Your ego always seeks the “special relationship”—in the egoic sense—to cover the pain of your emptiness, and thinks the “special relationship” is better than all the rest of your relationships. The Unique Self does not limit love to one person, even though the traditional definition of marriage or a committed relationship can limit you to one partner at a time. The Unique Self lives open as love in the world.
Our ego, which is our contracted self-sense of being merely a separate self, separate from the All-that-is, feels the pain of that separation and contracts even more. It wants to cover up that pain. It wants to cover up that nagging feeling of emptiness. So, it always looks for that one “special” person who is worthy of being connected to, that “special relationship” that will make “me” special, too. And because no one can ever do that, it will leave a trail of unhappy and often failed relationships.
The Unique Self teachings refer to the infinite uniqueness and specialness—beyond ego—of every person. And in many ways, we can also look at relationships in these terms. Two or more Unique Selves, when coming together in a real Unique Self encounter, can form a Unique We. This Unique We will not come into being by leveling out all differences, but exactly by emphasizing them—like a puzzle cannot become whole by the puzzle pieces trying to round out their frames, but by accentuating them.
In this sense, one could say that a relationship can also have a false self or ego (story) and a Unique Self (story). Thus, a “special relationship” could refer both to the specialness at the level of ego—with the connotation of “This relationship is special and that relationship is not”—as well as to the specialness at the level of Unique Self, where it means that “This relationship is absolutely special and that relationship is soooo special, too.”
And this principle can even be applied to nations—with “nations” not only hinting to the “we” of the people, but also to the social systems they have created—like the USA and Great Britain and their relationship with each other, to which the phrase “special relationship” is often referred. In this understanding, history becomes a series of stories—mostly the ego- and false-self stories of peoples and nations interacting with each other—concurrently prefiguring the Unique Self history that might emerge in the future.
As Dr. Marc often reminds us: “Our love lists are too short.” If we look at the people whom we say we love, they mostly happen to be the same people who give us egocentric security and happiness.
Yet, living open as love does not necessarily mean to live in “open relationships.” To live in open relationships is only one of the many different styles of loving that people can choose.
To live open as love means to engage in Unique Self encounters wherever we go—whether as humans or groups, organizations or nations—and to choose opening in every now moment of our lives. It means to love open through the pain, when we experience heartbreak: to let our hearts break open instead of down. And it means to practice opening our hearts again and again.
To engage in a Unique Self encounter, you must stay open as love through the pain.
To make contact in a Unique Self encounter, you must know how to avoid the ritual of rejection that so often arises from the ego’s contraction. When you feel hurt, your small-self ego contracts. Unless you make an effort to counter the ego’s inertia, you fall out of divine communion. You fall into UnLove. Unique Self encounter asks that you not fall out of divine communion and become degraded by UnLove. It demands that you not get stuck in the coiled contraction of the small self. …
To live and act as love means to keep your heart open through the pain of heartache and hurt.
To live and act as fear means to allow the pain to close your heart.
You can practice love by practicing opening your heart even when you feel hurt. Rather than turning away, closing down, and striking out, you keep your heart open. This will help you act skillfully instead of reacting clumsily in these situations.
When you practice opening as love moment to moment in the face of the hurt, the power of the past weakens. Old wounds are in the past. If you open your heart in the present, time after time, the power of the past recedes. (Marc Gafni, Your Unique Self, pp.323-324)
Being able to heal the past by opening and loving more in the present is huge if we consider how often we actually re-live the past instead of really engaging the present moment. Yet, the present moment (which embraces the past and the future) is the only moment we can really make contact. It is the only moment in which we can experience true intimacy with another person.
But to live open as love is even more than that. It means to awaken to our evolutionary responsibility of participating in the evolution of consciousness and love itself.
Every PERSON is responsible for their own awakening. In the same way, every generation is responsible for its own evolution of consciousness. There is a covenant of partnership between generations. Each generation commits to contribute its own unique insights to the ongoing transformation and evolution of consciousness. At its core, consciousness is love—the evolution of consciousness is therefore nothing less than the evolution of love. If you then realize that God is synonymous with love, you begin to understand that the evolution of love is no less than the evolution of God. God is the infinite. The infinite is the intimate. God is the infinity of intimacy.
To be awake is to be a lover: alive, aflame, and open as love. Therefore, at its heart, to be a lover means to be willing to participate in the transformation of consciousness.
Consciousness = God = Intimacy = Love.
Love is the spiritual technology operating through you as the expansion and transformation of identity itself. Enlightenment is no less than the ultimate transformation of identity, permanently widening and deepening the radius and depth of your love. (Marc Gafni, Your Unique Self, p.3)
You might want to reflect on these questions:
Remember a time, when you have used a “special relationship” to add value to your own life. What did this feel like? What effects did it have on you and the relationship? And what can you do to really value the specialness of each and every relationship in your life?
When do you realize the ego’s tendency to contract and close down? What do you do to open up again?
When did you experience heartbreak as breakdown, when as breaking open? What were the differences? And what can we learn from that?
How are you practicing to open as love today?
How do you participate in the evolution of love? What are your ways of committing acts of outrageous love, of writing outrageous love letters to the cosmos?
Become our teacher today and share with us – if you will – your thoughts, ideas, and practices you engage in—in the comment section below or on Facebook.
If you are interested in how the Unique Self teachings refer to organizations and nations, you might want to listen to—and read the summary of—the 3-part dialogue between Richard Barrett and Marc Gafni: