QUESTION: How important is it to find someone who is at the same consciousness level and on the spiritual path?

I ask because I’ve been in unsuccessful relationships, and I’m thinking that the root of this is that the guys haven’t been like me… conscious and aware and on the spiritual path.

ANSWER: What does it mean that you “have been in unsuccessful relationships”? How do you measure that? Are people who are in long-term relationships of disconnection successful? Are people who share intimacy for several years, and then for whatever reason discontinue, failures? Certainly sharing interests can help relationships, but the unveiling of our self to another human being does not have a prerequisite, except for self-reflection, willingness, and tremendous courage.

It is a common misconception that being on the spiritual path somehow magically transforms our capacity to be in relationships. Spiritual practice by itself does not necessarily help us in relationships, but true and honest relationships can be a spiritual practice. I know in my own experience, even after spiritual understanding, I continued to repeat the same patterns in my intimate relationships. It is only through honest self-reflection as well as examination and usually with expert help that we can learn to break these patterns.

You say that “the root of this is that the guys haven’t been like me”, but you are the one common denominator in the relationships. Once can be a bad choice, twice a fluke, but by the third time, there is a pattern. And these patterns that we all struggle with are unconscious, and hence difficult to grasp with our conscious minds. There is much good material to read and absorb before or as you enter into your next relationship. Make your next relationship a conscious sadhana. Practice makes perfect.