Getting to a good place requires that we understand the true meaning of love, hate, hope and fear.
You can also listen to the audio only version of the podcast here:
Getting to a good place requires that we understand the true meaning of love, hate, hope and fear.
You can also listen to the audio only version of the podcast here:
1) Belief in guilt.
As innocent children born into an unwell world, we have been taught to feel ashamed of ourselves. The natural process of learning and growing requires that we make mistakes along the way. Rather than being encouraged to look honestly at errors, consider the consequences of our actions, and unemotionally making adjustments—most of the people in our lives make us guilty, shame us, and tell us we are no good. When we believe this about ourselves, we begin to loathe ourselves. When we loathe ourselves, it becomes impossible to love ourselves or anyone else.
Know that you are not guilty, and neither is anyone else. We have all made mistakes and have acted in ways that does not honor reality. Errors can be corrected, but only if looked upon lovingly, honestly, and without judgment. Simply notice how your words and actions made you feel. How did it make others feel? What was the result of your deeds? Is this what you want or is there a better way? Think about it, talk about it, and experiment until you get it right.
2) Belief in attacking to teach a lesson.
This is closely related to belief 1. The thought system of the world is to judge others and then to respond with reward or punishment as a mechanism of control. This is a violent, manipulative way to get others to obey us without consent. This is one form of attack. Other forms include violence, arguing, insulting, etc.
The problem with belief in attack is that it leads to rebellion, resentment, and teaches us to react in fear rather than in common sense and wisdom. The other problem is that it is impossible to feel love within the thought system of attack or a relationship based on attack (because it is violent).
3) That there is ever a good reason to withhold honesty.
Another common blockage to our ability to love is that we are afraid to be honest and we are afraid of the truth. When we restrict honesty, we are restricting the free flow of communication. Yet, it is through open communication that love flourishes. Loving yourself is about knowing yourself and being honest with yourself about you. Loving another is just the same. Withhold or prevent honesty and you destroy love.
Practicing honesty requires a willingness for both parties to accept. There can be no judgment, no making wrong, and no attack as a response to honesty or honesty will be impossible in that relationship. What we are talking about here is unconditional love. Any love that is conditional is not love; rather, an arrangement.
4) Believing that you get love from another person.
Most people want to be loved by another person, but lasting love from another is impossible unless we first learn to love ourselves. This, of course, has become a cliché (yet, even so, it is rarely understood or practiced).
Spend some quiet time with yourself and think deeply about the ideas in this post. Remember that you are innocent, that you are good, that any shame or guilt you feel has restricted you from love—yet, at your core, you are love.
This is the process of unblocking yourself that we are talking about, and it is a necessary step before we can experience perfect love with another person.
5) Faith in time.
Most people seek love by waiting for circumstances to change, for someone to finally apologize for this or to do that. Others are waiting to meet the “right person”. But waiting is not seeking. Infinite possibilities for love exist right here, right now—and the present moment is the only dimension of reality that has ever existed.
Love yourself perfectly now. Love those in your life perfectly now. Greet new people with perfect love as well. This is how you transform your life into one that is filled with perfect love everywhere. Everyone meant for you will fit exactly where they were meant to fit. But it happens now, not in the future.
So often, truth is withheld in relationships with the best of intentions. We want to avoid making the person we love feel uncomfortable or upset. We present a “better” version of ourselves to be loved more and to make the relationship stronger. Despite how normal and well-intentioned this is, it is also the way that relationships are poisoned.
The first thing that happens is that the person withholding or twisting the truth feels afraid of being discovered. You also feel isolated, misunderstood, and distant. Now there are problems and unmet needs that the person you love cannot help you with because he or she is unaware. Not saying how you feel or what you mean—expecting the other person to guess—leads to friction and resentment.
What about the other person? If you are afraid to be honest in your relationship, you probably don’t encourage it or welcome it from your partner. So both of you feel the same low-level, ongoing suffering. Besides, it is exhausting to fake anything, especially at home. Acting is work and nobody can be happy without breaks from work.
We learn about relationships from the world of entertainment, where characters are always trying to manipulate reality. This is what all movies are about. If there were a movie about two people who were perfectly open and honest always, there would be no plot, no intrigue, no drama, no crisis to deal with. This movie has never been made, but this sort of life is possible and fully desirable.
What most people do not know until it is too late, is that the truth always eventually comes out. You can go on for years getting away with something, playing a role, pretending. But reality is designed in such a way that everything will be known. When it is, you will face crisis and everything you built on that foundation of shifting sand will crumble.
Even if it may seem difficult at first, if there are risks involved in speaking your truth, every relationship must be built on truth and openness to be joyful and eternal. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.
Until we learn to love completely and really communicate, there can be no relief from loneliness. No amount of shallow interactions and no new forms of technology will help. We can meetup, hangout, engage with social media—we can even get married and start a family—still many people feel misunderstood, not accepted, empty, isolated, and alone. All the while, we deeply crave true connection.
This is just how the ego likes it. Separation is the foundation of the ego’s belief system and a necessary requirement for keeping the ego firmly intact. The unease of loneliness provides a justification for suffering while driving us to look to the future for gratification and to hold onto past grievances. We loath ourselves for our inability to fit-in, we blame others by judging and labeling them as somehow wrong—all because of ego (which works the same way for everyone). Ego—the violently-imposed thought system of the world designed to enslave us—is an illness that feeds on our misery, asks for endless sacrifice, while falsely promising happiness someday.
If, by some fluke, we might experience only a tiny glimpse into the bliss of union, true intimacy, or unconditional love with no boundaries...only then do we forget about the past, care less about the future, and look past flaws in ourselves and in others. True union is possible, but only in the absence of ego.
Lasting, blissful union remains only a dream—or, at best, a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience for most people. Unless you learn to escape the ego and find someone else who is also willing to unlearn the conditioning and domestication that has been done to us by the world. It is a simple decision, available at any moment we decide that the suffering is no longer acceptable. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.
Yesterday, a friend told me that she is afraid of getting bored in a relationship—ending up being just two strangers living next to each other without emotions. Worse yet, she strongly dislikes dishonesty. She also says that losing trust is what scares her the most and left me with a few questions:
How can you preserve trust?
As I have said and written about repeatedly, you can only trust your partner if you have first offered unconditional love. The mind finds this statement ironic and confusing. How can I offer unconditional love / acceptance in a situation where, for example, I have been deceived?
Turn this around. What is the cause of deceit? Do we not lie, deceive, or cheat to avoid rules, expectations, and the negative consequence of speaking or living our truth? Would anyone have a reason to deceive if unconditional acceptance and the possibility for total openness was first made real?
It might take some time to create such a relationship—time to know with any degree of certainty that you will not be punished for your truth, some practice learning to tell and live your truth lovingly and sensitively, and you may need to work through any emotions that do exist. But this is what a relationship is and it is fun—particularly if you start from the very beginning, before there is so much codependence and attachment. If there is true love, you can always find a way to love the person truly and to accept exactly who he or she honestly is.
Offer your partner the possibility of unconditional love right from the start and always. Make no rules and set no expectations about anything. When something is said, done, or wanted that causes an emotional challenge, talk openly about it. Give your partner a chance to show he or she loves you, to explain things fully, to help you understand and feel understood. Love will melt away any negative emotions. In the end, you will grow closer. One day, the trust will be so great that you no longer need to go through this process.
Is it possible to regain trust once it has broken?
If there is love, then yes. You can use this same approach. Reveal all your feelings about the situation, reveal how much it hurts, and repeat that there is never a reason to deceive. You want to know what’s going on and will not punish. You want to accept everything. You just want to know the truth. You want the opportunity to love the person for who he or she truly is.
Unconditional love does not mean that you are stuck with an abuser. That would be a condition. It is possible to love the truth about someone, to love their heart and soul, but also come to the recognition that you are not loved in return or that living together isn’t healthy. Unconditional love means that you do not attach your love to a set of rules or conditions and then withdraw love and affection when they are not met. That isn’t love; rather, an arrangement.
The conditional relationship also leads to my friend’s first concern: feeling isolated and bored. This happens when you are forced to hide who you are, or when you force your partner to do the same.
Creating a relationship based on love requires that you drop your pride and humble yourself. Your partner’s needs, habits, and perspectives are not an attack on you. It is about him or here. At the same time, humbling yourself does not mean that you ignore your needs.
By offering unconditional love, which can only happen after you learn self-love, you must also offer yourself the possibility of perfect honesty, openness, and acceptance. If your partner is not interested in unconditional love, acceptance, and openness, then you can be honest anyway and let the relationship run its natural course. Either you are loved for who you are, or you are not loved. Have patience, learn this dance together, and you will create the most beautiful, eternal relationship.
No matter what is going on in the world, the most popular topic on this blog is sex. While I have written proportionately little about sex, the topic of sex is what people are searching for. When people contact me, it is usually with questions about their romantic relationship and, more specifically, about jealousy and sex.
My position on jealousy, cheating, monogamy and sex is always the same, without exception, and it is completely clear. It is a position that is in full alignment with all the spiritual lessons being taught here—including lessons of acceptance, openness, wanting only truth, and enjoying life.
There are no exceptions to unconditional love. As A Course in Miracles states, “There are no exceptions to the lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson.” Can a love relationship be perfect, complete, and unconditional if there are conditions placed upon it? No.
People ask, “what about in the case of cheating?” To that, I answer: if there has been cheating, then there must have been an arrangement where the total truth, full openness, and acceptance of each other has been made impossible. This undoing of love is typically done through rules. Rules are typically backed by threats.
In a normal relationship based upon rules and expectations, the feeling of closeness is impossible because a part of you is rejected. Now the feeling of love is eroded, resentment ensues, a strong need for unconditional love remains. So the desire to cheat becomes very real. Even when there is no cheating, to impose a boundary on a partner means that you can no longer be sure what your partner is thinking, wanting, feeling, or doing. This hurts.
A holy relationship is between two spiritually awakened individuals united by unconditional love. Here there are no rules. In love, all feelings can be accepted and shared openly. All challenges can be solved. All needs can be met. No demands are ever placed upon the other. Nothing needs to be hidden, and you can both be free.
“What about sex with other people?” If your partner has a real need, and you claim to love this person, you must love the whole person. This must go both ways. What you may find is that, in a holy relationship, the burning need for someone new is greatly diminished. No other person can provide what you already have. If there is still some need remaining, some strong curiosity or passion for something, then it can be approached in the spirit of fun—because you both know that your love is eternal and no other person is going to threaten your perfect relationship.
This is not how the world does relationships. This is why the vast majority of relationships in the world are miserable, why people lie and cheat, and why parents separate. The approach I am describing is not a matter of opinion. I am describing the unchangeable reality of romantic relationships and marriages. You can ignore it, but the result will be suffering and crisis. The purpose of all the pain we go through in relationships is to teach us the lesson about this unchangeable truth.
My answer is simple: sexual repression. Apparently, some people do not have much a sex drive. Most people do. Some do not have crazy fantasies and are not willing to experience something sexually exciting just because it feels good and is fun. Most people do and would.
But the whole world tells us that our sexual needs are bad and wrong. We are instantly punished at the mention of our sexual truths. We are forcefully driven into hiding and secrecy, where the fantasies become ever crazier and the needs ever stronger.
The healthy way to respond to a real sexual need is to enjoy it. You can be open about it with the right people. See if you can find someone who shares that fantasy or need. You can get to know each other. You can establish trust and respect. If you are both turned on, you can easily consent to doing whatever you want to and enjoy it fully.
This healthy attitude about sex never involves manipulation and certainly not prostitution or any other form of exploitation or abuse. You can have fun and try anything. You can find out what something is (or is not) and move on with life without all the obsession. You can get unstuck and free yourself from the frustrations of an unfulfilling sex life. In the process, you might even find true love. At the very least, you will form loving friendships.
Unfortunately, most people respond to sexual repression in an unhealthy way. They hide their deepest fantasies from others. The carnal drive toward human intimacy then becomes pornographic and detached from human relationships. People are objectified only as bodies to be conquered and exploited—not as sacred human beings who deserve love and respect.
The sexually sick then manipulate people for sex. They may take advantage of their authority over people. They may cross boundaries and commit crimes. They may cheat on spouses and break families. They may use drugs to numb the pain. This is the spiral into madness, which can only end in the tragedy of crisis.
To want wild sex is normal, and there is a healthy response. If you are struggling with sexual repression, obsessed by unfulfilled fantasies, I know it can feel terribly frustrating. This very real part of you seems to make no sense from a rational perspective. You may even hate yourself for it.
But if your sexual needs are real for you, then you can embrace them. If a partner claims to love you, then this person can love everything about you—even this. You can give a partner this same freedom. Whatever turns you on is possible—but it needs to be done in truth and with love.
You cannot use people, but you can enjoy everything with them. Sin is where love is not. You can fulfill your sexual needs, but only in honesty and in truth. No cheating.
The mind can come up with a thousand reasons not to love. Each of these reasons is backed by a strange belief that there is something more desirable than love to be gained. There isn't.
To forgive is to see something wrong as only a mistake. If an error has been made, even if it is not fixed and there is no apology at all, forgiveness is always the sane and correct response. This doesn't mean you have to go along with a person or situation that you are not inspired to go along with, but the "sin" is not an offense against you to be taken personally.
So what exactly is sin? Sin is where love is not. Anything done in perfect love cannot be an error because love is perfectly honest, open, sensitive, eternally loyal, understanding, giving, and accepting. Within the thought system of love, it is impossible to sin. Sin is only possible when you forget about love as your core value and faith; when you follow the external world's insane lessons instead.
Because so few people have learned unconditional love, the world is filled with sin. The world teaches us that to easily forgive is to let someone off the hook and condone a sinful behavior. But what is the alternative to forgiveness? Non-forgiveness? Non-forgiveness means condemning a person, punishing, attacking in some way, or withdrawing love. Does it make sense to punish someone who is acting without love by withdrawing love?
When there is a genuine willingness, it is entirely possible to correct error. But correction cannot happen if there is attack or punishment because non-forgiveness insanely teaches that the real problem (withdrawal of love) is the solution. If there is non-forgiveness, the problem cannot be solved because the conditions of lovelessness are perpetuated and the ground remains fertile for terrible, disgusting behavior.
This isn't about holding someone guilty, labeling a person as bad, and then speaking the language of forgiveness when it isn't in your heart. If there is any chance of correcting the error of sin, we need to learn to see past the error not as who a person is; rather, a simple, correctable error a person has made. Anything less than total forgiveness is an attempt to make error so real that it is an identity. How can a person change when you have made their error their identity?
By the way, learning the art of forgiveness means starting with yourself. If there is anything you feel guilty of or ashamed of, if there is anything you have not forgiven yourself for, you can now give yourself permission to do so. You can love yourself unconditionally, creating the space in your heart to easily make things right, tell the truth, and to walk the bravest and truest path of all: love.
Nobody wants to lie. We only do it because we are afraid of what someone might say or do in response to our truth. People learn to tell you the truth to the extent that you unconditionally accept what they are saying and who they are.
To lie is always an error for many reasons. But putting someone in a position where they feel the need to do so is much worse. Nobody has the right to project their own arbitrary preferences and tastes upon someone else through a set of rules and expectations, and then attack or call them a liar when they cannot comply. This shows zero love or respect.
When you understand this, you can easily forgive lies is by making it 100% clear that, with you, there is no need to hide anything. You can always accept someone's truth calmly. This creates the space, the trust, the openness required for a beautiful relationship to flourish.