Here I am, newly divorced, freshly single, still learning from my past mistakes. But, the book intrigued me and once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop and I learned quite a bit along the way. The book not only discusses the art of meditation and incorporating the quiet act of calm, quiet surrender, but it also discusses the art of relationship, as told from a husband and wife team who have been working and meditating together for nearly forty years.
Anyone who’s been together that long has a lot to share with the rest of us and they spoke eloquently on finding a partner, letting go of a loved one, and co-parenting relationships.
These are just a few things I learned from the writing couple (and not necessarily just about relationships):
“A relationship is not something that you “have.” It is not something that can be owned, possessed, or attained. Relationship is mutual opening to and presence with one another.”
“A relationship is best cultivated in an atmosphere of gratitude and generosity. Gratitude is more than appreciation for the good things in your life; it is an appreciation for life itself, even with its ups and downs.”
“No matter how much we may love our partner, we cannot take away our partner’s pain. We cannot ‘make’ our partner happy, and we cannot ‘enlighten’ our partner. So even if we travel together we travel alone. Recognizing this aloneness is essential for togetherness.”
“A loving relationship is an ongoing process of being present with and open to one another. This is not just a matter of spending more time together. Relationship has to do with the quality of time you spend together.”
“If you want to live in relationship, you have to learn to take turns. Taking turns doesn’t mean a rigid fifty-fifty. Taking turns is a flowing back and forth – a give and take without keeping score, not a mathematical equation. There are innumerable factors to consider, and it is a delicate balance, moment by moment.”
“Your willingness to remain tender, open, and vulnerable is essential to an intimate relationship. Not only do you need to be willing to be wounded over and over again, but you also need to be willing to forgive over and over again. Forgiveness is an act of compassion that frees both you and your partner to love again.”
“For a long-term relationship to survive, each partner needs to be willing to serve the other. Being a servant cultivates humility and puts the ego in its proper place.”
“There is a saying, ‘Love is blind.’ However, if ever there is a time when you need to see clearly, it is when you are entering into a committed relationship.”
“How you do your work is as important as the occupation you select.”
“True and deep communication in an intimate relationship can take place only in the context of an attitude of openness, honesty, trust, and acceptance.”
“Change is a vital force that keeps your relationship fresh, exciting, and alive.”
“Sometimes it is not what happens in a relationship, but our interpretation of what happens, that causes us to suffer.”
“All of us need to be free to change and grow, and the challenge in a relationship is to learn how to move along together.”
“Be yourself. Being genuine will lead you in the direction of a relationship that is truthful, open, and whole. Be your best, but don’t deny or hide your faults. In balance, both confidence and humility are attractive. As you develop yourself, your life become richer, you become more radiant, and people naturally gravitate toward you.”
“Even when you are not physically present with one another, you can maintain a presence and connection through phone calls, letters, and email messages. Presence transcends space and time: even when you are apart, you can be present to your partner in your heart. Your heart is unbounded, and in love you are united.”
“…first you need to be able to stand on your own two feet without excessive leaning or clinging that wears the other down. You need some degree of emotional and spiritual maturity in order to enter into a relationship of mutual giving and receiving.”
“Integrity is the honesty to end one relationship before entering into another.”
“Relationship is a creative process. As is any other creative process, you need to be open not just to your intellect but also to your intuition, spontaneity, ingenuity, and spirit. Creativity is playful, artistic, and expressive. Viewing your relationship as an opportunity to co-create infuses it with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment.”
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in a committed relationship, who is searching for ways to strengthen their marriage, or who has recently ended a long-term relationship. I learned quite a bit from this couple and I have no doubts that many of the lessons I learned will carry over into future relationships as well as the fact that it has helped me to heal from my past.