Relationship as Spiritual Practice
This excerpt from a book was in my FB news feed this morning and I think it expresses how I feel very accurately, and I think Poly as a relationship structure is very conducive to being in relationship as a "spiritual practice" because of the work it forces you to do in controlling your ego.
In most traditional societies, the relationship between married people was dictated, down to the smallest details of their daily interactions, by religion, custom, and communal opinion. Throughout medieval Europe, personal feelings and individual preferences counted for so little that arranged marriages were quite common, as they still are today in parts of Asia.
The primary purpose of family life was survival, not the spiritual growth of individual family members. If someone wanted to devote her time to spiritual practice, she had to become a nun, which meant forfeiting marriage. Even the Indian priestesses, who were allowed to take lovers, were not allowed to marry. As a result, the path of partnership and the path of the priestess remained separate.
Today our situation is different. Almost unnoticed, a great change has swept over our approach to marriage. More and more people are giving their spirituality the kind of intense attention traditionally associated with monastic life, and yet they are not monastics but lovers, husbands, wives, and professionals.
Today many of us are attempting to merge two formerly separate ways of life -- the path of marriage and the path of spiritual dedication. This is not just a question of making time for solitary spiritual practice, as well as time to spend with our mate. Rather, more and more people are realizing that learning to love their mate intimately and honestly is their spiritual practice; the two are not separate.
Dealing with the complexities of our psyche is no longer just a psychological imperative but above all a spiritual one, and committed relationships provide the most radical way of meeting it. As a form of spiritual practice, relationship practice engages and transforms the ego more radically than any other discipline.
Therefore, sexual relationships have become the primary training ground for individuals who are seeking to develop a high degree of psychological maturity and are willing to undergo intensive personal transformation.
- Jalaja Bonheim, excerpt from "Aphrodite's Daughter's: Women's Sexual Stories and the Journeys of the Soul"
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."