The five types of romantic love that we can experience

www.tobyouvry.com/soulportraits

When you think of romantic love, what type of love do you think of? Chances are that most people will think of love between two individuals who fall in love with each. What I want to do in this article is broaden the idea of what romantic love could be to include five ways of experiencing romantic relationships:

  • With ourself
  • With the Divine
  • With another human being
  • With landscape or place
  • With our art or work

Before I go into detail with each of these, I want to give a working definition of what romantic love is, for the purposes of this article, and for the classes that I will be doing on romantic love starting this coming Tuesday 12th October.

“Romantic love is a type of love that has 4 stages. Firstly there is an attraction toward or a desire for the object (person or otherwise). Secondly we move into relationship with the object of attraction or desire. Thirdly we experience a union with the object, fourthly that union gives rise to a creative result.”

So, in a subsequent article I will be going into these four stages in more detail, but for now within the context of this short definition let’s have a look at the five types of romantic love:

  1. In our relationship to ourself – This can be thought of as the romance between the soul and the personality, or the higher self and the lower self. The spiritual path in some ways can be seen as the development of this romance. The soul(or deeper self) and personality(outer self) feel attraction to each other, move into relationship with each other, accomplish a union though various practices, with the creative result or “birth” of enlightenment within the individual
  2. Romance with the Divine – This is the romance that we experience between ourself as a single human and the divine or creative forces (however we may conceive it, God, the Tao, the Primal Buddha Mind etc..) of the Universe. We all have a different way of relating to the divine, dialoguing and conversing with it, moving into communion with it and finding and finding ways to express that union creatively.
  3. Romance with another human – This is the most common context that we think of romantic love in. It begins when we experience an attraction or desire for someone. If that person responds favourably, then we can proceed into the complex process of relationship, various levels of union (sexual, emotional, mental spiritual) that in turn give rise to creative results, ranging from marriage, to children, to inner transformation, to joint working projects and so on…
  4.  Romance with a landscape or sense of place – This begins when we feel a deep empathy, attraction or simpatico to a particular place. We then move into relationship with it by spending time there (by living there or repeatedly visiting), our communion gives rise to various forms of union with the forces of the landscape which cause a creative result. This creative result can be physical (eg: When we work to build something there or do conservation work) or it can be inner, for example when we are changed or healed in some way through our interaction with the place.
  5. Romance with a type of art, discipline or work – This is perhaps most often thought of in terms of an artist with her artistic muse, who drives him/her toward ever greater heights in his creative work. However we all have work that we feel a natural desire to participate in more than others. If we are lucky we are then able to move into that work more and more deeply by making a career of it. We merge our mind and body more and more deeply with the discipline of the work, which gives rise to greater and greater creative results as time goes by. Relationship to work we love is like a relationship to a human lover, not always easy, but behind the struggle lies a deep passion and belief in the rightness of the partnership, and a desire to remain in creative union.

Suggested reflection:

When you have a quiet moment, work your way thoughtfully through each of these five ways in which romantic love can be experienced. See what types of free associations and feelings come up with regard to the way in which you currently relate to your relationship to yourself, the Divine, your lover, your work/art and the place where you live (or other landscape/place that you love). What new ways of experiencing your life arise when you place these different parts of your life in a “romantic” context?

Final note: Still haven’t found your soul mate yet? Never mind, as you can see there are four other types of romantic relationship you can be pursuing in the mean time 😉

Catch the new serties of classes on the Six stages of love with Toby this coming Tuesday 12th October!

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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