• Till Death Do Us Part

    My footsteps hit the pavement, which was newly covered in frost.  Like crystalline white algae, the frost clung to the black as if trying to escape the intensity of the rising sun to no avail.  I could smell snow in the atmosphere.  It is a scent, which has lingered over the town for three days.  A scent that already compelled me to purchase this year’s season pass ski ticket.  Now, those of us who belong to the snow are waiting for Winter.

    20081120-IMG_1755-Edit-Edit-L_0.jpg This morning on my run, I passed by an old barn that has stood here in a grassy valley for over a hundred years.  Like an icon, it has been kept up.  Layer upon layer of white paint added to seal in the nostalgia that has seeped into the pores of its wood siding.  I stopped to look at it.  Like a still frame, all was motionless except for a small wedding party milling about taking photographs.  The bride was glorious even from a distance.  Her veil gracing the brilliant shining curls of her golden hair.  The white dress hugging her curves up to the point where the fabric surrendered and fell to the floor creating a lacey train.  The way it followed her movements made it seem as if the fabric itself was powerless to her grandeur.  I started to think about marriage.  In fact I thought about it the whole way home.

    morals-630x286 (1).jpg Last night I had a world summit interview with a man who has interviewed me several times before.  A man I hold dear to my heart.  I was shocked when I got on the video call and felt a chilly animosity from him.  I came to learn over the course of the very raw and authentic interview that his animosity came from the fact that he disapproved of my divorce.  I find it less than amusing that even when people do not have all the facts from both sides, they make judgments about the scenario, especially about what is right and what is wrong.  It was an emotionally unpleasant interview in which I had to marinate in the juices of judgment for an hour.  It was unpleasant to feel my own ego yelling for it’s survival, “This is so unfair”.  But the interview highlighted a particular problem within society for me… Moral Attachments.  We, as people are owned and governed by morals when we are ‘unconscious’ in our waking state.  When we are conscious in our waking state, morality gives way to conscience.  We are so concerned with morality when it comes to relationships, especially marriage.  We all have a long list of SHOULDS as it applies to the rightness and wrongness or goodness and badness of behaviors and actions in relationships.  Moral standards we project onto others and expect to be universally agreed upon.  Divorce digs up all kinds of moral attachments.  Moral attachments that we do not question, we merely project onto other people.  So many of us still subconsciously believe to divorce is wrong.  Or to split up with a partner means something has gone wrong.  People write me letters now that are intended to be sweet.  They say things like: “I’ll still love you and think you are an awesome spiritual teacher even if you get married ten times.”  The thing is… the “even if” part of this message implies that by getting married ten times, I’d be doing something morally wrong but they’d love and respect me anyway.  They (most people) would see it as a flaw.

    legal-marriage.jpgLegally, a marriage is a recognized union between two people.  Nothing more and nothing less.  A union is the act of joining or connecting two things together so as to form a unit.  This act in and of itself is a beautiful demonstration to the world and to each other.  It is a public setting of intention.  When you marry, you enroll people in the intention you set forth to ‘be one’ with the one you love.  I love weddings because this intention creates a ripple in the energy field that gives rise to magic.  Glamorously beautiful moments where even for a brief time, people are more about love than hate and more about joy than pain.

    20120221-Kiss_Briseis_Painter_Louvre_G278.jpgIt is in fact a cultural moral that marriage SHOULD last forever, or that any form of relationship should.  This cultural moral is a holdover from the influence of ancient religious and social rules on modern culture.  About 11,000 years ago, humans turned from a hunter-gatherer species into a farming species.  What that means is, we no longer had to be mobile nomads because we learned how to corral animals and grow food.  This is the point at which “property” became a concept in human society.  And property had to be protected as well as recognized and honored by others.  Property ownership was what gave rise to economics and the idea of wealth vs. poverty.  It was at this point that pair bonding became less about attraction and more about economics.  Women and children (who also needed protection) were seen an extension of property ownership and wealth.  The arranged marriage was the first real form of socially recognized marriage to take place.  Arranged marriage was designed to ensure the economic and social status of the family.  This design actually lasted all the way until the eighteenth century; when people began to see arranged marriage as a loss of the personal freedom inherent in choosing whom to pair bond with.  At this point, marriage became more of a contract designed to fulfill psychological needs, personal happiness and stability.

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    Marriage is a very controversial topic in the ‘spiritual world’.  Some believe it is a beautiful expression of love, others believe it is an archaic restriction.  But the drive to pair up with someone is imbedded in our DNA.  Couple-hood is the primary social structure of our species.  It has been for thousands of years.  And I am all for demolishing things that no longer serve us.  But as it applies to marriage, I’m not convinced that it doesn’t serve us.  I actually think that rather than dissolving couple hood, strengthening it and transforming it into its highest expression, is what will actually transform society today.

    Marriage is usually done with the intention that the relationship be permanent throughout the duration of the couple’s life.  This is a beautiful intention.  It is the one that I, myself would set forth if I were to be married again.  But it cannot ever be a promise because it is not a promise that any person can actually keep.  This promise, defies universal expansion.  It is to say “I will put staying with this person above my own personal guidance system if that guidance system ever tells me we must go in different directions”.  And even with all the precautions taken in the world, you can’t know today what tomorrow will bring or what direction it will take you.  You could promise to be married until death do you part and either end up actually being happy with them until death do you part.  Or you could force yourself to be married until death no matter how miserable you were with them.  But the minute you die, you become unified with everything and so technically, you’re married to everything in existence at that point.  Including your worst enemies.

    On a surface level, a couple may marry for legal reasons, social reasons, financial reasons, religious reasons, spiritual reasons, emotional reasons or libidinal reasons.  And once the union is recognized, it is considered a contract.  But it is important to note that the terms of marriage are not set.  The couple themselves decides upon the terms of marriage.  The terms that come along with marriage are agreed upon rights and restrictions.  Some examples of terms are legal rights such as each spouse is entitled to half of the property that is owned and sexual restrictions such as each spouse is not allowed to engage in sexual acts with anyone outside the marriage.  But the terms of marriage that come with both rights and restrictions, are heavily influenced by culture, regardless of whether those terms are in alignment or out of alignment with universal truth.

    terms_banner.jpg This is where things get complicated.  On an emotional level, it can be a beautiful intention to save and gift one’s sexuality only to one person.  You can do that without restricting your love.  On a social level however, this decision can merely be a socially conditioned expectation that is a holdover from a time where illegitimate children were a threat to property and ownership rights.  If this is the case, it comes from a place of restriction.  It is important to look over the terms of marriage with a fine tooth comb, so both partners know each other’s expectations and so each term of the marriage can be questioned by both partners fully.  It is important to be clear about your reasons for those terms instead of simply blindly accepting them.  Because they were someone else’s before you adopted them!

    From universal perspective, everything in existence is you.  This means, every person is you.  This is why as we evolve as a species, marriage will most likely cease to be a function of society.  The contrast of separation would not exist if you held an enlightened perspective, so you would never think to desire unity and thus pair bonding would not be an impulse.  The desire to bond with others will cease to exist as the perception of separation dissipates.

    alg-owens-barham-just-married-jpg.jpg So, why you might ask is marriage in alignment?  Why would it be a good idea to engage in the experience of pair bonding from universal perspective?  Because relationships are currently the heart of expansion and the expansion coming from the experience of being in a primary relationship is immense.  Your partner will become your biggest mirror and so, committing to them is the same thing as committing to self-awareness.  Also, the perspective that comes along with being pair bonded in a unified couple is an immense vibrational improvement upon the perspective of independent individuality.  You MUST evolve to stay in a relationship long term with someone.  Why? Personalities change, desires change, bodies age, romantic love waxes and wanes, life still provides you contrast and no relationship is free of conflict.  The only way to remain together happily is to become flexible and open and become the best version of yourself.  Those states are all highly spiritually aligned states to be in.  Marriage is it’s own kind of spiritual practice.  If we were to run the other way from relationships when the going got tough, we would forfeit the opportunity to grow by running from our own reflection and our own shadows.  They would continue to chase us from partner to partner and we would keep running from them to the next partner and the next partner instead of facing our own shadows when they are mirrored in the other person and finding not only transformation but also love for them.  By committing to someone else in marriage, we are ultimately committing to ourselves.  We are in the practice of love and most especially self-love.

    Legal marriage is really a function of society instead of spirituality.  This is why the decision to be legally married should be more about wanting legal and social recognition for the marriage.  And let me tell you as someone who has personally seen loving, committed couples suffer incredible things at the hands of having no legally recognized union; there is still great reason to legally marry.  There will be great reason to legally marry until government no longer exists.  But it must be said; legal marriage also opens the door for potential legal battles and its own special form of problems and grief.

    images_0 (3).jpegLove and commitment is an entirely separate thing from legality.  This is why I feel that the spiritual ceremony of marriage is much more important than the legal ceremony.  It is the opportunity to set forth a very powerful intention to remain unified and for that unity to be supported by others.  This intention brings us back to the most ultimate truth of oneness, which is why weddings can be so beautiful.  They remind us all of our true essence, which is love. It is important to understand that you cannot ever know what you will desire tomorrow.  Each relationship provides contrast, which causes you to want more or want something else.  And when a desire is born, it cannot be denied.  This causes great suffering.  For a couple to stay happily married, they cannot ever settle.  They must continually evolve in tandem.  If a couple genuinely wants drastically different things and cannot accommodate each other’s desires, they must part ways and no contract should ever hold them together. 

    It is no kind of enlightened state to thwart your own expansion and self-sacrifice for the sake of a partnership.  That will not ever end well and it is not seen as an admirable trait outside the confines of the societally programmed human mind.

    black-and-white-artistic-wedding-photos-groom-in-tux-white-wedding-dress-hangs-in-window.original.jpg But before you panic and start thinking it will be impossible to find someone who will want the same things as you throughout your life, stop and think about this.  You can desire (and therefore ask) the universe, prior to even meeting someone on a romantic level, to connect with a person whose desires will be compatible with yours or who is capable of expanding in tandem with you throughout the duration of your life.  You cannot have desires that are not meant to be yours.  That means if you truly want a life long marriage (and you allow it into your life) the universe will bring you a mate who is capable of being with you for your entire life without their expansion taking them in a different direction.

    We believe that love SHOULD be the only reason to get married.  It may be your reason or my reason to get married.  But love is not the only valid reason to get married any more than social standing is the only valid reason to get married.  There is no real wrong reason to get married, because there is no such thing as a desire that is wrong.  If you want to get married for financial reasons, it is fine.  There is nothing wrong with you.  If you want to get married for social standing, it is fine.  There is nothing wrong with you.  If you want to get married for love, it is fine.  There is nothing wrong with you.  What is important is that you are clear about your real reasons.  What is important is that you are clear about what your core is saying is the right reason to get married for you specifically.  If you are not clear about your reasons, you are being run by societal conditioning or subconscious shadows.  You are out of alignment with your own personal truth.  Beware that there may very well be shadows driving you either towards marriage, or away from it.

    The main argument against marriage is that it is an outdated idea that restricts the expression of love… And only people who are insecure about their relationship need it.  Ultimately, if what I have seen of the future pans out, our species will evolve to the extent where the pair bond will no longer serve our expansion.  But those who seek to eradicate marriage as an answer to finding this state of non-separation and unity are trying to skip a step.  They are usually trying to skip a step because they are resistant to marriage due to the fact that marriage feels like a lack of freedom to them.  If you have a resistance to marriage, it is best to make peace with marriage and look at marriage from the perspective that it is potential freedom before you can really know whether it is or isn’t in alignment for you.

    732-74439.jpgOur pair bonding society will only give way to a polyamorous society when a great many things change within society, most specially our ability to create harmonious marriages that are based on love.  Most of us are not there yet.  Most people in today’s society are not yet capable of polyamory.  Even the people, who enjoy a polyamorous lifestyle, tend to leave a trail of tears in their wake.  Why? Because we all base our self-esteem off of our primary relationships.  This attachment we have to external approval is due to how we are parented as children.  Until the way we parent children changes, most of the people in society will be dependent on others for their self-concept.

    A great many people in the new age community try to become ok with open relationships based on the idea that the state of “free love” is a more spiritual state to aspire to be in.  Meanwhile, they feel terrible about feeling terrible about it.  But the reality is, none of us love ourselves fully.  And so, we’re yet again skipping a step.  In truth, for most of us, the step we need to take is the step of valuing ourselves enough to allow ourselves to want to experience someone choosing us and only us as their partner and mate.  If you would like to experience this, then you are meant to experience it and you cannot deny that desire.  Maybe, after years of experiencing what it is like to be loved fully as someone’s only mate, you and your mate will decide you are ready for a new experience and then you both may be ready to try polyamory.  Or, you may decide that you love being enclosed inside the security and warmth of partner hood for the rest of your life.

    love_and_marriage_0.jpg Marriage can seemingly destroy people’s lives.  Marriage can also provide an opportunity for healing and joy on many levels.  This is why in my opinion the vows should read, “Till expansion do us part and intending that it never will”.  Rather than “till death do us part”.  Marriage is very unique in that we are exercising our personal choice to include someone else’s happiness in our own happiness.  It may not be our responsibility to make someone else happy, but when we chose someone as a partner, their happiness is now a part of our happiness and so ensuring our happiness, means ensuring theirs.  What a beautiful choice that is to make.

    There is nothing wrong with those who choose not to get married any more than there is something wrong with those who chose to get married; provided that both decisions are made from a place of awareness.  We ought to question our archaic moral standards.  The only way to allow marriage to evolve in today’s world is to question the moral standards we hold relative to marriage… What are yours? 

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