Journey to Fidelity

 Fidelity is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate fidelity when we are faithful to the people we love and to the values and ideals we hold dear. Fidelity requires consistency and discipline in thought and emotion.  We value and respect those people and principles on an ongoing basis. We may be tempted to betray others by offers of money, status or sex, but we resist the temptations and remain true to our commitments.  

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Infidelity, Betrayal or abandonment of people and ideals we have committed to, lack of emotional allegiance, promiscuity, inability to remain true to ourselves or others, erratic behavior patterns that undermine the trust that others have for us. 

The Teaching

Good relationships are built on trust and emotional allegiance.   Only when we feel that someone has our back and will be there consistently for us do we fully open our hearts.  That is why infidelity often takes a mortal toll on a relationship. When our trust has been betrayed by someone it is hard to trust that person again.
     As Jesus pointed out, it is possible to be faithful to someone in deed, but unfaithful in heart or mind.  We can lust after a man or woman who is not our partner and still remain physically faithful.  But is that real fidelity?   Is divided or partial loyalty true loyalty?
    In an ideal soulmate relationship, or spiritual marriage, there is mutual fidelity of body, heart and mind.   There are no caveats, conditions or exceptions.  Temptations might arise from time to time, but they cannot gain a foothold.  The commitment of each person to the other endures and strengthens over time.
     In such a relationship equality reigns.  The needs of one partner are respected and considered to be as important as one’s own needs.   Each person consistently asks not just “what is good for me?” but “what is good for my partner?” and “what helps our relationship to grow and thrive?”
     This is the ideal we strive for, but we do not always achieve it, so we must learn to see where we are being selfish in the relationship.  Where are we being insensitive or oblivious to what our partner needs?  Or where are we neglecting our own needs just to make our partner happy?
     The more aware we become of the inequalities, the more important it becomes to speak up.  Learning to speak and listen from the heart is essential if we wish to move into greater intimacy and trust.
     Without good communication, we move apart and live in our separate worlds.  Intimacy suffers or disappears.  Trust is slowly undermined.
     How can you be faithful if you do not trust your partner and s/he does not trust you?  It just is not possible.  Sooner or later, thoughts become actions and infidelity of one kind or the other occurs.
     Don’t wait for a crisis like that to happen.  Watch for the signs of separation that are precursors of infidelity and start communicating in a heart-felt way.  Get the help of a therapist if you can.  The only way to save a speeding train on the wrong tracks is to slow it down before it reaches the cliff.
     It is also helpful to remember the relationship between fidelity to self and fidelity to others.   Fidelity to self means that you are committed to your own interests, values and purpose in life.  That keeps you on track and makes it possible for you to enter a relationship as a whole person. Fidelity to self means you have cultivated integrity.  You know who you are, what you want, and what you can commit to.
     When both people are faithful to themselves they have a much greater likelihood of being faithful to each other when they seek a partnership.  They join together in strength rather than in weakness.  They do not look to the other person to complete them or make them happy.  They avoid co-dependent patterns that prevent growth and instead seek equality, cooperation and companionship.

The Practice

Today, be aware of when you are faithful to yourself and when you are not.  Also notice when you are faithful to your partner and the other important people in your life, and when you are not.    
     Today, be cognizant of when you live up to your ideals and commitments and when you don’t.  Notice when you compromise your values or are tempted to betray yourself or someone else. 
     Today, ask yourself “Am I trustworthy? Does my partner trust me?  Do I trust her or him?   Are we able to communicate in a heart-felt way so that we put our cards on the table and we know where we stand with each other?”
     Today, look at your relationship honestly, and consider whether you are being faithful to it physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Is your sexuality engaged in a healthy way or do you find yourself watching porn or feeling attracted to other potential partners?   Is your heart engaged?  Are you emotionally open to each other or are you growing apart?   Is your mind engaged?  Can you discuss and share ideas without arguing or making each other wrong?  Is your spirit engaged?  Is there a higher sense of purpose and direction that you both share?
    Look at each area (body, heart, mind and spirit) and rate the relationship on a scale from 1-10, with ten being the highest.  Have your partner do the same if s/he is willing.   The highest score is 40.   What is your score?  What is your partner’s score?  A score of less than 20 from either one of you suggests a relationship in crisis or heading there.
     Don’t use this exercise as a club to beat yourself or your partner.  Use it as an invitation to honest dialog and a call for help, if you are willing to ask for it.
     Fidelity is not something that comes ready-made.  It is something that develops as each person individuates and as intimacy and trust are established in a relationship.   These are the building blocks.  Are you and your partner committed to building the foundation?
     Fidelity is an issue not just in marriages/partnerships but also in friendships,
relationships with parents and children, relationships at work and in our places of worship.  When we are faithful, we are loyal and committed to the people we care about and that loyalty and commitment are what insure the strength of our families and communities. 
     Today consider how loyal and committed you are to the people who love you, support you and share your life.  Today, seize any opportunity that arises to deepen your trustworthiness and demonstrate your loyalty to the people and principles you love.
   

Journaling Questions

What issues of fidelity or infidelity have come up in your life? How can you be be more faithful to yourself and the people you love?

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