In this article I will offer insights into the loss of autonomy in our relationships, followed by a methodology for reclaiming and reestablishing our autonomy.
Through the course of life we become entangled with those with whom we have relationships, be they parents, teachers, siblings, lovers and mates, etc. We begin to hold their pain, grief, sadness, and fear, as well as their hopes, their happiness, and their passion. Likewise do these significant people in our lives hold these same things on our behalf.
Let me offer an example: Your mate finds happiness in going fishing. You have never been drawn to fishing, but in the spirit of partnership, you go on fishing trips with your partner. Over time, because you wish to support what makes your partner happy, you become an adjunct to each fishing expedition. That you are sharing in this experience brings even greater happiness to your partner. Now, when you do not go fishing with your partner, they express that they are less happy without you along. Again, because you want to support your partner’s happiness, you change your choice and begin to go fishing on a regular basis with your loved one. You have just taken on responsibility for your partner’s happiness. Their greater happiness is now dependent upon your participation… rather than upon the direct joy of going fishing. You have surrendered a portion of your autonomy to your mate, and they have invested their happiness in your participation. Understand, they have not coerced you, you have done this of your own free will. However, your partner’s sense of fulfillment is now anchored to your actions, and your fulfillment is now based in an acceptance of responsibility for your partner’s happiness, rather than in being supportive of their happiness. You are each linked to the other, now, in a complex of expectations and conciliatory gestures that diminishes both your partner’s ability to find self-fulfilling happiness and your expression of your own preferences.
Now, change happiness to sexuality; peace of mind; political persuasion; spirituality; charity. Also, look at how that shows itself in your life when it is not happiness, et al, but anger; fear; judgments; opinions; violence and abuse, and what you do to mollify your partner’s behaviors.
It is necessary, in this self-investigation, to also look at how you have surrendered responsibility for your own happiness; comfort; security; generosity, etc to your partner. And, of course, how you may have insisted, overtly or covertly, that your partner disenfranchise themselves of friendships, political affiliations, financial comfort zones, their chosen spiritual path, etc in order to conform to your need to limit, regulate or control your emotional environment. Obviously, the reverse holds true: In what manner have you given up friendships, your spiritual path, financial comfort, etc in order to not ‘trigger’ that other person in your life?
What a mess, huh? It can seem an insurmountable task to simply sort all that out, let alone to begin untangling ourselves. By the way… just how do we disentangle ourselves? The answer to that is really what this investigation is about. So let us begin…
All such inner work is best done from a deep meditative state, one in which we are free of expectations, agenda and attachments to our emotionally charged memories, attitudes, feelings and thoughts. In my world the meditation par excellence for this is the Eagle’s Egg Mediation – #1. Next is preparation and orientation for the Autonomy Activation – #2. And finally there is the Autonomy Activation Meditation – #3, itself.
Just click these audio files, in order, and engage the directions given: