My guess is there are a number of women in this world who would raise an eyebrow or two at the thought of me having the audacity to write about intimate relationships.
But, as Chuck Spezzano once said, “Our greatest challenge is our greatest gift”.
So it was that, after a lifetime of often painful relationships, I eventually came to realise the truth of those words.
As I make this journey, which I strongly suspect is the last I will take in this lifetime, I hope to learn as much as you.
I make no claims to being a relationship guru. I am simply an ordinary guy who does his best and is truly, deeply committed to incarnating the power of Conscious Love in his life and relationships.
To get the most from this Divine Romance post I suggest both listening to the recording and reading the transcribed and edited words. Most of us absorb more information, more easily – and gain more insights – when we receive it in different formats.
The raw words
The polished words
Quite honestly my track record regards intimate relationships with women wasn’t that great for the majority of my life.
I can trace a lot of the problems I had in relationships back to my childhood and the family environment I grew up in. And of course the conditioning, brainwashing – or so-called “education” – I received from my parents, society and schools.
My parents were role models I guess. But they were models for how to have an awful dysfunctional relationship. My family environment was one of fairly extreme mental and emotional abuse. Although I was mercifully spared from physical abuse I have often wondered if the forms of abuse that leave physical scars would not have been preferable to the mental and emotional scarring that has made my life so challenging.
I only fully realised the extent of my family’s dysfunctional nature when I trained as a counsellor and hypnotherapist. We had to do a written exercise during one classroom session in which we drew two columns on a piece of paper. One column was headed “Qualities of a dysfunctional family” and the other was headed “Qualities of a functional family”.
As a self-reflective exercise the tutor read out a list of both qualities and we had to write the qualities that pertained to our families under each of the headings.
He had only got half-way through the list when I could see the pattern emerging. I was able to write nearly every quality under the dysfunctional heading but only two or three under the functional. The difference was so extreme that I felt in deep shock. Although I had intuited this, seeing my family described in black and white clinical terms, in such a factual manner, left an indelible imprint of “this is the truth” that has never left me.
From this point of awakening I gradually began to realise more and more what a deep impact my childhood has had on my less-then-great behaviour as an adult, especially around intimate relationships. So many of the problems I’ve had in relating intimately with women, and even people in general, stem from those formative childhood years.
So the question that comes is “what do I do about this?”
Do I spend the rest of my life complaining about my unhappy childhood and the traumas my parents installed in me, and so on? No, that approach goes nowhere.
In fact continually mulling over the past, talking about my unhappy childhood, only proved to make things worse. I tried all that and my experience was that that approach only reinforced my traumas, reinforced the pain – and did nothing at all to bring about healing.
Freedom only came to me when I realised that I could take the memories, accept them as they are, and fully love them the way that they are with kindness and self-compassion.
We could use the metaphor of frozen waves to explain what happens when we bring the power of Conscious Love to our memories.
Imagine an ocean upon which waves are arising, having their time, then relaxing back into the ocean. Imagine that the waves represent our thoughts. And that the waves become frozen in time.
In our deep mind it’s as if thought waves become frozen in time through a traumatic event. So, as an adult, it was as if I was still a child continually experiencing those traumatic moments. It felt for all the world as if those events from so many years gone past were still real, still happening now.
And because I had buried all this deep, deep down inside me I had no understanding of why I behaved in such apparently thoughtless ways, no understanding of why I felt seemingly irrational fears.
As I dug into my deep mind I came across many of these “frozen thought waves” that had defied all therapeutic interventions and all meditation and mindfulness practices to actually shift anything. They were just too deep and too deeply embedded in my concepts of who I was.
It was only when I came to the practice of Conscious Loving and allowing the memories to be exactly as they are – one of the big, big secrets of personal transformation – that I began to notice deep shifts.
Unconditional love is another way of saying “let the memories be exactly as they are and quit trying to change them, make them different, and absolutely quit judging them as wrong or bad or that I shouldn’t have them, should have had a better childhood and so on …”
I discovered that only a great unconditional Conscious Love has the power, the heat, to melt the wave forms of frozen thoughts carried in my deep mind. And I noticed that, created in the past, these “frozen waves” dissolve only in this present moment.
These days I use the phrase “Conscious Love” or simply “Love” as a shorthand for all the principles I described in my book Break Out of Your Mind. And what I’ve found is that when I simply allow those memories to come up into awareness to be seen, to be known, to be witnessed – and I engage in a relationship with my own memories in the spirit of Conscious Love, total acceptance, of kindness, of self-compassion – then the warmth of the love, the warmth of my own love, dissolves the frozen thought waves.
And as the thought waves dissolve they melt back into the ocean from which they emerged. If we think of an ocean in the physical world, if the waves that were frozen melt, they don’t cease to exist but simply melt back into the ocean.
And so it is with our frozen thought waves. As the thought-waves melt back into the ocean of what we could call pure mind, or clear mind, or Being, my experience is increasingly that of calmness and peace. Even when life gets pretty challenging at times.
Anyone who knows me well knows that my life has been pretty challenging, and is to this day in some ways. And yet when each challenge comes, when each thought-wave emerges from deep mind, and I meet them with Conscious Love, they effortlessly dissolve..
These frozen thought-waves that made my life a misery for so long – which got in the way of enjoying the quality of relationships that my Heart so yearned for – the warmth of Conscious Love simply dissolves them and they melt back into the ocean of Consciousness from which they emerged.
I should say that the name “Divine Romance” is one I pinched from a book by Paramahansa Yogananda’s of the same name because it’s such a beautiful description of the spiritual, soulmate relationship.
The way I see it, the term pertains to our romantic human relationships and also to our relationship with the Divine Beloved, as the Sufis poetically call God, or Being, or Self. Calling the Divine the “Beloved” or “The Friend” is a way of describing our relationship with Divinity that I rather like.
And then I’ve noticed that a most wonderful thing happens, if we travel this path of Conscious Living far enough, what I’ve found – and because in essence I am exactly the same as you I assume this would be the same for everyone – is that our relationship with our human beloved merges, with our relationship with the Divine Beloved. They become one. Ultimately there is no separation. Not two …
My experience of all the women I’ve been with is that have wanted to be number one in my life. I remember having an argument with my second wife, who told me, “I don’t want to be number two to God!”
I was quite amazed at the time but there seems to be something intrinsic in the female psyche that simply wants to be number one, even before “God”. And eventually I came to the point of being able to give my beloved that, because there is no difference. There is no separation between my human beloved and the Divine Beloved. There’s not even “one” or “two”, there simply is this Love.
And this is really what I am calling the Divine Romance. That’s what these blog posts are about, a spontaneous exploration of many different facets of human life, what it is to live a conscious human life, what it is to live a Divinely Beautiful human life.
And I should say, that although the essence of everything I write and share comes from my direct perception, I’ve also been blessed by many wonderful teachers.
Nature itself, life itself, is perhaps the greatest teacher. And then there have been many in human form who have taught me numerous facets of Conscious Living over the years. There are far too many to list here but if you want to know who my human teachers are I’ve put the majority on to this webpage.
The list doesn’t take into account, cannot take into account, so many people – friends, acquaintances, maybe people I’ve known for only short times, maybe only a few hours or a day or a few weeks. These people have blessed my life with wonderful insights and there are just too many to list, as it is with everyone I’m sure.
If you are one of those people please know that I greatly value the time we spent together and your beautiful Presence that you brought into my life.
So now, in the immortal words from that wonderful comedian Dave Allen, “May your God go with you”.
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