Does Spiritual Practice Help Your Relationships?

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If you are reading this blog article, you probably have some form of spiritual practice. In fact, the very act of reading this article is spiritual practice. We know that our practice brings us inspiration, perhaps some sense of joy, peace, or harmony. But can it help with the practical realm, such as improving our relationships?

One of the greatest benefits of spiritual practice, especially meditation, is that it expands our awareness. All change and growth begins with awareness. We cannot shift what we are not aware of.

With expanded awareness, we have expanded choice. For example, many years ago, after a period of intense spiritual practice, expanded awareness allowed me to observe a pattern in how I was relating to a loved one. In that moment, there was spaciousness. As the other person began to play out our habitual drama, I got to see my habitual role in the drama, and came to a very conscious choice point in real time.

It was almost as if there were a director of the play that was our real-life drama, and, when the moment of choice arrived, the director gave me a knowing glance – “okay, you know your part; go ahead and play it.” However, seeing the drama so clearly for the first time, I wasn’t willing to continue in my starring role. The present-moment choice I made, to discontinue playing my habitual role, changed the relationship forever. No words were ever spoken about it. It was simply clear – the drama is over, because one of its star actors (me) resigned his part.

How we live our lives is the ultimate spiritual practice. Meditation, prayer, and study prepare us to live a more conscious, aware existence. We begin to break away from conditioned behavior and habitual patterns as we understand ourselves and the nature of our minds, bodies, emotions, and soul journey in greater ways.

Our relationships are important vehicles for our spiritual growth. Family and other primary relationships are especially conducive to creating growth opportunities. Where there are triggers, or unhealed past traumas, these close relationships will surely uncover them. The trick is to recognize the gift in being triggered. Our conditioned response to being triggered is often to project our energy onto the one who stimulated the trigger.

The greater opportunity is to focus our attention inward or in the mirror of our own journey. Some questions we might ask ourselves are:

  • What emotion am I feeling?
  • What is behind this emotion? (i.e., what beliefs do I have about myself, the other person, or the world that are causing me to feel this way?)
  • How am I being called to shift my perspective to have a more expansive and empowering experience?
  • What divine, or higher, qualities am I being called to embody?
  • What am I being called to release and let go of in service to my healing?
  • What else am I to know for my expanded awareness?

This type of introspective process not only evolves us on the spiritual journey, but also creates the opening for more fulfilling relationships, based on mutual trust and responsibility, wholeness, and a more mature form of love.

The invitation this day is to embrace the opportunities that our relationships provide for our growth, to go deeply within ourselves when triggered, taking full responsibility for transforming our relationships.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole is currently offering an online meditation course. Click here for more information.

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