Creating the Cathedral
I think of a Cathedral as a place to encounter the Divine. You can go to a Cathedral as a tourist or as a seeker. If you go as a seeker, you are likely to prepare yourself to experience the Divine. You set aside your daily life, you quiet yourself, perhaps you light a candle, you may pray. You open yourself and focus in the moment. If you are a seeker, you probably have spiritual practices in your daily life that allow you to be more fully present to the Divine both everyday and in the Cathedral.
Many of these spiritual attitudes and practices also prepare us to see the Divine in our partner and to experience relationship as a sacred calling, a spiritual path.
Spiritual Attitudes and Practices
Mindfulness involves keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present moment. When washing dishes, wash dishes. I can wash dishes thinking of my regrets about the past or my fears about the future, or I can simply be in the moment of warm water and clean dishes. I can clean my house with an experience of drudgery or I can remember that I am High Priestess of the sacred place of my home. I can roll my eyes when my partner speaks because I think I know what is coming. Or, I can see my partner and listen to my partner as the God-spark that she is.
Not practicing mindfulness often results in a focus on the past or the future. The beautiful moments of NOW are missed. Connection and intimacy only happen in the NOW. Not practicing mindfulness also creates space for resentment and anxiety.
Curiosity is openness to learning. Curiosity involves a suspending of judgment and letting go of certainty. With an attitude of curiosity, we can look without judgment at what is happening, and at what we are thinking and feeling. We can wonder about what is happening in an experience or in the mind of another person. When I am curious, I am truly open to see, hear and experience what or who is present in the moment. I am open to new information, aware of multiple perspectives, and ready to be surprised.
Not practicing curiosity leaves us caught in our judgments. When we are judging, we cannot create connection and intimacy. When we are not practicing curiosity, we are closed to new information and new awareness and we have a false sense of certainty or even self-righteousness.
Reflection involves conscious learning from what my curious mind observes. Reflection involves seeking to understand myself ever more deeply and to own all parts of myself. Reflecting on and narrating my life (by keeping a journal or talking with someone) brings clarity, wholeness and healing.
Not practicing reflection keeps us stuck in old ways, not understanding how we can create what we desire in ourselves or in our relationship.
Authenticity is about being real. Living authentically involves knowing who I am, what I love, what my values are, and what my desires are. The more I understand myself, the more I am able to live authentically, being deeply honest with others and with myself.
Not living authentically leaves us disconnected from ourselves and from others. We must know, value and express ourselves in order to experience intimacy. When we are dishonest, we break trust and connection.
Connection, as a spiritual practice, involves living in conscious awareness that all is one. We are connected with, at one with, others and the Universe. We can live in an awareness of the oneness.
Not practicing connection, not living in awareness of our oneness, leaves us feeling separated and alone. When we feel separated and alone, we may shut down, or we may desperately and ineffectively seek connection.
Kindness comes from understanding our connection with others and with the Universe. We experience and express compassion for others and for ourselves. Kindness involves bringing love to each person, each situation, that we encounter. When are compassionate, we allow ourselves to be touched by others.
When we lack compassion, or behave unkindly, we close our hearts and build walls. We increase our sense of ourselves as separate from those around us.
Gratitude involves being conscious and expressive of our thankful appreciation for all that comes our way.
Not practicing gratitude leaves space for negativity, regret and bitterness.
For more about Creating Passionate and Enduring Relationships, read: