(first of all i will be adding as many articles as time allows me to type, secondly- these may be bottomy and they were all not written by me)
The Three Selves of Dating
(– The Relationship Institute of Royal Oak, MI)
One of the perplexing parts of dating is that your partner will sometimes reveal markedly different parts of themselves at different times during a relationship. One day you may be delighted by your partner’s charm and thoughtfulness yet the next day be devastated by their stubbornness, rigidity and inappropriate expressions of feelings. How and why does this happen? And what can conscious singles do to keep themselves emotionally safe from hurtful surprises as they traverse the stages of developing relationships?
All of us possess many different sub-personalities. Among the most common of these are three distinct selves or sub-parts of our personalities that explain the often contradictory behavior that occurs as a new relationship develops. We all need each of these parts to survive and thrive in the world, and each of these parts can express themselves in a healthy or unhealthy way. Let’s discuss each of these parts and how they interact.
The first part is the Rational, Practical Persona. This is the part that presents an appropriate mask to the world and is concerned with maintaining a certain image or status. This part thinks logically and analytically about life and relationships. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, linear, methodical, functional, practical and goal-directed. The Rational, Practical Persona never acts impulsively or irrationally.
The second part is the Alive, Loving Self. This is the part of you that feels totally alive, present and spontaneous, that genuinely wants a deep, intimate connection with others. The Alive, Loving Self is willing and able to take risks, is playful, fun-loving and bursting with energy and feelings. This part is never concerned about whether something makes ‘sense’ or is practical, and is very expansive, imaginative and visionary.
The third part is the Wounded, Fearful Self. This is the part of you which has experienced the inevitable emotional wounds, hurts and disappointments of growing up. These wounds may be mild, moderate or severe, and is the repository of inadequacies, frailties, vulnerabilities and shame. This part is limited in its capacity for growth and change without outside help, because it has developed a variety of strategies, shields and compensatory mechanisms to keep itself safe to avoid further wounding. The Wounded, Fearful Self functions as your ‘emotional thermostat’ which strives to keep your emotional life stable, similar, and familiar. In fact, it continually strives to re-create or maintain whatever emotional experiences you may have had in the past, whether they were loving, chaotic, distant or hurtful.
So how do these three parts interact and change as a dating relationship develops? Well initially, the Alive, Loving Selves come out as fully as they ever will when people first meet. They dance and play and exude aliveness and spontaneity and fun and desire closeness. Unfortunately in most relationships, this phase is temporary because the Rational, Practical Persona and the Wounded, Fearful Self quickly team up to put a lid on the Alive, Loving Self’s playtime. As more closeness develops, the alarms of the Wounded, Fearful Self go off and self-protection takes over. Intimacy = vulnerability = risk and the Wounded, Fearful Self cannot tolerate the chance of being hurt again. The Alive, Loving Self is partially or completely shut down, leaving the Rational, Practical Persona to take over and make relationship decisions. Suddenly someone who wanted to see you every day has to work late 3 nights a week, or no longer wants to talk about “the future”. Or out of the blue, you encounter anger or resistance when you want to do things to bring the relationship closer.
In most cases you fall in love with someone’s Alive, Loving Self but end up dating, living with and/or married to their Wounded, Fearful Self and Rational, Practical Persona. Thus a crucial task of conscious dating is to understand the nature of your partner’s Wounded, Fearful self. Are they aware of this part of themselves? Have they worked on healing it? How pervasive is it now in their life?
It is important to remember the work of Ken Wilber here (author of The Spectrum of Consciousness, Integral Psychology and the new, hilarious Boomeritis), who says that development in one area does not necessarily imply the same degree of development in another. Thus someone in touch with their Higher Self who has a comittment to spiritual practice can still have their emotional life dictated by their Wounded, Fearful Self. As Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield says in his wonderfully humble book A Path With Heart, his years in the ashram enabled him to perfectly clear his mind, until he resumed the life of a householder and had to deal with intimate relationships.Or as Ram Dass once said, “I’m still as neurotic as ever, I just don’t choose to hang out there anymore!”
So when dating, it’s wise to open your heart gradually, until you get a sense of all parts of your partner. Honor the needs of all parts of yourself as well as your partner. Don’t commit until you really feel you have a sense of which each of these parts is for your dating partner. These steps will help avoid any hurtful surprises and enable you to be fully present for the unique, precious journey of awakening that only the conscious dance of love can provide.
Coping With Loss (-The Relationship Institute, Royal Oak, MI- Creating Community Jan/Feb 2007 )
Of all life’s multifaceted teachings, the experience of loss is among our most powerful vehicles for awakening. As much as we resist its sting, loss is omnipresent in the universe. The poet Yeats reminded us that no matter how solid anything appears, ultimately “…things fall apart.” In a similar vein, modern physics’ Law of Entropy proves that over time, everything loses coherence and tends toward disorder. In all forms of relationship, at some point in the future we will have to say good-bye to the physical form of everyone we now know.
With intimate relationships, we see loss everywhere around us in every possible form: passionate, seemingly transcendent romances suddenly crashing to the ground; old, distant, lifeless relationships finally acknowledging what has been obvious for a long time; unfulfilled lovers paralyzed by fear, unable to break through to deeper levels of intimacy; fragile new budding relationships that don’t survive even the first disagreement; and friendships ending when one person never returns the call. And when a relationship ends, there are losses on many levels. We lose contact with the person, of course and all the gratification, real or imagined, that they brought to our lives. But even more painfully, we lose the vision of what this relationship has meant to us in the past and present and the hope of what it might mean for us in the future. We lose the story and the myth that embodied the relationship and for many of us this is the most difficult loss of all.
How do we react in the face of impending loss? We have several choices. If we are attached to a particular form of this relationship, by virtue of a belief we have about what should or must be rather than what is, we can hold on tightly, hoping to control a process that we intuitively know is out of our control. Holding on tightly usually only hastens our journey to aloneness by scaring off our partner with our rigid, suffocating energy.
We can also choose to prematurely let go, to check out, to disengage emotionally, preparing for the loss even before it happens, protecting our soft underbelly from the pain that lies ahead, numbing or distracting ourselves form the uncomfortable sensations surging through our hearts and minds through work, addictions or a new warm body. We can also retreat to victimhood, reassuring ourselves that this other person wasn’t so great to begin with, that “we can do better” and that we have been treated poorly or unfairly, through no fault of our own.
But there is another path, the path of consciously being with and embracing our loss, responsibly, without judgment toward ourselves or our partner, being fully present with our feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, grief, anger or whatever else comes up. There may be profound sadness that something beautiful or hopeful has died or was never ever given a chance to live. There may be anger that we didn’t try harder or that they didn’t either. There may be fear that we will always be alone or despair that it seems too hard to connect with others. Regardless of what comes up, we can choose to be present with all of our feelings, lying in the rubble of our shattered dreams, perhaps confused and not sure what to do next. There is nothing we have to “do” other than allow our feelings to move within and through us at their own pace and time.
We can honor the process by not needing to change or distract or distort or numb what is happening within us. And if we can stay with this process mindfully, eventually we will get to a place of acceptance and even understanding, where we can look back with gratitude at what was once a beautiful thing. We can honor the connection that allowed our spirit to soar and our loving presence to expand. We can review what we have learned from this journey and make notes about how we will do it differently the next time around.
Pathologist Beck Weather was left for dead after lying completely exposed atop Mt. Everest for fifteen hours. Then, miraculously, his eyes opened and he awoke from his hypothermic coma and walked to camp. He lost both hands to frostbite and suffered many other physical deficits. He was brought back home from this terrible ordeal, only to discover that his wife was fed up with his mountain climbing and avoidance of intimacy and was leaving him for one year to let him figure out his priorities. Stunned, without hands, without a job and without a family, he began to look inside for the truth, which resulted in him completely transforming his life. He now considers his multiple losses to be the greatest blessing of his life. He realized how depressed and cut off he had been emotionally and he began to re-connect with his family and friends in a profound manner that would have been impossible before.
Like Weathers, we may initially be horrified at our losses. But losses aren’t going to go away, ever. Nor would we want them to. As Judith Viorst discusses in her book Necessary Losses, regular losses are essential throughout our life spans for something new to be born; a new hope, a new beginning, a new vision, a new opening to loving ourselves and others more deeply. It is only when we fully embrace death that we can truly live. Likewise, it is only when we fully embrace loss that we can truly gain.
Creating Magical Relationships
(A conversation with Ariel & Shya Kane – authors of “Working on Your Relationship Doesn’t Work”
by Mary Arsenault)
Marriage, the once ultimate commitment of a lifetime of faith and love between two people, has in recent years been downgraded to just another stage in the relationship continuum – the one between going steady and getting divorced. Although researchers have many theories as to why this occurs with such frequency in our modern times, the most basic reason for divorce in any era is very simple: two people who once loved each other and wanted to be together for the rest of their lives find that they no longer do.
Communication breakdown is generally believed to be the root cause of troubled relationships and there are many different forms of counseling available today for people trying to shore up their crumbling marriages. However, according to Ariel and Shya Kane, founders of Instantaneous Transformation and the best-selling authors of Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work and Working On Your Relationship Doesn’t Work, most types of counseling tend to focus more on the problems than on the solution, which is, simply and ironically, to stop focusing on the problems.
Utilizing their technology of Instantaneous Transformation, which involves being in the moment and observing one’s own behavior (much like an anthropologist would do), while applying their three principles of transformation to the observed behaviors, the Kanes’ have found that their love and commitment towards each other continues to grow ever stronger and deeper. Couples from all over the world hoping to create their own Magical Relationships, attend the Kanes’ workshops and seminars, held in NYC And Costa Rice, and report amazing results.
I met with Ariel and Shya at their rural home in Milford, NJ, and was immediately struck by the tasteful simplicity of the decor. Uncluttered with family photos, knick-knacks, and other memorabilia of former times, their livingroom is the perfect metaphor for their philosophy of living in the moment. Sitting close together on a couch opposite me, they speak as one mind, enhancing rather than criticizing what each other has said, sharing a seat on the same train of thought. It’s difficult to imagine them ever arguing, although they admit that they occasionally do.
MA: What do you consider to be the single most important reason for the breakdown of relationships today?
Shya: Relationships tend to break down because of the unwillingness of either partner to surrender to the point of view of the other, to actually listen to what the other is saying with the intention of hearing what is being said rather than disagreeing or needing to be right about one’s own point of view. We recognize that it is challenging, especially when a discussion gets heated, to drop your own point of view in order to listen to the other party. It’s also a challenge to not defend oneself, but learning how to do this simple thing is extremely valuable.
MA: So basically, if someone wants to have a better relationship, the most important thing for them to do is to examine their own behavior?
Ariel: Yes, but in a certain way. Our book and approach is not based on working on yourself or on the relationship. It is not based on trying to change or fix yourself or your partner to be the way you would prefer things to be. It’s about transformation. It’s about self-observation without self-reproach, and that applies to your partner as well. Your relationships have to do with the way you relate. If we got rid of your current partner and replaced him or her with someone else, it would not be long before the same dynamics that you are currently complaining about would again manifest. IF you are unaware of the way you operate or function in a relationship, then you will continue to blame your partner for your relationship not working and you will only repeat your own destructive patterns of behavior. With our technology of Instantaneous Transformation, simple awareness is enough to complete automatic patterns of behavior that destroy or undermine the potential for healthy relationships.
(The following excerpt is from the Kanes’ book, Working On Your Relationship Doesn’t Work, available at bookstores and Amazon.com)
The Three Principles of Transformation.
1. Anything you resist persists and grows stronger.
Have you noticed that if there is something about your partner you don’t like or have tried to change, the more you have worked to fix or change him or her, the more he or she has persisted in staying the same? Those things that you disagree with about your partner dominate your life and you relationship. Eventually, those are the only things you focus on. You no longer see the good points, those things that attracted you to him or her in the first place. You only see faults or what you consider to be his or her faults. So again, the first principle, anything you resist will persist, will continue and will in fact dominate your relationship.
2. No two things can occupy the same space at the same time.
Another way of looking at this might be that in any given instant, you can only be the way you are. Most people have the idea that they could be different than they are or that their lives could have been different than they were. But if you look and tell the truth about what you see, you will discover that in any given moment you can only be exactly exactly the way you are. Here is an example: If we were to take a camera and photograph you, when the camera’s shutter opens, you are captured exactly as you are in that instant of time and, in that moment, you could not be any different than you were when the film captured your image. You may think that you could have been different, but in reality the moment has already gone by and nothing can be done to change it. Therefore, it could only have happened the way it did and you could only have been the way you were. In your fantasies you can construct lots of alternative possibilities to how you were when the camera’s shutter opened and closed, but in reality you could have only been the way you were. Most of us do not realize that our lives are made up of a series of moments that could not have been different than they were. What we are suggesting is that you cannot be different than you are in any given moment and everything that has ever happened in your life could only have happened that way because it did. This principle, if truly seen, will release you from a lifetime of regret and guilt.
3. Anything you allow to be exactly as it is, without trying to fix or change it, will complete itself.
This means that the mere seeing of an unwanted behavior is enough to facilitate resolution. This principle may be a little more difficult to grasp than the other two. The idea of merely seeing something, rather than doing something about what you see, seems wrong or incomplete or as if it won’t accomplish anything. But let’s suppose you want to cross a room filled with tables and chairs. If it is dark, you will surely bump into the obstacles. With light, you can cross the room in a natural manner. As you walk through the livingroom of your home each day, you don’t have to remind yourself not to stumble over the couch. It is something that is included in your awareness and your actions take into account that this piece of furniture occupies space. You don’t work on effectively crossing the room to avoid collision with the furniture. It is naturally, immediately integrated into your way of being. The chairs become the background rather than the focus of your attention. So it is with your mechanical behaviors. If you notice you have them without resisting what you see, they lose their power over your life.
MA: Applying your principles seems like it would be easier to do alone than while trying to relate to someone else, especially since we all tend to bring our baggage, or “junk”, into our relationships.
Shya: Your “junk” doesn’t have to remain “junk”. With our approach, if you actually just see what it is you’ve been working on, then it will complete itself in your seeing it and it disappears and stops being “junk”. You’ll find that you don’t get upset as frequently and the duration is shorter. You stop blaming the other person for how you feel. Most people tend to blame their current emotional state on the people around them. In a relationship, for example, if you become upset with something your partner says or does, you may say, “Well, he got me upset.” Our approach is different. If you get upset, it means that you have upset in you that got triggered by something in the environment.
MA: You’ve admitted that you two occasionally argue. How do you resolve these issues?
Shya: The most important thing is that if two people are arguing, one person has to be willing to just let go of it. If an argument continues it is because one of the two people is not willing to do this.
Ariel: Shya and I were driving into the city one day and for whatever reason, we were engaged in disagreeing with each other. We were each 100% certain that we were right and the other was wrong and we each felt very picked on and misunderstood. It didn’t feel good at all. Finally, we decided to just drop it and start over. We both decided that when our car reached a certain overpass up ahead, we were going to act as if the disagreement had never taken place. It took a lot of discipline to not think about the altercation and to turn the conversation to other things, like what was going on our the window, or our plans for the rest of the day. But gradually the whole incident just faded away. It seemed so important to us both at the time, but now neither of us can even remember the details.
MA: What happens if only one person in a relationship is willing to apply the Principles of Transformation? Is there any way to lead someone to it who is otherwise not interested?
Ariel: That often happens. Many times one person becomes interested in a transformed lifestyle first and their partner, initially, has little or no interest. There is a young woman, “Sarah”, who is currently coming to our seminars and having private consultations with us who attended, at first, because she was unhappy. She was dissatisfied at work and particularly with her relationship. We met her boyfriend, “Jed”, one evening and he was of the opinion that he know all that we had to offer already, he was already living it, and that she didn’t need anything. This was the starting place. Your relationship can only transform from where you are, not from where you would prefer it to be. We encouraged Sarah to look at her own life rather than try to fix or change Jed. She began to be honest with herself about her life and the things that were important to her. The two of them had several meaningful, sometimes difficult dialogues. Sarah was very surprised to discover that Jed was willing to actually listen. She has not pressed on him to attend but her enthusiasm has been contagious. She returns from one of our seminars more available to him, less resentful and, in turn, he is more relaxed and responsive. You can either punish your mate for not “fixing” what is wrong or you can keep going for your own life with enthusiasm. Last week, when Sarah came to one of our NYC evenings, she said with a big smile, “Jed said to be sure and say ‘Hello’ to you two! He said he may like to attend the next seminar with me. We will see.” The best way to lead someone to transformation is to be a demonstration of it.
Shya: As far as Ariel and I are concerned, it has been worth it collectively and individually to be willing to look and see what’s going on in our relationship to handle whatever causes friction or has caused friction, so that it completes itself. So we’re willing to look. If a person’s not willing to look, there’s nothing you can do to make them look.
MA: How did you two happen to develop Instantaneous Transformation?
Ariel: Shya actually came upon it first. After we got married, we had set many goals which in time we came to accomplish. We got the Park Avenue apartment in the city, we got our careers moving, the money, the friends, the stuff…. But we found that we were quite dissatisfied. We realized that the accumulation of all these things was not making us happy, so we took a pendulum swing. We sold our apartment – we sold everything – got a couple of backpacks and decided to go around the world. We eventually ended up at a meditation center in Italy and spent the better part of two years there. The last course there was six months long with the intention that everyone would become self-realized by the end. But it did not fulfill its promise. Everyone was busy working on themselves and were not particularly kind to each other. When we came back to the states, we didn’t have any money left – we had spent it all – and we ended up in California borrowing a car from my parents. One of the main leaders of the meditation center in Italy had come to LA at that time and we considered a cycle of working on ourselves all over again. We knew that if we did that, though, it was going to be another round of really picking on ourselves and we were still raw from having already done that for months and months. It’s kind of like getting your arm whacked every day. Anyway, one day Shya was walking up a hill and he turned to me and said, “That is it. I am done working on myself. I am self-realized.” And I said, “You can’t say that! People will get angry with you!” However, he stopped picking on himself in that moment and within a day or two, I recognized the difference in him because he was no longer picking on me as well. It was remarkable! And people who knew us, who had gone through all the different modalities with us, noticed the change and asked, “What are you two doing? Can we come?” We told them we weren’t doing anything at all – that we had actually stopped doing things. They wanted to know more about how we had changed and that was the beginning of our workshops.
Shya: I had known the first principle for a long time but knowing it and actually living it are two different things. My own personal interest in all of this started back in 1963 when I was 22 years old. I had taken a substance that was legal at the time and walked the streets of New York without that little voice in my head for about 8 hours. All of a sudden, this loud wrangling went on it my head complaining about everything and finding fault with everything. And I said to myself, “What is this?” Then I realized that was what I had lived with for the first 22 years of my life – that complaining in my head. From that point on, I devoted myself to trying to find a way to get back to that experience of living my life quietly, directly, without fighting myself or trying to live up to my own or other people’s expectations. I took every workshop that came along. However, none of them actually produced enlightenment. It’s just what I did until enlightenment happened to me.