I once proposed to my husband that we choose 'Devotion' with a big 'D'. I meant that we would be completely devoted to each other 100 percent. Let me define that a little further. That would look like we idolized each other. We would see each other as God and Goddess and there wouldn't be any 'if, and or buts' about it. Period.
One of the ways I defined it meant that we could make 'loving, critical assessments' of the other. You got it - criticisms - and the other would lovingly take it for what it was - a guru-like practice that the criticized one needed to hear and subscribe to. Yeah, right. I was quite naive. That was a long time ago; we've been married for 30 years!
I had an agenda. I wanted him to love me unconditionally because I felt that I had loved him that way for many years and he hadn't reciprocated the way I wanted him to. This is unconditional? Obviously this isn't the way to heal from whatever it was that caused me to even think I could get what every woman (and man for that matter) fantasizes about and thinks they want - pure devotion. Ah...
Devotion might look like what a student has with a teacher or an aspirant has with a guru. Of course, the teacher must be true and of a high mind and the guru must be of the best kind with the highest goals of his or her student's in mind. What of two lovers, partners and couples; can they be each other's gurus? Is it possible to move the obstacles of family history, culture, one's own agenda, hurts, disappointments and all the rest of the deeply embedded stuff we bring along with us aside and actually guide our partner along in life?
Lover as guru might be possible if the couple sees themselves as divine manifestations of the cosmic couple: Shiva (the male principle in Hindu cosmology) and Shakti (the female principal). Seeing and holding ones self and lover as the cosmic couple representing universal energy might hold a clue to this transformative process. The polarity or dualistic aspects of everything around us from male and female, God and Goddess, fire and water, truth and lie, giver and receiver - are only outer manifestations of the universe creating an interesting life for us. The cause of suffering, however, is a perceived separation of the self from the universal.
What if you really, fully embraced 'Partner/Lover as Guru'? Watch this short video of a conversation I had with Mark and Patricia who are a well-known Tantric teaching couple. They have some spirited words of wisdom for us all:
So, what would life look like? For one thing you would have to put aside ego and reaction to criticism. In fact, better yet, you would not have the concept of 'criticism' running your emotional process. Relationship would need to feel like a loving parent or grandparent who cares, has compassion, understand your hurts, lets you speak and listens to you, holds your hand when you need it and lets you struggle when you don't. Your guru would have loving words to direct, console, teach and guide you and you would have the skills to receive and to give back in turn. The separations of jealousy, anger, fear, desire, envy and pride wouldn't hold much weight. Trust would grow strong. Helping others, not just your own partner or family, would become easy and effortless.
When you see yourself as an intrinsic part of everything and representative of everything it becomes easier to hold the influence that you might have with others to a higher standard. Each partner might try to take the other higher and have the other's evolution in mind. Life would become more of a collaboration and dance. Each generation beyond ours would become more empowered, more trusting, more loving, more compassionate.
How do you do this even when you don't want to? Can you step up to the plate, even a little?