Can Spirituality And God Help Relationships & Our Sex Life?
By Penny Cohen, LCSW
In order to discuss the topic of spirituality and God and whether they can help relationships, I need to give my interpretation of both. To me spirituality is not about religion, alchemy, astrology, tarot or numerology. It’s not even about experiencing ESP, mental telepathy, or having visions - although these innate talents often emerge. More importantly, it’s about becoming a good soul, living with an open heart, knowing one’s Self and living with meaning, passion, purpose and compassion.
Furthermore, God, to me is not the God of the bible who watches over to reward and punish. It’s a force of energy; our life force that incorporates the oneness and consciousness of us all. And, as Einstein said, "My conception of God is an emotional conviction of a superior intelligence manifest in the material world." I think of God as the love and wisdom of us all.
That being said, how can spirituality and God help in relationships?
It allows us to avail ourselves of states of love and wisdom that prompt us to be with each other and treat each other from a place of unconditional love, passion and compassion and in our primary relationship it can help us experience deep erotic intimacy.
These divine forces are inside us and around us. When we open our hearts to receive more love and wisdom, these energies radiate out to others. When they are received and shared with another there’s a feeling of connection, oneness and intimacy. In the act of lovemaking it’s reaching states beyond the physical of two souls merging in deep intimacy, ecstasy and bliss. Like Adam And Eve in the Garden of Eden in pure consciousness before being clothed in “animal skin.” You feel like you’re in the womb of Divine love together. It’s heavenly. When your two erotic essences merge in oneness you realize the sacred is the sexiest thing imaginable.
Reaching these states takes time, patience and practice. It’s learning how to live with spiritual qualities.
Spiritual qualities include the following:
inner peace and belief in a higher power
self sufficiency and trust in a Higher Self
compassion and tolerance
justice and restraint
unconditional love, loving-kindness and grace
understanding of purpose and vision
wisdom and prophecy
oneness and will
How does this pertain to relationships?
We come together to be coaches and lovers for each other to learn divine lessons and live with these divine qualities. I believe we all have an inner craving to live with love, meaning and purpose. We want to feel significant, important and make a difference. And it begins with our primary relationships.
When coupling, we are attracted to each other because of images we have in our minds about what a relationship looks like and in our hearts of what it feels like. The main attraction is the underlying unfinished business we have with one parent or sometimes a collaborative of both our parents. We are here to heal these unfinished issues where love was lacking. And although our partner may not look like our parent, or act like one, there is an underlying energy vibration that is similar and needs to be healed. People come together to help each other accomplish that.
We are mirror reflections of each other’s inner meanderings, voices, visions, thoughts and feelings. And, everyone in our lives and how we treat others and they treat us is a reflection of our relationship to the divine and our higher Self.
An axiom I teach and preach is that whatever we judge in another is something that is unresolved within ourselves and separates us from the Divine.
For example I have a lot of women coming to me complaining that their mates are emotionally unavailable. The women believe they themselves are – but they really aren’t truly emotionally available either. Women may act out their emotions more than their partners by crying, yelling, wining, and nagging but they are still not dealing with or feeling their own core feelings in order to process them internally and free them. Unconsciously they want their partners to help do that for them – so they can feel better. And when they don’t, look out – of course their partners are seen as being emotionally unavailable.
Ironically when I ran my first workshop on Marital Strife To Intimacy For Men Only
I told them it was the first time I was doing this for men only and I was going to “wing it.” I added, “Us women know what you men want. I’m here to teach you what women want.”
One man asked rather cunningly, “What do they want?”
I said quite frankly, “They want you to help them identify and feel their feelings with them, understand where they are coming from and validate and empathize with them. And they want you to support them in living with meaning and purpose. They want you to be their coach and help them feel better.”
He responded rather glibly, “I thought that’s what they have girlfriend’s for!!!”
Need I say more?
In the 1970’s Morton Hunt, a former prominent researcher on marriage said, “A healthy relationship is mutual psychotherapy.” At that time therapy involved analyzing each other. That could be disastrous to a relationship. It’s like saying, “I know what’s wrong with you.” I’d rather think of it as being love coaches for each other. What does a love coach do? A love coach listens, connects, validates, empathizes, and offers inspirational feedback, and support. And, hopefully the lovemaking is left to the individuals and their partners, unless you are mates.
As mates, in order to be effective love coaches for each other we need to listen with an open heart, a deeply feeling soul and a compassionate presence. Therefore, we need to work on our own issues of defensiveness, confrontiveness, impatience, intolerance, unforgivingness, being compassionless , controlling, and needy. And, most importantly, we need to overcome our fear of intimacy. This we can do on our own by looking into ourselves, our attitudes and our unruly behaviors and open to our own divine love. Yes, love is Self imposed.
To go deep into ourselves we need to let go of a great deal of baggage. As a great sage once said, “Greatness is not measured by what we accomplish but by what we’ve learned to overcome.”
What we need to overcome are our old ways of dealing with people which are based on beliefs and feelings we had in childhood and decisions we made about how we would live our lives. These are either in agreement or the opposite to the way we were treated by our caretakers, parents, siblings, teachers, friends and the images of how we witnessed our parents relating and communicating. We have to break from these patterns and decisions, which means we have to break from the “old umbilical cord” – the ancestral influences and familial attractions, attachments, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions that run in our heads and rule our lives. The goals are to become self-led, self-motivated, self-loved, and self-kind. And kindly, collaborative and cooperative with others.
To accomplish these traits it helps to open to a “new umbilical cord;” our own connection with our Higher Self and divine love and wisdom. That’s where the spiritual and God come into play. By opening to our own umbilical cord we become autonomous, spontaneous and free. Coming from divine love and wisdom there are no dysfunctional patterns, no demeaning voices, no self-putdowns and certainly no self-doubts, fears, anxieties. There is only love, wisdom and compassion. And when we come from that love the right words, attitudes and actions shine through automatically. Communication techniques are unnecessary because the words come out naturally effectively without an attitude – even when setting boundaries or saying no.
That being said, when we are not in that open loving state we can still learn techniques to identify and spontaneously release the emotional charges, come from our innate wisdom and love and treat each other lovingly and help another do the same.
The challenge of letting go of the old umbilical cord and opening to the new one takes a lot of patience and practice. Enlightenment is not an end result. It’s a daily practice of letting go and opening to the flow. It means processing our thoughts, feelings, speech and actions and always opening to love daily and even throughout the day. In that state of love we feel calm, confident, and connected to source which reflects in our connection to others.
When we let go of our own emotional charges and open to love we have the fortitude to truly be with another with heart, soul, and compassion. When we listen, reflect, validate and empathize (by feeling our partner’s feelings with them) that’s when there’s a feeling of oneness and connection. Your mate truly feels like he or she has been heard, understood, and believes, “You ‘get’ me.”.” When people feel heard, validated and at one with another in empathy they melt into their own truth and experience that deeper love.
To take this a step further, in romantic relationships, and in the act of lovemaking when two people are in that state of divine love together there is ecstasy and bliss. Sex in this way is more commonly known as sacred sexuality.
Sacred Sexuality and Making The Sacred Sexy
The term sacred sexuality is used often by sex and couples psychotherapists and in particular tantra yoga teachers for feeling the eroticism of sexuality. The connotation is sex is sensual and sexy and should be sacred. I’d like to see it as making the sacred sexy. As a matter of fact sacred sexiness is the foundation of healthy erotic sex. Sacred sexiness is bringing the divine into the act of having sex – or a term I prefer to use is lovemaking, or even better, love receiving.
When two people bring the divine into their lovemeaking, and receive each others love, lovemaking is sublime.
So can spirituality and God help relationships and sex?
Only if we can accept the sacred as sexy. After all, creation began with the blast of energies that resulted in the ultimate orgasm of the big bang, which culminated in creation and many births. When we allow ourselves to merge with those original energies and experience the sexiness of the sacred, sex is erotic. We come from our erotic essence.
How do we experience our erotic essence?
We experience our erotic essence when we allow waves of higher vibrations to pass through us. These include higher vibrations of love, sensuality, creativity, ecstasy and total emergence in oneness.
Many people are closed off from this intimacy with these sublime energies because the vibrations are extremely high, strong and raw. We’re not accustomed to these sensations piercing through us. And often when we do allow them in it’s almost impossible to sustain them. And, in actuality we can’t sustain them because then they will become stagnant. Instead we can channel them in a cycle of receiving and sharing.
Working with a client during a relaxation visualization exercise I had her visualize a brilliant light above her head and experience a warmth of love. I suggested bringing it into her head, and then expanding it into her heart. After a minute or so she said she was beginning to feel pins and needles on her skin. And then she shuddered and opened her eyes, “Wow, that was scary,” she said,” shaking her head in disbelief. “The energy was too strong for me. I couldn’t handle it. It made me nervous.”
Another client wanted to open to his creative self. I did the same exercise and suggested bringing in the light and warmth of love. When he relaxed into it he said, “It feels so peaceful.” When he got even deeper and allowed even more in he said, “It’s getting stronger. It’s so powerful.” He hesitated, “It feels like my own power.” He sat a little longer and then said in awe, “I’m resisting it. I can’t believe I’m afraid of my own power.”
Another client on the verge of divorce came in with her husband. Over a six-month period they learned how to communicate better, deal with the children better, and get along better. Yet, one day I received a call from the woman. She said, “We really are doing so much better with communicating and getting along, but we’re like brother and sister. The passion is gone.”
I had her come in and we did a visualization exercise to open to the divine, let her experience the passion of divine light and love and send it to him and to allow herself to experience receiving his love as well.
She learned how to open to and receive the passion of the divine on her own and radiate it out. At home, as she later reported, he actually apparently melted in the energy and learned to respond in kind.
They both came in together a month later and she had a big smirk on her face. “The exercise worked. We’re passionately pregnant.”
We can learn how to open to these energies when we meditate. However, it’s more challenging to maintain these higher Divine energies in daily life by the way we relate to each other and listen and communicate our needs, desires, and nurturances. When we relate through love even in the most challenging situations, we feel connected and our relationship and lovemaking get better and better. Lovemaking turns into love receiving and bliss.
I’d like to leave you with one of my recent Facebook Posts: To be "In love," it takes excitement, mystery, and surprise. When we are each connected to our own truth there is magic because we are engaged with the mystery of life. So just remember to stay “in the mystery, in love, and remain exciting.”~pc~
Much love, peace, passion and purpose,