Dying A Thousand Deaths

death1Death is happening all the time — when we physically die, that event has actually been foreshadowed by a myriad of “mini-deaths” of all kinds. We lose our hair, our lover, our strength, our vitality, our money — or we lose our poverty, …our weakness, our impatience, our headache, our tooth, our memory… you name it. A careful look at our life shows that death or impermanence is a constant companion. Because we are out of synch with how things are constantly changing, we cling to things, ignore impermanence and thereby create suffering. That’s the basic Buddhist analysis. – David Nichtern

If the above is true, I have lived a thousand deaths. Many of those deaths have occurred in relationships. The relationship with the greatest deaths has been the one with the Magus. We are in a death right now.

The Magus was away for a week, and the connection and communication we shared while he was away was beautiful. Instead of just staying in touch, we managed to grow closer. With an Aspie, you need to look for emotional expression differently than in an NT, so when he looked back four times while he was in the security line at the airport to see if I was still waiting and watching, I knew something new had evolved for us. I have dropped him off at home for years after a night out, and he doesn’t look back. He has been away before and hasn’t been able to figure out how or why to stay in touch with me. This time, he sent me messages about things he wanted to share with me, and was intensely interested in my days and my emotions. He supported me in a recent healing ritual from a distance.

So it was not too surprising to me to wake up on Sunday and find he had changed his Facebook status, from not having a status to “In an Open Relationship.” Except for the bit aboutdeath2 Open Relationship. I struggled between the deep meaningfulness of him acknowledging the relationship publicly, to the dismay that he selected Open Relationship. I tried unsuccessfully to just let it be, and all my fears and insecurities were triggered (which was predicted in a dream just the night before). We have had this conversation, and I had hoped we had agreed to certain boundaries: it is not an open relationship (which suggests I agree to him having other similar relationships and that we have negotiated what that will look like). To me, it is a relationship for the purpose of love, learning, growth, spiritual development, and greater levels of consciousness. We are both free each minute to choose the relationship or not. There is only the “now” anyway. Instead of basking in a beautiful gift from the Magus, I was presented with my growth opportunity. Groan.

I believe that my spiritual practice occurs through relationships. Jackson Kiddard says “The purpose of relationships is to be happy, to learn, and to co-create a life together.” A part of me wants to say I have failed miserably at that: I have been in two long-term committed relationships which have ended. But, the relationship with Bhikku has evolved into something beautiful and healing and balanced, and I cherish it. I could not be the person I am today, in the life I have today, without him. I am blessed with the most loving Spiritual Partner in that man. Truthfully, in many ways, he and I are now happy, learning, and co-creating together…not a life together though, but a family and a business.

It is the Magus with whom I had hoped to build an intimate life. I envisioned sharing a home, sitting down to tea, watching a movie. Maybe working side by side on stained glass in the garage some nights. Gardening on Sunday mornings. Reading quietly, and occasionally sharing quotations with each other. Cooking dinners. Going to bed. All the normal aspects of sharing a life together.

But he is an Aspie, and he has his own fears and issues to work through. He clings to the belief (learned from his parents I believe) that the more he gives me, the more I need or want. He needs time on his own (I know this) and is sure he cannot have what he needs in my vision. He has not expressed his own vision – rather he always reacts with a Yay or a Nay to mine. He is less likely to explore how he can have his needs met at the same time as my own…and blah blah blah. We have done this script before, and we are always both unkind, unloving, and what we say in this script is often untrue of the other, but very true of our fears. (He may be wise and compassionate as a healer but he can be insensitive and rigid as a man. And I know I can be a bitch!)

death3I know from the work of Susan Page: “In the Old Model, you make progress by talking thing through together, using relationship communication skills. In Spiritual Partnership, you make progress by choosing spiritual actions–by yourself. In the Old Model, your goal is to solve your problems. In Spiritual Partnership, the goal is to outgrow problems by achieving a new level of consciousness. In the Old Model, the goal is to improve the relationship, to move from dysfunctional to functional, to thriving. In Spiritual Partnership, the goal is for each partner to grow spiritually. In the Old Model, you solve problems by encouraging your partner to change. In Spiritual Partnership you encourage yourself to change.”

So, I began my usual process of recognizing how hopeless this relationship is: he is more drawn to an Open Relationship because that can be a non-continuous relationship, he is not interested in sharing a life and co-creating with me…so what am I doing here? This is hopeless, I can’t change to be ok with what he wants, he is an Aspie and has physical limitations, he prefers a relationship through text because there is space and distance in that…and I just want to be held at night, have someone love my body, mind, heart, and soul. Impossible, so let this relationship go and start creating what I want.

I have done that a thousand times already. This relationship dies on a regular basis, and a new one rises from those ashes. And it is time to do this differently. It is time to hold consciousness that a new truth will be revealed, a deeper one. To hold consciousness knowing that I am done with whatever beliefs I have manifested in the pattern this relationship has taken. To know that I am the consciousness it takes to be happy. I refuse to be the consciousness that cries at night because I am alone. I have what I need, in balance with my partner.

Some people may question my sanity. One truth in psychology, and I am at my core a psychologist, is that past behaviour predicts future behaviour. He is an Aspie, and that will govern who he is and how he behaves and of what he is capable of expressing and experiencing. I am an anxiety ridden recovering co-dependent, with a history of serial monogamy. I have better odds at the Blackjack table than we have for this relationship to change…except there are deeper spiritual truths that I hold in this moment. Maybe we are done, but my growth is not.

One Buddhist or Tantric or Hindu or Sikh principle is impermanence and change. All things change, just wait.death4

“Take for example the life of an individual. It is a fallacy to believe that a person would remain the same person during his entire life time. He changes every moment. He actually lives and dies but for a moment, or lives and dies moment by moment, as each moment leads to the next. A person is what he is in the context of the time in which he exists. It is an illusion to believe that the person you have seen just now is the same as the person you are just now seeing or the person whom you are seeing now will be the same as the person you will see after a few moments.

Even from a scientific point of view this is true. We know cell divisions take place in each living being continuously. Old cells in our bodies die and yield place continuously to the new ones that are forming. Like the waves in a sea, every moment, many thoughts arise and die in each individual . Psychologically and physically he is never the same all the time. Technically speaking, no individual is ever composed of the same amount of energy. Mental stuff and cellular material change all the time. He is subject to change and the change is a continuous movement.

Impermanence and change are thus the undeniable truths of our existence. What is real is the existing moment, the present that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions. Because of ignorance, an ordinary mind conceives them all to be part of one continuous reality. But in truth they are not.” Urban Dharma

death5And all this gets back to hope. The relationship has changed so much (ironically going from him saying I was framing him in saying he acts like we are in a relationship to him telling the world we are in an open relationship!). We change every moment, even at the cellular level. We are not our limitations. We are our consciousness – in fact, we are the One. So anything is possible. Happiness is possible. Learning is possible. Co-creation is possible. The future is not limited – it is the product of the consciousness we bring to this moment. So I will be as Thich Nhat Hanh says: “Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself.”

Whether this journey is with the Magus, or not, I am Myself, the One-self.

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2 thoughts on “Dying A Thousand Deaths

  1. amandamschuster says:

    Ah, I love that you have addressed this. My friends are always surprised (but also seem to breathe a sigh of relief) when I tell them that one of the keys to what they see as my fantastic partnership with a wonderful man is that I am ALWAYS letting go of the relationship (if I’m not, that’s usually when I start to get miserable). I have to ship it out on a raft and trust that it will come back if it’s meant to like, every day. I have to get really, really okay with the fact that this wonderful man is in my life today, and he may not be tomorrow, and that while it would suck for awhile, I would live, and thrive, and continue to love. Like you said, we all change every single instant!

    And, oddly enough, the more I practice this letting go, the deeper our relationship grows, the safer and more secure I feel, and the more I enjoy it. Such a counter-intuitive phenomena to our little minds and afraid little hearts! But every single time I have put myself out there, and every single time I have truly, authentically let go, I have been magically, deeply rewarded. Sometimes clearly in the context of the relationship, and sometimes in other seemingly unrelated ways. And I really do believe at this point if my act of letting go one day *does* result in the earthly end of this relationship that that too will be a gift and a blessing (don’t ask me that right after it happens of course! lol but deep down that’s the truth of it all). After all, letting go is saying “I love and trust whatever comes. Bring it.” Every time I embrace that, my eyes suddenly open to the blessings that abound. I *love* that you are articulating so well these experiences!

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