Love can be the most exhilarating human emotion one can experience. It can change life in an instant and take us places we never dreamed possible. But love can also shatter our heart, trigger old wounds and cause indescribable pain.
Both sides of the coin are reasons to celebrate, according to best-selling author, Marianne Williamson, who explained this and more, from the perspective of “A Course in Miracles,” during “The Enchanted Love Workshop: Building the Inner Temple of the Sacred and the Romantic,” which took place in Los Angeles, as well as worldwide via live streaming on the Internet.
“’The Course in Miracles’ does not claim to have a monopoly on truth,” she told the audience on the first evening of the conference. “It is based on universal, spiritual themes found at the heart of all great religious teaching. It’s not doctrine. It’s not dogma. It’s principles.”
This particular weekend conference focused on love and relationships – an area most people struggle in, no matter what their spiritual practice. Over time, many of us can see clearly where we may be heading off course in our lives, but when it comes to intimate love, “it’s so easy to be insane and think you’re not,” she said. “We get involved with romantic drama, and all the spiritual stuff goes out the window.”
Having written a book called “Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships,” Williamson decided to run a workshop based on the Course’s view of intimate relationships, and the goal of transitioning them from ego-based to spirit-based.
“The Course says relationships are assignments made in order to increase the maximum soul growth of both people,” she explained. “It is as though a giant machine somewhere sees where you are wounded, and then picks out the person and situation in all of the universe in combination with whom you would most likely be healed.”
Looking at this from the ego’s perspective, we often believe there is one special person out there who will heal us and fill us with everything we are lacking in life. We also believe this person will never push our buttons or trigger our wounds – be it from childhood or past relationships – but instead will behave exactly as we need them to because we are so wounded, she said.
“The ego sees the assignment as someone who will give me what I think I need to compensate for the lack that exists in me. But the universe is invested in your soul growth, not in your imagined need. The universe knows you have no need other than to remember you already are and have everything,” Williamson said.
Unlike the ego, the universe’s idea of a perfect relationship is not someone who will stay away from our bruises or triggers, but actually someone who will bring our wounds to the surface in order to heal them. “To double the perfection, it will not only be a perfect assignment in which to address your wounds, but also the perfect assignment in which to address theirs,” she explained.
Intimate relationships exist to bring up all of our wounds, triggers and childhood issues. It brings shadows of the past – whether it’s our mother, father, brother, sister or ex-lover – into our current relationship, and instead of seeing the man or woman in front of us, subconsciously we are seeing the person who invalidated us, she said.
“We heal through a detox process. Sometimes you will think, ‘Wow, I haven’t had that issue in a while,’ when really it’s just that it hasn’t been triggered. It wasn’t healed, it just wasn’t brought up,” she said, explaining until we find healing, the issue will continue to show up for us. However, there are times we are meant to stay in the relationship to heal, and times where the healing needs to take place apart.
“Relationships are never over. The Course says all who meet will someday meet again until the relationship becomes holy. There are phases in a relationship where there is silence or you are not in physical proximity with one another anymore, and this can actually be very helpful,” she said. “Sometimes work is going on even more powerfully when two people are not talking. If you do the work, know that he or she is still feeling it.”
However, if we don’t do the work to heal the wounds, we will carry them into the next moment or next relationship, and will continue to attract the same circumstances until the work is done.
“It’s not that you attract a certain type of man – it’s that you are attracted to that certain type of man so you can heal,” Williamson noted.
For the full cover story, with more insight from the conference, including tips for the working woman, the most important connection to maintain in any relationship (and how to make it), how to hang on to the “falling in love” feeling from the beginning of the relationship, and more – check out our full cover story in the June 2012 issue.