A60 Twelve Steps to Co-Commitment: Suggestions about how to develop a conscious love relationship

Much of this section is inspired by the work of Gay and Katherine Hendricks

We can move towards a conscious love relationship by committing our selves to consciously working towards that. We need to clearly understand what we want out of our relationship and be willing to commit ourselves to that goal. It means choosing to work on ourselves rather than falling back into unconscious behavior patterns. These twelve commitments free us to love our partner consciously without games and fears.

1. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO BEING AS OPEN AND UNITED AS POSSIBLE WITH YOU AND TO REMOVING FROM MYSELF ANYTHING WHICH OBSTRUCTS THAT OPENNESS.
We chose to observe our selves and discover when we are closing up, when we do not feel united or open to the other and to work on getting free from any fears or mechanisms which obstruct our feeling love and unity with the other at each moment.

2. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO PARTICIPATING FULLY IN MY PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION.
Our relationship is a basic part of our growth process and we seek to learn and evolve through our contact with the other. We will support each other in our growth process and will not allow this relationship to stunt our growth. We are simultaneously committed to the relationship and to evolving into a better person. The relationship should not obstruct growth and our growth should not separate us.

3. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO TELLING ALL THE TRUTH IN EVERY SITUATION.
Only through truth can their be real love and unity. As long as we are not totally truthful, then we are living in fear. Perhaps we fear the other’s rejection or anger. A conscious love relationship will eventually arrive to the level of inner security and self acceptance for both of us so that we can tell and hear the truth without being hurt or offended. True love means being able to accept the other along with all his feelings and needs. True love means being able to share our inner world without fear. Some symptoms revealing that we are hiding feelings or thoughts might be:
1. A tight throat.
2. Our jaw might be clenched.
3. We may have frequent headaches.
4. We may hold our breath or have shallow breathing.
5. There may be tension in the abdominal area.
6. We may avoid eye contact with the other.
7. We might find ourselves getting upset with the other for small unimportant reasons, which release these pent up feelings that really have nothing to do with the event which we are getting upset about.
Self acceptance is a basic prerequisite to being able to recognize, accept an express our emotions.

4. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO EMPOWERING YOU IN EVERY WAY AND HELPING YOU MANIFEST YOUR LATENT POTENTIAL.
Many relationships become antagonistic in which each tries to be better or more right than the other. This is a result of our self doubt and our need to verify of self worth by being more right, or more capable or more successful than the other. This creates jealousy and an inability to support or empower the other in his or her efforts. We fear the other’s success and power. By committing our selves to this ideal, we free ourselves from this unfortunate situation. We help the other to blossom and enjoy his or her successes. We help and support each other in our goals and efforts and rejoice in our successes.

5. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO TAKING 100% RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE REALITY I CREATE THROUGH MY INTERPRETATIONS AND PROJECTIONS.
We usually seek to blame others for our unhappiness or mistakes. We find it difficult to accept responsibility for what we feel and what we have created in our lives. We seek to avoid accepting our own failings and mistakes. This commitment is perhaps one of the most difficult to employ. We need now take full responsibility for every emotion we feel and every reality we create. The truth behind this fact may be difficult to understand at first. We have learned that our feelings are created by what others do and what happens in our lives. The reality is, however, that what others do or say or what happens are only the stimuli which trigger our programmings and beliefs. Our beliefs create our emotions. We interpret events according to what we believe about ourselves and others. Those interpretations create our emotional reality. One of us may interpret what is happening as threatening or demeaning, while another may see it as positive or pleasant and still another as indifferent. For example someone burping at a meal would be considered rude and inconsiderate to a European, whereas an Arab would consider it a compliment to how good the meal was. An Indian wouldn’t even hear it, as it is considered simply a natural bodily function. Who is right. Each creates a different reality with the same stimulus or event. Only we can create a new reality for ourselves. We can do so by discovering and transforming the beliefs and attachments which are creating our unhappiness. A relationship is an ideal school for this process. Details on how this can be done are given in the book PSYCHOLOGY OF HAPPINESS.

6. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO BEING HAPPY TOGETHER IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.
It may seem strange at first that we might not want to be happy. But detailed examination will show that we usually cannot stand too much happiness for a long time. We have been programmed that after happiness there will be pain. There are even phrases we use so as not to attract problems when we admit that things are actually going well. We say, “knock on wood, everything is fine.” Secondly, many of us are in the role of the victim “poor me” and therefore cannot admit happiness or else we no longer be “poor me’s”. We also need to criticize and blame in order to establish our self worth. How can we do that when we admit that we are happy and that everything is fine. There is also a fear of the unknown or of appearing silly or not serious. When one is very high the other seldom follows so as to create balance and bring him down to being a serious adult. We also fear the intensity of emotions, which occur when we are both very happy and admitting it and allowing our selves to laugh and play and enjoy each other as two young children. We manage to avoid high states of energy and happiness in some of the following ways:
a. By being unable to accept of hear positive messages from others. We discard what they say as simply having nothing to do with us.
b. We remain attached to the past or future and seldom experience the present moment.
c. We cultivate worry thoughts which make us unhappy. We think of everything which has gone wrong or could go wrong.
d. We criticize and reject our selves.
e. We create arguments or conflicts so as to destroy our happiness.
f. We unconsciously lock into various matters or situations so as to avoid experiencing the happiness of the present.
g. We avoid and conceal our feelings, both positive ad negative.
h. We do things which we know will upset the other, like be late, ignore our agreements etc.

Some ways in which we can start to get used to being happy and having high energy with someone are:
a. We can learn to give space to the other to be alone when he or she needs it, and can take our space with we need it.
b. We can begin to tell every little truth and hide nothing in. Holding the truth dulls the relationship.
c. Deep breathing and dance can help free up our energy.
d. Non sexual touch, such a massage and affection can increase our energy level significantly.
e. We can learn to express our needs rather than complain.
f. The ultimate solution is to allow our beliefs to evolve and realize that we are expressions of divinity and that we have every right to happiness and creative ecstasy.
g. The key to happiness is to love and accept ourselves and the other as we are, and realize that we deserve happiness.

7. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO LEARNING TO LOVE YOU AND MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY.
As you probably have understood this is the foundation of any conscious love relationship. These will be discussed in chapters 11 and 16.

8. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO LEARNING TO FEEL AND SHARE MY EMOTIONS WITH YOU WITHOUT BLAMING YOU AND TO BEING ABLE TO LISTEN TO YOUR EMOTIONS WITHOUT TAKING THEM PERSONALLY.
Many of us have lost the ability to know and express what we feel. This becomes a major obstacle in our exchange of love and energy. Being cut off from our real feelings, we are also cutting the other off from important parts of our being. Another problem is that, not knowing what we really feel, we confront the other with other emotions which confuse him and create unnecessary conflicts. For example a man who does recognize his fear expresses anger and his wife feels abused and hurt, for she has done nothing which warrants anger. But her husband cannot express his fear. His wife may not be able to accept her anger or sexual feelings and thus goes into depression, something he cannot understand, since she has “everything she needs” to be happy. These problems cannot be solved until we are able to know what we feel and are able to express it. Of course, we want to learn to take responsibility for what we feel so that, when we share it with the other, we do not blame or criticize, but simply inform him or her about what is going on with in us. How can we begin to know what we are feeling?
a. We can take time, be still and begin to feel what is going on in the body.
b. We allow our consciousness to flow into the various parts of the body and notice where we are more tense. Tension is a sign of pent up emotions.
c. We then go deeper and feel those emotions behind those superficial ones. For example we might feel anger and below that, hurt or fear which are causing the anger.
d. We get in touch with the needs and beliefs which are creating those feelings.
e. We take responsibility for the feelings we are creating.
f. We then share our feelings, needs and beliefs with the other without criticism or blame.

9. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO BEING SELF SUFFICIENT AND WHOLE UNTO MYSELF.

We often mistake attachment, fear, need and dependency with love. Love comes from strength and the assurance that we will be fine with or without the other. Only then can our love for the other be pure and free from need or fear and thus all the conditions which we put on our love for the other. The moment we need something from the other, and he or she cannot give that to us, our security and love are diminished, especially if we believe that the other could and should give this to us. The moment we need something from the other, we start to change who we are in order to get what we need, perhaps playing the roles of intimidator, interrogator, victim, or aloof. These roles are the opposite of love and truth. Only when we can be independent can we really love unconditionally. We will be with the other because we want to be and not out of fear or loneliness or emptiness. One part of experiencing our self sufficiency within a relationship is to recognize our mutual needs to be alone occasionally. This is often taboo in many relationships. Some programmings which make this unthinkable are:
1. If she really loved me, she would not want to be alone or want to do something by herself or with others.
2. If I want time for myself, I am a bad partner.
3. A couple which does not do everything together is not in love.
Shakespeare has written, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” We begin to appreciate our loved one even more after a little space from him or her. It is true, however, that being apart can also be an excuse for people who are afraid of getting close to the other. It may be a form of avoidance or even revenge. Thus we must have discrimination. Too much absence may starve a relationship, and too little make suffocate it. Some indications that we need some space might be the following:
1. Turning our back on our partner
2. Shutting our eyes while he or she is talking
3. Walking away while he or she is talking
4. Sighing and looking away when he or she is talking
5. Interrupting when the other is speaking
6. Tensing up and holding our breath
7. Avoiding the other
8. Watching a lot of TV
9. Hiding behind the newspaper or at the cafe
10. Not paying attention to what the other is saying
11. Too much sleep
12. Over occupied with our work
13. Keeping others around continuously
14. Day dreaming about other things
15. Feeling being pressured of suppressed
16. Criticizing, blaming or arguing frequently If we find our selves engaging frequently in these types of behavior, we may need to discuss this with our partner and see how we can both renew ourselves, so that we can be more positive and attentive when we are together. A few hours of attentive contact will give us much more pleasure than days of being together while being closed into our selves.

10. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO KEEPING MY AGREEMENTS WITH YOU.
There is no surer way to lose someone’s trust than to ignore our agreements and promises. This is an absolute in any conscious love relationship. Better to avoid making agreements that we may not be able to keep. And when we have made a promise which we see will be difficult to manifest, better to discuss this with the other, rather than ignore it. In cases where we observe that we frequently delinquent on our agreements, we may want analyze what subconscious programming may be obstructing us. We may fear losing our freedom. We might have hidden negative feelings towards the other. We may be testing the other’s love. We may have adopted the role of the bad boy or girl and are keeping up our reputation. We may have needs which we are unable to admit to the other and thus make agreements which our needs then prevent us from keeping.

11. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY (A. ANALYSIS, B. I MESSAGE, C. ACTIVE LISTENING, D. LOVE)
This method of communication is discussed partially in chapters 9 and 10 and in detail in the books “Psychology of Happiness” and “Eμειυ”.

12. I CONSCIOUSLY COMMIT MYSELF TO CULTIVATING MY RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD
Our relationship with the Divine is a tremendous source of inner security and inner strength which will allow us to love the other without being dependent on him or her. We can take from our inner relationship with God and be in a position to give to others, without needing to receive from them. This very important aspect of self transformation will not be discussed in this book. It is extensively presented in the books “Universal Philosophy” and “The Art of Meditation”.

All of these aspects of creating a healthy conscious love relationship will be investigated further as we proceed.

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