Book Excerpt

From Creating A Spiritual Relationship by Paul Ferrini

     "As difficult as the journey sometimes seems, it has breathtaking moments. The hard shell around the heart begins to crack open. Where fear used to hold us back, we learn to take little steps forward. We take risks, walk through our fears. We learn to trust each other."


This book is designed for people who are either in a committed relationship or want to be. A committed relationship is one path toward spiritual growth and transformation. It is not the only path, nor is it a very easy path. The seven spiritual laws discussed in Part Two of this book provide a roadmap for couples who are committed to their mutual spiritual growth.
     If you are already in a committed relationship, you may want to start working with Part Two right away. If you are not sure about whether or not you want to be in a committed relationship, read Part One of this book very carefully. There is a great deal of pressure in society for people to be involved in a relationship at any cost. It is important to resist that pressure and make a conscious choice about whether you wish to be on a relationship path.
     Even if you are ready to be in a relationship, you need to take time to get to know your partner and find a form for the relationship that works for both of you. By laying the groundwork for your relationship in a mature way, you have the best chance of establishing healthy patterns of relating.
     A relationship is a birth of a new entity. It involves moving from an "I" context to a "We" context without sacrifice. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and patience. Clarity is needed. Both people must prepare for the experience.
     A relationship cycle moves from birth through the apex of life to death and rebirth. Completion may occur through the death of one of the partners or through the agreement of partners that the relationship no longer serves their mutual growth. No relationship lasts forever. And many wonderful, important relationships last for five, ten, or twenty years.
     All of us must confront the myth that being in a committed relationship means that we must be together forever. Every relationship has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The way that we end our relationships is as important as the way that we begin them. Part Three of this book deals with how we move from the "We" context back to the "I" context with gratitude to our partners for what we have learned together. It helps us to separate with love.
     Relationship is the most challenging spiritual path available to us today on the planet. No other path brings up our buried doubts, fears and insecurities for healing so definitively. It takes great courage for us to see the parts of ourselves that we have trouble accepting being mirrored back to us by our partners. Yet, by making peace with our partners, we make peace within ourselves and we come to experience our own wholeness
     Relationship is not just a quest for the romantic myth of happiness. That quest is over and done with in the first year for most couples. It is much more challenging than that. It is a quest for the Holy Grail itself, for authenticity in the midst of compromise, for understanding in the midst of pain. It is a shamanic journey with all of its unexpected twists and turns along the way. Sometimes it seems that our partner is more our adversary or opponent than our companion and friend. The face we see in the mirror is always changing.
     The truth is that in the most profound relationships our deepest fears come up for healing. They come up because we feel safe enough with our partner to look at the shadowy aspects of ourselves and begin to integrate them into our awareness.
Not everyone is up to the depth of this dance. Sometimes we run away from the challenges of relationship before we have learned our lessons. That's why commitment is so important.
     Committed couples stay together until they have learned all that they can teach one another. They know that they have reached this point when they can release each other with love, gratitude and respect. Anything less than this is not completion, but flight.
     The spiritual principles in this book will help you and your partner hang in there through the ups and downs of your relationship so that you can learn and grow together. As long as there is growth and honesty, the relationship is healthy and is worthy of your commitment.
     Of course, that doesn't mean that it's perfect. Even in the best relationships, doubts and fears continue to arise for both partners. However, couples on the path learn to hold those doubts and fears with compassion. They learn to be patient with and accepting of each other. That is what being in relationship teaches them.
     As difficult as the journey sometimes seems, it has breathtaking moments. The hard shell around the heart begins to crack open. Where fear used to hold us back, we learn to take little steps forward. We take risks, walk through our fears. We learn to trust each other.
     We experience a gentleness born of the struggle, a sweetness born of the pain. There is a twinkle in the eyes that meet beyond the gravity of desire. There is an inner knowingness of self, of other: a surrender into the heart of acceptance and love.