Finding the Truth of Who You Are in Your Relationship
A different kind of Valentine’s Day workshop for couples.
Illustration Credit: Things Left Unsaid by Vivian Strauss
This workshop is for those who want to deepen their love, for those who have lost themselves, or for those wondering what to do next. The goal of this workshop is not necessarily to keep you together. It is to discover who you are in a relationship—or who you are not.
The exercises in this workshop were developed several years ago by renowned spiritual teachers Gangaji and her husband Eli Jaxon-Bear. Both are disciples of H.W.L. Poonja, who was in turn a disciple of the Indian saint Ramana Maharshi. Their teaching involves sitting in satsang, a Sanskrit word that means a gathering of people sharing truth. Sitting with these two teachers can be both profoundly peaceful and ruthless. They poke and prod using their sharp tools of self-inquiry, getting people to “rise to the deep question of their being.” Ironically, the tools in this workshop were developed during a crisis within the teachers’ own relationship. The two teachers first used the tools on themselves, and they worked.
“Truth is ruthless,” say Gangaji and Jaxon-Bear, but “love is trustworthy; love and truth are two sides of the same blade.”
They also say that we have good reasons for lying to our partners. We lie to protect them; we lie because we fear losing them; and we lie to be loving and kind. But ultimately, these teachers believe that our relationship is only with ourselves, a projection of who we are. “When you say you love this and hate that in your partner, you are talking about yourself. When you lie to your partner, you betray yourself.”