Relationship and Spirituality
By David Lake
I think it is no accident that the leaders in the field of Energy Psychology have strong spiritual connections that inform their work. This aspect of the field is not emphasized although I find it to be an integral part. I wonder whether the practice of Energy Psychology leads naturally towards the “opportunity for spiritual opening”?
I think it does. My observations of the “deeper” effects of EFT and SET lead me to consider that when the mind is calmed, there is a growth of “being”. So often this is accompanied by a personal peace. Possibly we are activating our spiritual energies when we use energy techniques.
A modern classic text by Eckhart Tolle-“The Power Of Now” (pub. Hodder)-makes the path of spiritual growth clear for the individual and the couple seeking deeper connection. He emphasizes the role of the mind in clouding the awareness of our present, and our inner energy. He points to the opening to joy and love that is possible when we accept what is-the Now-and detach from the egoic mind and the emotional “pain-body”.
Here I gather and intersperse selected wisdom from the book (lines out of context) with my version of how EFT / SET could “assist” in realizing the truth. I am using his words to illustrate self-help, for individuals in relationship, using Energy techniques.
My simple comments are no substitute for absorbing the wisdom and inspiration of a sage like Eckhart Tolle directly from his magnificent book.
“The moment that judgment stops, through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace. First you stop judging yourself; then you stop judging your partner. The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way“.
This goes directly to the heart of connection. I have found that the negative issues often unleashed by the statement: “I accept myself” in the EFT set-up phrase are nothing less than the blocks to being yourself (see the excellent posts on the website by Steve Wells on this topic). EFT and SET can apply a harmonizing influence to this chaos where the possibility increases that you will become more conscious, partly because awareness of your inner energy-body will anchor you in the Now.
“Why can’t you just be yourself? When you have a relationship with yourself you have split yourself into two: “I” and “myself”, subject and object…that mind-created duality is the root cause of… all problems and conflict in your life. In the state of enlightenment, you are yourself-“you” and “yourself” merge into one. You do not judge yourself… you do not love yourself, you do not hate yourself, and so on…there is no “self” that you need to protect, defend or feed anymore“.
And no “self” to accept, either. Only the enlightened need comment here.
“Intimate relationships bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you…you want to keep yourself intact, and the pain has become an essential part of you…so you resist every attempt you make to heal the pain“.
Here is the starting point of so many relationship problems, where eventually the unconscious patterns and pain manifest after being “triggered” by a partner. EFT / SET is most useful here as a containing and holding mechanism which has the power to treat the held-feelings outside the influence of the mind. After EFT / SET the mind “discovers” that the problem you had is not so bothersome, and suddenly you can “let it go…” Strangely, the results of persistent tapping on emotional trauma defuse the role of the mind in re-creating the problem repeatedly. This provides a huge benefit in the potential for conscious awareness in the present moment.
“If you resist or fight unconscious behaviour in others, you become unconscious yourself. Resistance is the mind“.
If you use EFT / SET to treat yourself for the hurts of conflict, you are using a direct body-energy treatment which supplants resistance in the mind, and does not necessarily increase it. Here your mind is willing initially to acknowledge that using EFT / SET is better than doing something else that doesn’t work (based on past experience of repeated conflict), and so you find a way to bypass the dysfunctional intentions of the past. EFT / SET brings something life-affirming to the equation of conflict.
“Since resistance is inseparable from the mind, relinquishment of resistance-surrender-is the end of the mind as your master. Knowing that what is cannot be undone-because it already is-you say yes to what is or accept what isn’t“.
It goes without saying that effective use of EFT / SET on a personal block can lead to a state of acceptance. This manifests as peace and harmony in relationship without denying innate difficulties. You can say ‘yes” to the reality of life and partnership even if the mind may not logically agree. There can be peace first in relationship and problem-solving second. A partner or family member or friend may never change but you still love them. I simply don’t know where this realization comes from in most successful treatment results. Often I regard it as beyond the mind. I do know that if such outcomes were purely the result of logic, reason and intellect, then a lot more people would just think their way to being happy, and not need help for hurt or suffering. We cannot do this. We have our “rules” about life.
“If you can never accept what is, by implication you will not be able to accept anybody the way they are. Surrender is inner acceptance of what is without any reservations… surrender does not transform what is, at least not directly. It transforms you…
When we persist in wanting our partner to change we must face up to the truth that it is our personal inability to accept our own reactions to what the partner does. I use EFT / SET extensively on these reactions, which are easy to find. In a subtle way there is a movement towards acceptance of those reactions and of the partner’s behaviour as the emotional intensity reduces and the mind’s habit of judging is tempered. Personal change is the only thing we have as an option-especially by using EFT / SET -but we cannot dictate the outcome in partnership. Very fortunately EFT / SET provides positive energetic results when grappling with the egoic mind. It is a great lever.
“If you cannot accept …the external condition (what is)…then accept what is inside…do not resist the pain…allow it to be there…surrender to whatever form the suffering takes…witness it…embrace it. Full attention is full acceptance“.
Applying EFT / SET to whatever suffering your attention embraces is a powerful healing.
“Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love you feel deep within“.
Couples already know how to do this, as it is how you bonded when you first met! Only the conditional and judging mind is scared by trivial habits and fears that stimulate memories of hurt.
“Instead of reacting to delusion, you see the delusion yet at the same time look through it. Being the knowing creates a clear space of loving presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. No greater catalyst for transformation exists“.
Being the knowing is “watching” the turbulence within (in times of trouble) and letting it be. EFT / SET is something that might help calm this turbulence and foster this awareness.
“It always looks as if people had a choice but that is an illusion…as long as you are your mind, with its conditioned patterns, what choice do you have? You are not even there…the moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment…of someone’s illness…the only appropriate response is compassion“.
The one who truly loves you does not mean to hurt you.
“The past ceases to have any power when you surrender to what is…presence is the key“
So often in relationship conflicts the mind is not your friend, and has only the illusion of second-hand rules and dysfunctional choice to offer. When the mind is bypassed by the Energy technique itself, and you can practice inner awareness (one kind of which practice forms much of the content of the “Power Of Now”), then your being-awareness-loving presence-reveals itself.
This may be the “intention” behind so many fine outcomes of Energy Psychology. It may be a transmission of energy too, within effective treatments.
I see some inspiring parallels between EFT / SET and practical spirituality. I find that EFT, SET and all the Energy Psychologies have the potential to bring an aspirant to a clear space of inner peace.
To read more about Dr David Lake’s “take” on relationships, see his book “She’ll be Right”. Click Here for details