Today we are delighted to welcome New York Times best selling author, Gary Zukav, to our blog. Gary is the author of Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power. His book, filled with poignant examples and practical guidance, empowers us to explore our emotions, intentions, choices and intuition, and to use them to create profound spiritual growth. Now see for yourself:
Nourishing Relationships:Please tell us about spiritual partnerships.
Gary Zukav: I am very happy to be a part of your blog and your extended family, and I am very happy to share all that I know about spiritual partnerships and creating authentic power.
Spiritual partnerships are the most fulfilling, substantive, and deep relationships possible. They are relationships between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. Growing spiritually means creating a life of more joy and less pain, more meaning and less emptiness, and more love and less fear. As we become aware of ourselves as more than we once thought that we were – and this is happening to millions of people – we long for relationships that are the most meaningful and rewarding possible, that support us in becoming healthy, vibrant, creative, and loving. These are spiritual partnerships.
N R: I understand your book is about not just couples being in spiritual partnership but that all our relationships can become spiritual partnerships. Will you talk about this more?
G Z: You can create spiritual partnerships within your family, with your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors, and with another individual as a couple. No matter who the spiritual partner or spiritual partners are, the spiritual partnership operates the same way. It is a vehicle that supports the partners in it to become more aware of their emotions, to become more aware of their intentions, and in making the most healthy choices that they can, choices that will create consequences for which they are willing to assume responsibility. My spiritual partner Linda Francis and I have been together for seventeen years. We are married, yet we see our relationship as a spiritual partnership, and we see ourselves as spiritual partners. I am committed to my spiritual growth, and Linda is committed to hers. I am responsible for my spiritual growth, and Linda is responsible for hers. Yet I support her in growing spiritually and she supports me. We began creating spiritual partnerships with our granddaughters when they were 6 and 8.
N R: I have good friendships and I feel that they are spiritual partnerships. How can I tell?
G Z: Friends want to make you feel better when you feel bad. Spiritual partners help you look inside when you feel bad and find the internal source of your pain, such as grief, guilt, depression, etc; and then experience it as fully as you can so that you can challenge and heal it. Friends think that the causes of their pain and happiness are outside of themselves, for example, that they are overwhelmed because they have to much too do, or that they are devastated because a partner left or a child is sick. Your work load, the departed partner, the sick child are triggers of your painful experiences, but they are not the causes of them. The causes of them existed before you had too much to do, your partner left, or your child became ill. The pain is real, but it’s cause is not outside of you. It is inside of you. Friends will try to help you ease your pain or distract you from it, but your spiritual partners will help you find and heal the source of it forever, if you are willing to do that.
N R: What is the relationship between my concerns about getting older and changing my relationships into spiritual partnerships?
G Z: It is natural to become more interested in deep and substantive relationships as you begin to appreciate the complexity and richness of Life, and sense the beauty, compassion, and wisdom in it, even in circumstances that sometimes appear to be tragic. However, the thirst for spiritual growth is everywhere, in every age group, in every culture, and in both sexes. A new consciousness is emerging throughout the human family that will not make any of us more kind or wise, but will eventually make all of us more aware – aware of experiences and dynamics, and compassion and wisdom that the five senses cannot detect – and aware of new potentials. Those are the potentials of authentic power and spiritual partnership.
N R: I love the idea of spiritual partnership, but it is a frightening concept that spiritual partners only stay together as long as they are growing together. Can you explain this further?
G Z: One of the dynamics of spiritual partnership is that spiritual partners remain together as long as they grow spiritually together. Since spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth, if one or more of the partners stops growing spiritually – for example, stops challenging his anger, or her need to please, and refuses to begin again – the reason for the partnership no longer exists, and the partnership will fall apart. Other partners will continue in it, but not that person because his commitment no longer supports theirs (spiritual growth). Is this dynamic of spiritual partnership really frightening to you, or is it frightening to a part of your personality that needs the world to be the way that it wants, and becomes frightened when that does not happen? Creating authentic power is the process of becoming the authority in your own life, more aware and more responsible than you were in the past, and able to challenge the frightened parts of your personality (such as those that are angry, jealous, vengeful, feel entitled, need to please, etc.) and to cultivate the loving parts of your personality (such as those that are grateful, patient, content, appreciative, etc.)
NR: Thanks so much for joining us today, Gary – and for your wisdom and honesty. Your tribute to our most important relationships is like a breath of fresh air.
We’re also grateful to all the readers who have dropped by. Click on the title at the top of this post - that will take you to Gary's website where you can learn more about him and Spiritual Partnership.
If you have questions for Gary concerning his stimulating new ideas about our relationships, please click on "Comments" and let us hear from you. Log on again tomorrow - we’ll be summarizing your questions and Gary’s feedback.