I have always been curious about the yardsticks for distinguishing the social mind’s repertoire of relationship possibilities. I feel somewhat driven to examine relationship through a specific lens, one that sees it as a “path for healing”. On this path, our partner is invited to consciously see us and be seen by us, to deliberately take our hand on this wild, wonderful ride, and realize the healing opportunity that the relationship offers us both. Taking a deeper look into all that limits our ability to show up as such a partner and recognize our partner as such really excites me.
When we hear a couple announce, “We are having a relationship”, there is an assumption that immediately rises: they are having sex. Do we not assume the fact that they will soon run naked, back to each other’s embrace? So, could we not conclude that sexual intimacy actually launches the Relation-Ship?
In the society’s “love” model, this most basic element of the Ship’s structure, also points in the direction of rights of ownership. Sexual ownership appears to hold a trim sail on our relationship voyage, and any waning of sexual interest is felt as problematic or loss and becomes a great source of anxiety. Fear steps onto the decks of the Ship. For example, are we not conditioned to believe that failure to meet the partner’s sexual needs puts the Ship at risk?
Unraveling sexuality within our social paradigm is a monumental task. However, one small window of research found in Women’s Studies may offer a way through complicated theories and a starting point for investigating the concept of ownership that the social mind appears to hold.
From its volumes of research, Women’s’ Studies have examined human history to deliver the insight that control in every race, class and nation is gender based. Therefore, gender can be seen as one of the most important facts of every person’s life. It determines much of their daily experience. Since our genitals determine gender, the issues of sexuality, gender, and control are easily misunderstood. In this landscape of confusion, sexuality is rendered one of the most contaminated, compromised, and also hurtful aspects of our life.
When we acknowledge women in their role of “generators of human life”, we must also consider the past and present social climate. We have to notice a history whose point of view necessitated control. We might even go further and recognize the attempt of social institutions to usurp this creative power.
If we look closely at the history, control of creative power was accomplished through the concept of ownership. We are at a time in our history where the ownership of people is unacceptable. Objects, however, are considered morally possible to possess. Therefore, in order to own another, they must first be considered an object. With this in mind, could it be concluded, that to the degree we insist on sexual fidelity (ownership), we must view another as object rather than simply themselves?
The social mind focuses on a particular polarity: “monogamy verses non-monogamy”. This is a potent yardstick for what is considered a “good” relationship. The society demands that a choice be made in these terms.
Frankly, I am always quite suspicious when life rules are set up in such dualistic terms. Observation convinces me that there is usually at least one other way (a third way), and perhaps many other ways, to intimately connect with people that have nothing to do with this yardstick.
From my experience with the “Linear Model of Life” (see previous posting), when we set up yet another polarity with its right/wrong label, we seem to again be ready to fall into the clutches of the ego’s linear dance. And let’s remember that the ego has no attention of its own. It can only scramble between two opposite poles. It is held captive in a world of duality. The only exit proved to be a “third attention”, one that observes the two poles but identifies with neither.
Please do not conclude that I am against fidelity. I am only recommending that we notice the dynamics and the intention of the social mind. And if we look closely, we will notice that our social institutions feverishly encourage us to adhere to this form of control over each other. The results for the social mind are fascinating. To the degree that each of our personal lives is centered around keeping someone else controlled, the system can focus its attention and energy on institutional oppression and distract us from the truly revolutionary questions:
· How can we associate intimately with each other and be totally free, without compromise and negotiation?
· What is true intimacy and how can we generate it?
· What is the connection between freedom and power?
· How can we honor our need for touching, companionship, and comfort without being responsible for meeting anyone else’s needs?
· What would love look like in a landscape of freedom?
Is the organic desire to be exclusive with our Beloved not a matter of the Heart? Could we consider it a natural bi-product of love’s beautiful mystery? Can we really entrust this mystery into the hands of the social mind’s Relation-Ship form?
Perhaps we might be inspired to look to the horizon, beyond the decks of the Ship, and ponder what a refreshing dive overboard might generate for our precious, relational selves.