All posts tagged: relationships

Mindful Relationship

The Necessity of Being Mindful in Intimate Relationships

By Ben Cohen, Ph.D. // Being “Mindful” in our intimate relationships is no longer an option—it is a necessity. Couples today expect a lot from their marriage/committed relationship.  We want our partner to be our lover, best friend, our go-to person when things are tough, our loyal playmate, and to share in the activities that most interest us.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a challenging thing. In the “Romantic Love Stage,” we think it will be easy. We believe we have met “The One.”  You know… the one who will meet all of your needs, and of course they will do so forever after! The truth is, you and your partner are two different people, and you won’t always see things the same way, or want the same things. Whether it is how you clean the house, how often you have sex,  how you manage your time or your money, or how you share your feelings—differences will arise. So eventually, even in the best of relationships, “Romantic Love” turns …

Cultivate Love and Compassion With Your Partner

By Ben Cohen, Ph.D. // A question I often ask couples that I work with in counseling is: “How do you want to act toward your partner?”. I’ll have them write a list of adjectives to describe this, and of course, what people usually say are things like: Loving, patient, compassionate, caring, giving, supportive, etc. I’ve never had anyone say: angry, critical, blaming, and attacking! And yet, the latter is how we often act with the person we most need to act kindly toward. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks beautifully about the need to “cultivate” positive aspects of ourselves, and to engage in loving behavior. He often uses the metaphor of “seeds”: When you water the seeds of anger in yourself (or your partner), that is what will grow. If, on the other hand, you water the seeds of love and compassion, then that is what will grow and flourish. Which would you choose? We can use meditation as a time to water those seeds of compassion: “Breathing in, I feel love” “Breathing out, I feel …

What does it mean to be in a secure-functioning relationship? And why should it matter to me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin ~~~ Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple: The Metaphor of Ya​b-Yum

By Keith Kachtick Keith Kachtick leads Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple, September 12–14 In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke makes clear that a loving, romantic relationship is the practice for which all other mindfulness practices are the groundwork. “Love is high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” The ancient Tibetan tantric practice of Yab-Yum recognizes that romantic coupling is as an opportunity for profound spiritual awakening, a practice that invites us—deeply challenges us—to love our way to enlightenment. Traditionally, in Buddhist thangkas and sculptures depicting Yab-Yum, the confluence of “masculine” compassion and “feminine” wisdom is presented metaphorically in the sexual union of a male deity, seated in Padmasana (lotus pose), with his female consort facing him on his lap. The symbolism is two-fold: Yab-Yum (literally “father-mother” in Tibetan) implies a mystical union of karuna and prajna within our own individual nature—the two Dharma wings that lift each of us to buddhahood; united, the two awakened beings (regardless of gender) …

Relationship as a Path of Awakening: A Conversation with Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT

  Bruce Tift will be leading Relationship as a Path of Awakening, May 16-18, 2014. He’ll also be giving a talk on the subject in Boulder on April 25. How can we use the inherent disturbance and richness of our intimate relationships as an opportunity for wakefulness? Psychotherapy helps us understand the deep historic conditioning we bring to our relationships. Buddhist practice cultivates the confidence that, in each fresh moment, we are free in how we relate to this conditioning. Let’s explore how we can learn to keep our hearts open within the profound provocation of intimacy. Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, has been in private practice since 1979, taught at Naropa University for 25 years, and given presentations in the U.S., Mexico and Japan. His new CD, Already Free: Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path of Liberation, explores the human issues of neurosis, anxiety, body awareness and relationship dynamics. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Relationships that Work Beautifully

By Paul Shippee Paul Shippee will lead a NVC weekend retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center September 13-15 The main positive effect of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practice is to increase your chances of getting a compassionate response from others. I have found that NVC has an amazing result of disarming others as well as one’s own deeply embedded defenses that lead to painful conflicts. Usually, somewhere deep in our conditioned brain, we really think that our defenses are the best way to be safe. But, in NVC practice, we invariably discover that real safety comes from being vulnerable. This unearths a contagious authenticity that fosters relationships, both intimate and casual, that work beautifully. Once we can open our heart to ourselves and honestly express what we are actually feeling and needing in the moment, we begin to glimpse new dimensions of life. We take baby steps in trying out vulnerability as a means of trust and smarter safety. This feels uncomfortable as it invites us into a larger world of undefended love and connection to others. …

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple

by Keith Kachtick In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke makes clear that a loving, romantic relationship is the practice for which all other mindfulness practices are the groundwork. “Love is high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” The ancient Tibetan tantric practice of Yab-Yum recognizes that romantic coupling is as an opportunity for profound spiritual awakening, a practice that invites us—deeply challenges us—to love our way to enlightenment. Traditionally, in Buddhist thangkas and sculptures depicting Yab-Yum, the confluence of “masculine” compassion and “feminine” wisdom is presented metaphorically in the sexual union of a male deity, seated in Padmasana (lotus pose), with his female consort facing him on his lap. The symbolism is two-fold: Yab-Yum (literally “father-mother” in Tibetan) implies a mystical union within our own individual nature—the two Dharma wings that lift each of us to buddhahood; united, the two awakened beings (regardless of gender) then give birth to a romantic communion embodying the blissful, non-dual state of enlightenment. Much easier said than done, …