The Practice Of Partnership
Spiritual practice, real spiritual practice is not goal oriented. If it’s goal oriented it’s not actually spiritual practice. My Zen teacher used to call that “stepladder practice”, so that’s really like trying to get someplace that’s very nonspiritual. It’s not really opening to where we are, and it actually tends to hinder our growth and development. If we really spiritually practice, we open to where we are, we inquire where we are, we meditate and really experience where our body, heart, and mind are. We open to that and we let grace, or being, or presence have its way with us.
If we do that we attain a type of immediate enlightenment. In Zen they talk a lot about immediate enlightenment because we really are where we are. Presence is there, and it forwards our development. Not only do we attain that type of immediate enlightenment, but we also are well on the path of gradual enlightenment or self-development, and that’s real spiritual practice. It includes both.
There’s been a lot of debate in the spiritual world- is spiritual realization a gradual process, or is it something that happens immediately, instantaneously? It’s both. It’s immediate in that when we open to where we are, presence is there, along with the qualities of presence; satisfaction, joy, clarity, and peace, which help us develop over time.
Let’s get into relationship practice, or partnership practice. I’m suggesting here that relationship, or romance, is a type of partnership that is also a practice. People think when they find the one then that’s it, or once they get married, their work is done. It’s not like that. It really requires an ongoing continual practice; an acceptance of where we are and where the relationship is, with the partnership being an expression of where we are.
Sustaining partnership, or thriving in partnership is all about integrity. It’s about responsibility and accountability at the deepest level. After the creative act of getting into partnership, there’s the living of that partnership. We’ve created the partnership, we know who’s who in the partnership, and now, the rubber meets the road- it’s actually living the partnership. That’s integrity, and it’s the main part of sustaining a partnership of any type. You do what you say you’re going to do and that’s in alignment or in accordance with your agreement with your partner. You can be counted on for something.
It’s not integrity like what you should do, like some kind of moral thing- crime and punishment and all that. It’s integrity like doing what works. If you’re in a business partnership, and you’re the chief operations officer, you’ve got a job description. It’s key to the sustaining of that partnership that you do what that job description says you should do.
If you do that, then you’re following through on the partnership agreement. In fact, in partnerships, in business partnerships, there’s actually a partnership agreement that sets the terms of the partnership. Sustaining a partnership really is about integrity- that will sustain the partnership. If you want the partnership to be an eternal date, or a soul mate relationship or a relationship that reaches higher and higher peaks of intimacy and sexual turn on, you better have growth and development, spiritually, relationally, and sexually as part of that agreement explicitly- really explicitly. You can sustain the partnership without that, but if you want to sustain it at a level of an eternal date, then you need to have growth and development explicitly expressed in that partnership, which will support the partnership in integrity. It is all about integrity.