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Lions Roar : September 2017
W E WOULD ALL LIKE TO HAVE healthy, satisfying relationships in our lives. But the truth is that everyone has a hard time with inti- mate partnerships. The poet Rilke understood just how challenging they could be when he penned his classic statement, “For one per- son 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 speak- ing 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. 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. The awakening happens, says psychologist John Welwood, right in the charnel ground of our delusions. Left, and detail on page 62: Smashana Adipati, Lords of the Charnel Ground, in the form of two skeletons, Tibet, fifteenth century. RUBINMUSEUMOFARTF1996.16.5(HAR462) JOHN WELWOOD, Ph D, is a leader in the field of transpersonal psychology. He leads workshops on psychospiritual work and conscious relationship and is the author of such important works as Love and Awakening, Journey of the Heart, and Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2017 61