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Lions Roar : November 2008
59 SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 WHILE MOST PEOPLE WOULD LIKE to have healthy, satisfying relationships in their lives, the truth is that everyone has a hard time with intimate partnerships. The poet Rilke understood just how challenging they could be when he penned his classic statement, “For one person to love another, this is the most difficult of all our tasks.” Rilke isn’t suggesting it’s hard to love or to have loving-kindness. Rather, he is speaking about how hard it is to keep loving someone we live with, day by day, year after year. After numerous hardships and failures, many people have given up on intimate relationship, regarding the relational terrain as so fraught with romantic illusion and emotional hazards that it is no longer worth the energy. Although modern relationships are particularly challenging, their very diffi- culty presents a special arena for personal and spiritual growth. To develop more conscious relationships requires becoming conversant with how three different dimensions of human existence play out within them: ego, person, and being. Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible Living with someone we love, with all its joys and challenges, is one of the best ways to grow spiritually. But real awakening only happens, says psychologist John Welwood, in the charnel ground where we acknowledge and work with our wounds, fears, and illusions. Left, and detail on page 62: The protector Shri Chitipati in the form of two skeletons, known as “The Glorious Lords of the Charnel Ground, Father and Mother,” Tibet, fifteenth century. (ITEMNO.462)COLLECTIONOFTHERUBINMUSEUMOFART(ACC.#F1996.16.5) NOV 58-63.indd 59 NOV 58-63.indd 59 9/1/08 12:22:12 PM 9/1/08 12:22:12 PM