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Old 01-14-2015, 12:04 PM
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CarsonZi CarsonZi is offline
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Default Polyamory as a modality for spiritual growth

I'm curious to know if others here are using their poly lifestyle as modality for self-realization.

Having spent a significant amount of time and effort earlier in life trying to "achieve enlightenment" (through religion, psychedelics, music, yoga, meditation, tantra, regularly inducing near-death-experiences and more) I'm now coming to understand exactly how potent being in a poly relationship is for personal/spiritual growth.

It actually reminds me very much of a process/system called "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. The process is to use a specific breathing practice and set of mantras to induce a state of being that is prone to emotional reactions, with the intention being to learn NOT to react to emotions instinctually but instead learn to sit with difficult emotions, breath through them, and let them dissipate as they will in their own time (a "this too shall pass" type of thing). What seems to result when an emotion is successfully "sat through" is that the emotion either stops surfacing, doesn't hold nearly as much emotional charge, or the ability to respond instead of react becomes possible.

My wife and I attempted to live a poly formatted marriage about 5 years ago, and we failed miserably... 100% my fault and I've learned many lessons from that attempt. After letting go of trying to steer our relationship in any specific direction we have now found ourselves at a place where we are both 100% wanting to have an open marriage and have jumped head first down the rabbit hole so-to-speak.

Having done this we are both now coming to see just how valuable this experience is to our spiritual growth. Being able to confront our collective conditioning as well as our own individual conditioning (which is stirred up by the emotions that surface as we begin to develop relationships outside of our marriage), while simultaneously being able to lovingly supporting each other, seems to be one of the most effective ways of learning to get over our own shit we have ever experienced.

Just curious to hear if anyone else resonates with this or not.

Love,
Carson
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:10 PM
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Every relationship - whether poly or mono, romantic or platonic - is a learning opportunity for self-growth. That is why we are not alone here on the planet. it is through others that we learn about ourselves, and if we pay attention to the dynamics we create, we will have a lot to learn. Polyamory shouldn't be up on a pedestal above other approaches or types.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:45 PM
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Hi nycindie,

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Every relationship - whether poly or mono, romantic or platonic - is a learning opportunity for self-growth. That is why we are not alone here on the planet.
Yes, of course. Every relationship is without a doubt an opportunity to learn about yourself. So is every moment if you are attentive enough. I was more meaning to ask whether or not there were other people here who were using a poly relationship to purposefully seek out their hangups and learn to work through them. This may only be applicable to new poly relationships, I'm not sure. I probably should have phrased my post better... my apologies.

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
it is through others that we learn about ourselves, and if we pay attention to the dynamics we create, we will have a lot to learn.
There are lots of modalities for learning about ourselves. But I've never met of anyone who was using their poly relationships as an active way to seek out and work through their perception and ideological blockages.

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Polyamory shouldn't be up on a pedestal above other approaches or types.
Fuckin' amen to that! Not saying that poly is better than any other modality... in fact, in my circle I got completely shit on for proposing this. Just wondering if anyone else is doing this is all. I'm new here... forgive me if I stumble my way around a bit.

Love,
Carson

P.S. I should probably mention that being poly isn't something I am "trying." I've been poly my entire life. Never knew there was a name for it until a few years ago. This is my first time being in a successful poly relationship though which is why this is something I am inquiring into.

Last edited by CarsonZi; 01-14-2015 at 02:54 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:48 PM
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Hi Carson,

Re (from CarsonZi):
Quote:
"I'm curious to know if others here are using their poly lifestyle as modality for self-realization."
Self-realization is a process I hope to experience through each hour of each day, and if poly is a part of my day, then it plays its own role in that process. I find that posting on the forum also helps me with the process.

Polyamory is certainly a good way to "splash cold water" on the old programming that we're so comfortable with. It challenges many of the standard assumptions.

Re (from CarsonZi):
Quote:
"I was more meaning to ask whether or not there were other people here who were using a poly relationship to purposefully seek out their hangups and learn to work through them."
Heh, I am seldom one to seek new ways to discover my hangups; I embraced polyamory as a solution to a simple problem: What do I do if I fall in love with another man's wife? The discovery and processing of personal hangups was merely part of the price of admission.

To put all that in context though, I am an atheist and don't usually concern myself much with spiritual development. Asking me the same questions 20 years ago might have generated significantly different answers -- though I didn't even know about polyamory back then.
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Old 01-14-2015, 08:23 PM
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I suppose that entering into a poly relationship could reveal relationships areas needing work and growth, particularly involving jealousy, possessiveness, control, and acceptance.

We did not experience many of these concerns in our first poly relationship, as for some reason it was quite easy - perhaps we were all just particularly compatible. However, a few years later we decided to explore swinging, and there we found some areas (minor jealousies) that came to light, and provided us an opportunity to work and grow to overcome them.

So, I think any new relationship scenario can provide opportunities for self-examination and growth - whether you'd deem them "spiritual" is perhaps a personal classification.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:46 AM
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CarsonZi CarsonZi is offline
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Hi kdt26417,

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Self-realization is a process I hope to experience through each hour of each day, and if poly is a part of my day, then it plays its own role in that process. I find that posting on the forum also helps me with the process.
I agree. Talking about things, whether on a forum or in person, helps me with integrating and processing as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Polyamory is certainly a good way to "splash cold water" on the old programming that we're so comfortable with.
Totally... this is exactly what I'm talking about. For example, I had quite a severe emotional reaction today when my wife told me that she was hoping to go out for drinks with someone this evening (we have to be on the same page regarding scheduling as we have two younger kids that require consideration as well). The emotional reaction completely caught me offguard, and to be honest, had me entirely irritated with myself as I thought I had already addressed and accepted it. So I found myself having to identify what the emotion was that I was feeling, figure out what was triggering that emotion (almost always a past trauma/unquestioned belief) and sit with it and try not to externalize it. I failed miserably today. I became emotionally reactive and closed off and angry. It took several hours for me to work through my shit, apologize and open up again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Heh, I am seldom one to seek new ways to discover my hangups; I embraced polyamory as a solution to a simple problem: What do I do if I fall in love with another man's wife? The discovery and processing of personal hangups was merely part of the price of admission.
Yes, I'm sure that what brings someone to a poly lifestyle and how they deal with the emotions that arise is going to be mostly individual. For me, being poly has never been a decision, it's just been the way I'm wired. How I have dealt with this in the past has, in general, been like a complete douchecanoe, but I'm hoping that I can learn from my previous mistakes and use this as an opportunity to become a better person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
To put all that in context though, I am an atheist and don't usually concern myself much with spiritual development. Asking me the same questions 20 years ago might have generated significantly different answers -- though I didn't even know about polyamory back then.
I'm technically an atheist too as I don't believe in "God." But I don't think that means that I can't concern myself with spiritual development. I think that the definition of "God" has been usurped and should be taken back. To me, "God" is nothing more than Life itself.

It may take me a while to get used to the "environment" here, and I apologize for that. I am a long time participant of a large online yoga/meditation/tantra community and that is really my only exposure to online forums. I sometimes forget that phrases like "self-realization" means different things to different people. In the yoga community I'm referring to, self-realization is synonymous with enlightenment and enlightenment is generally defined as having a silent mind and a body that is "lit up" with ecstatic energy. So when I ask shit like "are others here using their poly lifestyle as a modality for self-realization" I'm sort of wondering if anyone here is actively trying to use the emotional turmoil that can be triggered by (perhaps only newly) poly relationships to make the mind quieter and less reactive. For me, I have been dedicated to shining a light into all the dark corners of my soul, using whatever tools I can find, since I was very young. I didn't intend to use being poly like this, it just seems impossible for me not to at this point.

Love,
Carson

Last edited by CarsonZi; 01-15-2015 at 06:49 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:24 AM
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Hi central,

Quote:
Originally Posted by central View Post
I suppose that entering into a poly relationship could reveal relationships areas needing work and growth, particularly involving jealousy, possessiveness, control, and acceptance.
That's definitely what I'm finding. I found out today that I still have active insecurity issues stemming from a previous relationship. I totally thought I had already worked through it all and that I was completely okay with being alone should that be what happens, but apparently not. More work to do for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by central View Post
We did not experience many of these concerns in our first poly relationship, as for some reason it was quite easy - perhaps we were all just particularly compatible. However, a few years later we decided to explore swinging, and there we found some areas (minor jealousies) that came to light, and provided us an opportunity to work and grow to overcome them.
We've been exploring swinging a bit as well and I can see how, even when the connection is mainly sexually oriented, there is still personal conditioning that can be highlighted. I find myself having to face performance anxiety issues as well as stuff regarding sexual desirability. This doesn't seem to be highlighted as much in poly relationships where sex is just an extension of a deep emotional connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by central View Post
So, I think any new relationship scenario can provide opportunities for self-examination and growth - whether you'd deem them "spiritual" is perhaps a personal classification.
Yes, just like the word "God," how someone defines "spiritual" is going to be entirely individual.

There's a saying that goes; "words are but symbols of symbols, thus twice removed from reality." Words are always open to interpretation and are never heard exactly the way they are said... there's always personal conditioning that is flavoring the interpretation. Turns out though, we're in luck!! Polyamory seems to be a good way of unwinding that personal conditioning so that we can relate on increasingly deep levels without having to rely on shitty words, hahaha.

Love,
Carson
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:18 PM
central central is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsonZi View Post
We've been exploring swinging a bit as well and I can see how, even when the connection is mainly sexually oriented, there is still personal conditioning that can be highlighted. I find myself having to face performance anxiety issues as well as stuff regarding sexual desirability. This doesn't seem to be highlighted as much in poly relationships where sex is just an extension of a deep emotional connection.
Perhaps swinging is like poly kindergarten. You get to explore and discover some issues - and hopefully deal with them - without having them disrupt a more meaningful and significant (i.e., poly) relationship.
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Old 01-15-2015, 08:27 PM
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Re (from CarsonZi):
Quote:
"To me, 'God' is nothing more than Life itself."
Ah, then technically, our belief systems are compatible.

Re:
Quote:
"So when I ask shit like, 'Are others here using their poly lifestyle as a modality for self-realization?' I'm sort of wondering if anyone here is actively trying to use the emotional turmoil that can be triggered by (perhaps only newly) poly relationships to make the mind quieter and less reactive."
Ah, you speak of poly (and its impact on the mind) as a meditative tool. While I don't go in for "the silence of the mind," I do favor "peace of mind." Which is perhaps a way of saying I'm too lazy to meditate. I sleep a lot though.

Re:
Quote:
"For me, I have been dedicated to shining a light into all the dark corners of my soul, using whatever tools I can find, since I was very young."
Most of us find the dark basements of our souls too ominous to venture into. Old, dark, creaking steps ... infested with cobwebs.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:52 PM
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CarsonZi CarsonZi is offline
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Hi Central,

Quote:
Originally Posted by central View Post
Perhaps swinging is like poly kindergarten. You get to explore and discover some issues - and hopefully deal with them - without having them disrupt a more meaningful and significant (i.e., poly) relationship.
That is sort of how it feels to me. The conditioning that is related to sexual (only) relationships seems to be more superficial than the conditioning that is triggered when engaging in multiple emotional relationships.

After exploring the idea of swinging I have come to realize that this is not something I am particularly interested in personally. My wife is slightly more interested than I, but neither of us are particularly interested in sex without a deeper emotional connection. Casual sex doesn't seem to be something we are particularly drawn to.

Love,
Carson
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