself during these Times
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RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FROM A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE – by Diana Lang
When it comes to relationships, we all have our standards. Standards are those ethical principles that we navigate our lives by. They are a kind of personal code by which we make choices, decisions and intentions. Fundamentally, they are the ideals that we hold dearest to our hearts. They are essential personal covenants that shape how we live our lives, determine what’s important to us, and effectively direct our motivation and direction. Our standards are foundational to every single thing we do.
The thing about standards, though, is everyone’s are different! By holding ourselves to our standards, we cannot help but hold others to them too. But because everyone has slightly – or radically – different ones, we can get in trouble when we try to impose our standards onto someone else.
In a relationship, having congruous standards are important. It is said that the single most important component that allows a relationship to last is similar philosophy. Our standards are based on our philosophies. They are corresponding and interconnected. Everything else can be different between a couple: where we come from, how much money we have, the color of our skin, our ages, our interests, but if our standards are in conflict, then there will eventually be philosophical differences that can become an immense obstacle to sustaining the relationship.
This is why couples often find natural compatibility with a partner that comes from a similar religious faith, or from the same country, or even neighborhood! Where we come from influences and shape our standards. We are often naturally attracted to someone who inherently harmonizes with these standards . . .
. . . or, we can be attracted to the opposite.
If we are with someone who has different standards, and especially lower ones than ours, this can be very destructive. It can bring out the worst in us, instead of the best in us. If the discrepancy is great, it can turn out to be a match not made in heaven. This can do a lot of damage to our confidence and erode those things we hold paramount. If we start to doubt our own standards and lower them, each individual, and the relationship itself, will slowly be degraded. We can begin to doubt our core beliefs and values, and gradually, eventually, like the way water must flow downhill, our standards will devolve.
You never want to step down to someone’s lower standards. A standard is an ideal, something that we reach for and aspire to. And, if our standards are lessened because we are afraid to hold them up, then the relationship will suffer for lack of principle, and lack of depth. It will feel empty.
The good news is that we can evoke a higher standard from our partner. When we hold our standard up, they get to step up to it – or step out of it. Don’t let anyone stem your spirit or your principles. By holding to your higher standard, everyone will be better for it. When we hold to our standards we are actually offering our partner an opportunity to grow. By raising the bar in a relationship we all grow. By lowering our standards, we are diminished.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION www.DianaLang.com
First published for the Huffington Post.
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Your intuition is like a superpower. We use it every day in a thousand ways. We use is it in every transaction, negotiation and relationship we engage in.
Intuition is a deep inner listening.
And we all have this ability.
Intuition is a faculty of higher mind. It is a kind of extra sensory perception, as it were. Intuition allows us to discern between the billions of information bits that we are thinking, to discover by filtering through all of this sensory data, the common denominator, which is: the truth of something.
There is often so much mental clutter around certain subjects, especially ones that are important to us, that we sometimes cannot cognize what we think. That’s because we are thinking everything at the same time! When we’re afraid, and especially when we feel our lives depend on it, we can be thinking thousands of thoughts simultaneously with no conscious prioritization. This can put us into utter chaos!
But just behind the veil of the pros-and-cons list of our life, and all the myriad information that we pick up along the way – behind all that data – waiting patiently for us, is our personal inner knowing. Not what the world would say, not what someone else thinks about a subject, but our very own precious knowing.
Intuition helps us sense our way through life’s problems. We can sense when to move and when not to move. We can feel the intentions of another. We can intuit if something is right for us or not. It is literally our “inner sight.” It is insight!
Your intuition is the most accurate gauge of someone’s intention and heart. Your intuition can tell you what something really is. By heeding this deep inner listening, the truth of it can shine through. Because we really do know, or I should say, we can know. We just need to stop, and consciously ask ourselves…
…and then, listen.
Become quiet inside yourself. This is very like a little mini-meditation. Sit perfectly still and empty your mind. When you think ofthe decision, the person, or the situation, what do you intuit? (Not, what do you think.) For the moment, put aside your opinions, judgments, or preconceived ideas. What does your heart know? What is your intuition?
Really, deeply listen.
Does your inner self give you a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down? Is there an internal nod of YES, or a squeezing contracted feeling of NO? You will feel it. It is very definite.
Here’s the thing, if you are listening with your intuition, you will know. We can be fooled by the external information of things. We can be overloaded by the sheer density of the concerns that are connected to our question, or overwhelmed by the fears we have of the potential domino-consequence of it. The problem is that the answer we think is right may look great on paper but not be good for our life. Intuition includes logic, but logic doesn’t necessarily include intuition.
It’s important to remember as you are gathering impressions to not be tempted to manufacture reasons to substantiate these impressions while you are receiving them. Listen to your intuition. But don’t try to justify your intuition. If you need to “prove” what or why your intuition is telling you something, you are already out of the intuitive state and back into the ego’s limited fear-logic. This is why intuition is intuition, not deduction or analysis. It’s a whole different faculty of mind.
There is no greater insight than what your intuition senses and offers – if you’ll listen.
It is how Einstein was able to conceive E=mc2. He intuited it first; then he proved it.
Your intuition is a powerful tool. It is like having a secret power, and in time, and with practice, you will learn to trust it more and more. It will guide you seamlessly through life. It will nudge you left when left is exactly the right move for you. As you become more adept in listening to your intuition, you will find yourself navigating your life more and more deftly, decision by decision, choice by choice, breath by breath, moment by moment.
And what is extraordinary about this inner knowing, this intuition, this superpower, is that it is adaptable and ever-responding to the ever-changing circumstance of our ever-changing reality!
Like any superpower, you need to cultivate and develop your intuition. Practice trusting your inner knowing. Get good at it. Let your intuition guide your life, for it will always lead you true.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION – www.DianaLang.com
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FROM
A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE
It can be scary to tell our partner how we really feel sometimes. Out of politeness, embarrassment, shyness, avoidance, or just not wanting to hurt their feelings, we can find ourselves not sharing our innermost feelings. We may find ourselves inhibiting and censoring our truest, deepest worries and fears with the people we love the most. And, our relationships will suffer for it – from the lack of depth, from lack of real connection, and from the shear superficiality of inauthenticity.
Here is a spiritual rule of thumb: the more someone matters to you, the more you owe them your Truth.
But, what is our truth?
Truth is how you actually feel. Not how you are supposed to feel. Not what society says you should feel, or how you think you should feel. It is what you do feel – in your heart. For in our hearts, we all know what those truths are.
When I am talking with a client and they tell me how they really feel, I will ask them if they have shared this with their partner, and invariably they will say, “Well, I can’t say that, can I?”
And I answer: Yes, of course you can.
And you need to.
If you want your relationship to deepen and grow, then you have to trust the love that the relationship is built on. You need to bet on love. Even, in the worse case scenario, if you discover that the relationship cannot handle deeper feelings, then that’s good information to know. It tells you something of the depth and durability of the love. So, you really have nothing to lose in finding this out. And, potentially, everything to gain.
But how do we speak these fragile vulnerabilities, these hurts and pains, when our fear is that if we do, it will just make things worse?
This brings us to another spiritual principle, which is: the truth will make you free. Truth is a precious commodity. Your innocent and uncensored truth, the truth of your heart, is valuable to your relationship. By telling the truth to your partner, you are opening up the possibility for more intimacy in your relationship.
So often, this can be difficult. We can be afraid to say the most important things in our heart for fear of being rejected or abandoned. We can be afraid that they will never understand.
How you share your truth is a delicate matter. People’s feelings can and do get hurt. It’s hard to hear that there may be a difference of opinion or a problem. But not sharing your truth doesn’t allow anything to change at all.
So, how do you share your feelings without hurting, scaring, or upsetting your partner?
The answer is by expressing your truth in vulnerability.
You need to be vulnerable so your partner can hear you. Otherwise, they likely will feel attacked, disparaged, unvalued, belittled, criticized, and mostly, unloved.
So, how we say it really MATTERS. I’m not saying you should be manipulative or strategic – I mean the opposite, in fact. I am saying to speak your vulnerable truth without righteousness or design, without tactic or need to win, but simply, to speak your unguarded, vulnerable, ever-loving truth.
Which means, speak your truth with love.
– Because truth by itself can be brutal and without mercy.
– And, love by itself can be too tolerant, ambiguous, and possibly codependent.
When you put these two principles together, truth plus love, you have power. Now your truth makes an arrow that pierces through, to the heart of the matter – safely – because it is founded on love. You then are gifting your partner with loving truth.It’s like lancing a wound. Now, it can heal.
This is not so easy to do. It takes courage – heart courage – partly because we have to first face our own demons and realize what we really feel, and how we really feel. We must take ourselves into our internal laboratory and be really, reallyhonest with ourselves. By doing this, we are taking responsibility for what our own truth is, without blaming, without harming, and without rancor. It is simply how we feel.
By looking at ourselves first – with compassion – we can begin to heal our lives and everyone in our lives.
Because from a spiritual perspective, when one person gets it, everyone can get it.
We all benefit from your inner awareness. We are all healed by truth.
And, the truth will make us all free.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION – www.DianaLang.com