Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reading about the New Paradigm for Loving and Conscious Relating

The nude meditations have been going well the last few weeks. I plan to continue them into the future, they really are kind of addictive, in a good, natural sort of way, not like donuts, coffee, or speeding in your car. The connection or perhaps "disconnection" has become more apparent. By this I mean the connections between "me" and "my thoughts". Each day I try to unravel the mind, make it easier for it to function. I have been doing this by creating a space or disconnect between the self that just experiences and the self that thinks or problem solves. It has been slow, but very rewarding spiritual work.

I had a great image come to mind the other day during meditation. It was a bright sunny day and I was looking at the sun dance off of a lawn of tall green grass. I imagined that the dragonflies landing on the blades of grass were my thoughts, and that the grass itself was my subconscious mind. I stayed focused on the grass swaying in the breeze, catching the sunlight. I was aware of the dragonflies as they landed (aka my thoughts), but I didn't try to hold onto them in my mind, I just let them fly away, come and go, and I kept my mind on the grass itself. It was later that I realized the soil beneath the grass was my unconscious, bringing my most deeply felt emotions to life.

I have been reading about this concept called "new paradigm relating". As defined by Deborah Anapol, it is "a philosophy of relationship which emphasizes using the relationship to consciously enhance the psychological and spiritual development of the partners. New Paradigm relating is characterized by responding authentically in the present moment, honoring individual autonomy, equality, total honesty, and self responsibility." This is as opposed to the more familiar type of relationship we all probably grew up in, or "old paradigm relating". This she defines as "a philosophy of relationship which emphasizes well defined rules, extensive agreements, ironclad conditions, and the importance of the group over the individual. Usually involves a hierarchical power structure."

New paradigm relating just has different emphases on different certain things, as opposed to other types of relating. I think that the things stressed in new paradigm are very important for personal growth. One of the things stressed is non violent communication. In other words, let communication be. Don't force it. LISTEN. For me, it has been an eye opening experience to communicate so completely freely and non obstructively, just simply relating. This is a wonderful, simple, and empowering activity- not just communicating, but letting it flow where it may.

How do we get stuck with violent communication? In other words, why is FORCE applied in our everyday conversations? What about appeals to logic, reasoning, love, and empathy? I think violent communication is definitely a learned behavior, reinforced by our culture, and thus our society. I don't think there is any real valid excuse for continuing this sort of communication style. This would completely make sense if you were thinking of an "anti-war" or peace mentality vs. a "kill em all" "anything goes" mentality. Non violent communication is for personal relationships what peace is for global relations. How often during our daily lives do we push or be pushed by others? We're all adults now and don't really think too often in terms of bullying like we did when we all played in the sandbox. But it is totally obvious. We are still there in the sandbox, everyday! It's just kind of an undercurrent in our conversations: at work, at home, and even out with friends. How do you play? Do you play nice?

To take this a step further, how much bullying, aka violence, is socially acceptable? Is a hierarchical structured relationship inherently violent? If one person's needs are not being met, or even communicated, then isn't there probably the threat of violence holding them back? I think that it is the dance of the two (or more) people in the relationship that creates this kind of setup. This does not mean it is fair to both parties, it's just that they are both agreeing to create that dance, or that relationship together. When we begin to consider such things as equality, harmony, compassion, honesty, non violence, and personal growth, it is amazing how much we can change for the better in a relatively short period of time. Even more incredible, is how long we can keep creating change, how deep we can take these concepts. There seems to be no real limit to how deep love can travel inside of us. There appears to be no limit to how strong a connection can be made between friends or partners. The only limitations exist or once existed in our minds; they are inherently false. Once we come to understand our true nature, made up of love, harmony, and peace, then the false limitations will cease to exist for us.

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