Navigating Your Relationship
An Interview with Deepak Chopra
By Randy Peyser
An outstanding figure in the field of consciousness and spirituality, Deepak Chopra is the author of “The Path of Love,” “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” and twenty other books, including the newly-released, “Peace is the Way.” Prior to this interview, I invited people from around the country to send me their most burning questions about their relationship issues. The following interview is based on the responses I received, in addition to the questions I posed to Deepak as well. Perhaps you will recognize yourself in some of these scenarios...
Randy Peyser: Whether individuals are stymied by their inability to choose a compatible partner have issues around jealousy, or experience other trying patterns when it comes to relationships, you propose an exercise in your book, “The Path to Love,” in which you invite readers to “make a soul bargain with Love in order to align themselves with Love.”
As part of this exercise, you encourage readers to make a list of “everything they want from Love,” stating that “if Love is a real force,” and “if Love is attuned to who you are, Love will respond.” Can you talk about this process?
Deepak Chopra: At the Chopra Center, we begin each day with meditation. Prior to meditating we ask people to still themselves, then gently and innocently ask themselves the question: “What do I want?” As they answer this question, they will be placing their intentions into their subconscious mind and soul.
We can do this exercise by defining love, by asking what we can get out of love, but also in a greater context, what we can get out of life. We can ask ourselves questions that are of a romantic context, emotional context, or physical context, and embed these intentions like seeds in the fertile soil of the subconscious.
Vedic Scripture reveals that we have total control over our actions and no control over the fruits of those actions. After placing our pure intentions so deeply within our souls, we let go of the outcome and leave it up to the Universe. However, the seed has been planted, and when we drift into that place of stillness and silence — which is referred to as “the gap” — the seeds of the subconscious speak directly to the universal consciousness.
This exercise is incredibly powerful and allows individuals to manifest their deepest desires for love, relationship and life.
A man in his 30’s: I’m in a relationship that is convenient, but there is no passion, and my interest has waned. There are times when I just want to be alone. I could be happy for days at a time not having to share my space and energy with anyone! How can we let others know this without creating drama in them? (Or maybe that’s just a note to myself saying, “Don’t date women who love drama!”) How can I overcome my ambivalence about this relationship? Obviously, I haven’t left it, but I’m not really getting much out of it.
Deepak: You use the word ‘convenience,’ but what is convenience if not having every fiber in your body touched by the timeless gifts of passion and love? Passion is not only one of the greatest gifts of life, but one of the strongest bonds of a relationship.
In the early stages of a relationship, we experience attraction and infatuation. The passion born out of those stages can be intoxicating. As Rumi said, “If infatuation is madness, then I want to be crazy.”
There is a difference between loneliness and aloneness. Being alone is a wonderful experience. It is a self-affirming action because it heralds our love of self, and therefore, our understanding of our purposewithin the divine. It seems to me that your question is one of conscious communication.
It is restorative to our souls to spend time alone. Certainly in our morning and evening meditations as we drift into the stillness and silence, we reconfirm not only our singleness, but also our universality. I consider relationships to be one of the most important aspects of being, as all relationships are mirrors of our selves.
This may be a pertinent time to explore your intentions, desires, and how you can intuitively and spontaneously fulfill them. By working with your intentions and desires, you will be able to manifest an environment that contains the flexibility to meet your needs.
Randy: You describe ecstasy as a “shift of perception where direct contact with spirit is made.” You further say that “ecstasy is the release of individuality back into wholeness,” and that “whatever brings you closer to wholeness brings you closer to ecstasy.” How can we achieve this kind of ecstasy within our relationships?
Deepak: Ecstasy is about bringing heaven to earth. Achieving ecstasy is not beyond our reach. When we bring ourselves into a state of present moment awareness, we allow the divine within us to establish what can be referred to as an ecstasy that weaves through every moment of our waking life when we are not meditating. If one is able to tap into the divine energy of the present moment, it is not uncommon to live one’s entire life without regret or expectation.
The ecstasy of meditation, which is restful awareness, is not achieved through meditation, but rather, when one brings stillness and silence into their daily existence.
The 5000-year-old science of life known as Ayurveda, founded in ancient India, has as its cornerstone the oneness that exists within all things. It is by tapping into that wholeness that is essential to the world through Ayurveda that we bring heaven to earth.
We can achieve ecstasy within our relationships when we intuitively and innocently understand we are all the same; we are simply wearing different disguises. The more we are willing to step into a universal consciousness with our partner, the more we can shift our attention from the “I/Me” to the “Us/We.”
As a relationship unfolds from a point of oneness, the boundlessness of the ego, as well as possessiveness and fear, are replaced by selfless love, appreciation and grace. Then each moment becomes an opportunity for ecstasy. Layers of our disguise naturally slip away and all we are left with is one soul consciousness communicating with another, acknowledging the sanctity of their oneness. From a pure heart anything can be accomplished.
A woman in her early ‘40’s: My partner and I are learning that anger is always wrong and demanding. So we are making the choice to not be angry with each other, and talk things out instead. The problem is that my husband assumes I am thinking or feeling something I am not; then he judges me based on his assumptions. How should I react when he is judging me so that I am not in anger mode, but coming from a place of understanding?
Deepak: In our “Healing the Heart” workshop, we teach a process developed by Marshall Ros-enberg in which the participants learn the tools for conscious and non-violent communication. Using his techniques, we focus on our observations, (meaning what we are observing), rather than on creating evaluations, (meaning what we could be evaluating or judging). In addition, we clearly express our needs to those with whom we live, work and interact.
On the other hand, I also encourage people to feel comfortable with their
emotions and express them when they arise so they do not become bottled up,
resulting in ‘dis-ease.’
If you truly feel angry, honor that anger and cry or yell (not at that person), but as an _expression to better understand your emotions. Think of how you would feel if you were hanging a painting and hit your finger while putting the nail in the wall. You might shout or cry to vent the pain, but you would not turn your aggression against the hammer.
So the next time you feel frustrated that your partner is not meeting your needs, do not assume, but rather, gently ask him, “What need of yours is not being met? Then follow that by asking, “What can I do to help you meet that need?”
This very first step will help to ease tension and create an environment where the two of you will have a better understanding about the tools for conscious communication.
Randy: You state that “only when Shiva and Shakti are married within you will you be able to enter a sacred marriage with someone else.” Can you explain the concept of sacred marriage? What does a sacred marriage entail?
Deepak: Only when Shiva and Shakti are married within you are you ready to enter “a sacred Marriage.” Shiva is silence. Shakti is power. Shiva is creativity. Shakti is creation. Shiva is love. For union to be whole, these two energies must exist.
Power is complemented
Strength is complemented
Passion is complemented
This union is the highest we can espouse in a holistic and universal context.
Many women come to the Chopra Center to explore their Shakti side and incorporate more of Shiva’s energy in their souls. Through Vedic meditation and exercises, they learn to intuitively recognize the sacred marriage within them.
Randy: You encourage coup-les to write sutras regarding what they have learned about love, and you give examples of sutras you have written. Can you please explain what sutras are?
Deepak: “Sutra” is Sanskrit for “stitch” or “suture.” As in medical science, a suture connects two things. We link these stitches by connecting them to a powerful affirmation. For example:
“From a pure heart
anything can be accomplished.
If you ask what the Universe
It is eavesdropping
on your every desire.”
This is a sutra in which you are actually communicating with the Universe. This dialogue not only weaves healing and transformational threads, but also acts as a connecter between our physical state and that of divine spirit. By writing sutras, you can learn to innocently blend your deepest intentions with the universal consciousness.
A woman in her 40’s: When my partner and I keep a common vision, it lights us both up and we are happier. Our problem, though, is about communicating in a way that we understand one another. My question is “What new, creative questions can I ask myself to get to the heart of any issue? I would like to hear something besides what I ask myself currently, which is “What do I need right now?”
Deepak: As I mentioned earlier, we teach principles of consciousness communication, which pays tribute to the work of Marshall Rosenberg, called Non-Violent Communication. From his perspective, a question that is often overlooked when there seems to be discontent or stress in a relationship is “What actually just happened?”
So often, we find ourselves unable to solve or evolve in our current situation because we are steeped in blame, accusation and defense of our position. Asking ourselves what just happened in a conversation, interaction or experience allows us to look at a situation clearly and objectively, and pierce the drama and baggage that often accompanies miscommunication.
Ninety-five percent of the problems in relationships exist because of lapses in communication. The communication between two people in a relationship can evolve and grow exponentially when both people make a commitment to communicate by using the kinds of principles that Marshall Rosenberg offers.
The next time your partner seems to have you at wit’s end, simply ask yourself, “What happened here?” Then ask, “How can I selflessly, defenselessly, and compassionately take the relationship to a higher level?
What better way to uplift your relationship, or to heal a heavy heart, than by spending a week with Deepak in exploration of your inner process? Accompanied by Dr. David Simon, Deepak offers a six-day meditation retreat called, “Seduction of Spirit,” in which seekers have “an opportunity to tap into divine ecstasy through the time-tested process of weaving the Seven Spiritual Laws into their lives. Attendees learn to touch their own divine consciousness, and are also taught advanced meditation techniques.”
Other classes at the Chopra Center include a “SynchroDestiny” workshop in which participants learn how to work with intentions in order to manifest their desires, and a “Healing the Heart” workshop in which individuals and couples are taught the principles of conscious, non-violent communication.
For further information, please visit: www.chopra.com.
Randy Peyser is the author of Crappy to Happy, available at www.randypeyser.com.
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