by Mystic Life, Author of Spiritual Polyamory
I used to believe that the world would be a better place if everyone was polyamorous. Perhaps in a utopian world in which there was no ego, no fear, and no childhood wounds, that would be true. However, I’ve come to learn that people need to be where they’re at, and not push themselves beyond their personal boundaries in order to fit some ideal.
When I first moved from my home state of Michigan to Arizona, I lived with two lesbian women which was an eye opening experience given my sheltered, suburban background. It taught me a lot about diversity and accepting one’s self. With the particular women I lived with I found that when we watched TV together, or referenced mutual friends, they tended to think many of these people were secretly gay. In most cases I didn’t see any evidence of the people in question being gay, and felt that when a person feels in the minority, they often would like the majority to be like them. I went through a period like this with polyamory, in which I wanted everyone I knew to be like me. I can see now that this stemmed from insecurity and self-righteousness, and that over time I began to relax about paths that others choose.
At first I believed that people would be benefiting themselves and their partner’s growth if they forged ahead into polyamory despite any fears that came up. However, I can see now that my lust was much more present for me, and made the desire to be with someone new more of a pressing desire. In a loving relationship, I realized that it was important to take into account the other person’s feelings and sense of pacing, and would sometimes put a hold on any kind of expansion.
If someone feels a true need to be with more than one person, and their partner doesn’t, it may be best to leave the relationship. However, it’s important to take into consideration the overall quality of a relationship before sacrificing what is for something that could be. In other words, quality and depth of healing can outweigh quantity of partners.
I suggest that anyone who wishes to have more clarity on their current path ask themselves, “Is there any unfinished business with my family, friends, or other people in my past…and if those people are still alive, am I courageous enough to bring it up?”
In our socialized world of rituals such as birthdays and holidays, it’s tempting to avoid bringing up any past hurts because we’re tempted to make things comfortable. In a culture in which Facebook is becoming more popular, it’s tempting to “water down” what we share to the point where nobody in our “network” feels uncomfortable. However, if we don’t confront the pains of our past, they will play themselves out indefinitely in our present. I’ve witnessed first hand with myself and others how life becomes easier when we’ve directly dealt with the challenges and hurts we’ve felt with others. This is very scary because we risk losing relationships when we are honest and no longer suppress our feelings. Nevertheless I’m convinced that this is a necessary component to clearing up our minds, and living a life without drama (even though it may interrupt many holiday plans).
Carl Jung wrote that one of the greatest challenges in life was to overcome the “herd mystique” which is how I believe he described our impulse to be part of a tribe. I interpret his message to mean that although we are genetically programmed to feel safer with large numbers of people, self knowledge often comes at the expense of breaking away from groups. As Sting sang in his song, All This Time:
Men go crazy in congregations,
they only get better one by one.
Obviously, this applies to all genders. The important point is that by being honest with ourselves and others, the details all fall into place. Maybe you’ll lose relationships if you’re honest. Maybe you’ll deepen them. Regardless, you’ll become closer to yourself. I believe that living in truth and transparency literally raises our vibration so that we attract more enjoyable experiences in life.
Sociobiology states that the motivation for our behavior is to perpetuate our genes. Even if, as in my case, one is not drawn to having children, the behavior that leads to having children is still a central drive. I believe it is our tendency, but not our destiny to be driven by genetic concerns. As we deepen our connection to our spiritual purpose, we are less controlled by our biological drives.
On a global level, lessening our sociobiological tendencies can help reduce overpopulation which is the cause of so many threats to the planet’s balance. We’ve done a good job of populating the planet enough to survive disease, wars, etc. However, it’s now time as a species to work on dealing with our own emotional issues so that there is a greater chance of peaceful living. There are no “nations” other than artificial boundaries agreed upon by those with political and military power. There is only a collective of individuals, who are either at peace with themselves or not. The more individuals who work on themselves, the more peace there will be in the world.
We are taught that it is more noble to slay the dragons in the external world, to conquer and challenge ourselves to achieve greater accomplishments with our time. However, the greatest challenges are between one’s self and one’s ego. Sociobiological tendencies combined with ego can lead to a very unconscious life in which sexual experiences are prioritized above personal growth. Sexuality can be a healing force when combined with consciousness and a transparent relationship. Sexuality can also be a drive that keeps one from ever feeling at peace because of the genetic impulse to always need more, to never be satisfied.
The challenge for those exploring polyamory is to become clear about their own desire for more. Is it stemming from a feeling of “lack” in the current relationship? Is it an attempt to make one’s current relationship “work” despite dysfunctional dynamics? Or is stemming from a desire to expand upon what is already healthy and real?
Polyamory can be used as a rationalization for people with sexually compulsive behavior. Like any “movement” it contains a huge spectrum of people with a variety of different levels of awareness. I decided to use term “spiritual polyamory” to help define an approach to forming a bond with more than one person that is motivated by a desire for conscious growth as opposed to the sociobiological drive for “more” which never ends.
No matter what approach we find congruent for ourselves, I feel that it is important to respect the paths of others. This is a planet of diversity, and the more we can allow people to do what they feel driven to do (as long as it doesn’t hurt others) the more we can free up our own energy to focus on ourselves. I’ve heard from a couple different sources recently the idea that everyone is bisexual and if they’re not expressing that in physical form they’re denying their true nature. I don’t believe this is true. I believe it would be a mistake to force yourself into a form of intimacy that doesn’t feel congruent. Not everyone is straight, gay, bisexual, monogamous or polyamorous. Yet all of these groups have had members who purport their path to be the one true way. We need to transcend fixation upon form. There will never be a time in which all people are the same because we all come into the world with our own unique karma, our individualized need for specific lessons.
Let’s embrace diversity, and understand that even if polyamory is what we desire on the level of lessons, we need not see it as a superior path. In addition to monogamous relationships that are full of self-denial, cheating and suppression, there are many that are honest, congruent, and healthy. In addition to polyamorous relationships that are based in transparency, compersion, and growth, there are many that are full of ego, control, and compromise. How we define ourselves with labels means nothing in comparison with our personal integrity. One thing I believe we all have in common is that living our personal truth (if we can access it beyond the ego’s tricks and barriers) will produce more personal peace, more relational peace, and ultimately a more peaceful planet.
Mystic Life is an author on personal and spiritual growth, as well as a former therapist. He enjoys sharing concepts from spirituality and psychology that help increase well-being (in an accessible way). His books, articles and videos can be found at http://Unification.com