A recent contemplation has “re-surfaced” for exploration in consideration of relationships and the various levels/dimensions on which they can be founded. There are far too many for any one article to go into, so the distinction to particularly examine is that between a “common” relationship and one that exhibits qualities of being a “courtly” relationship.
First off, the over-arching metaphor “at play” throughout this excavation can imaginably be likened to that of the old medieval time period where the difference between “peasants” and “royalty” could be highly noted and distinguished. (However, one must remove the various emotional connotations inherent in order to “sterilize” the underlying “gem” of Truth that can be extracted.) Beyond any idea of one “class” being considered more crude and base, while the other is thought to be more civilized and refined, the attitudes at play when relationships are considered become quite interesting.
Often, the “royal court” was subject to forming political alliances through marriage (sometimes being pre-arranged), while the working-class “peasants” were more free to fall in love as their feelings led them, although a “miniature” version of “royal courting” may have been adhered to where some families or job types were considered too far above or below one’s own social stature for a “match.” (Sometimes, an unexpected pregnancy would act as “cement” for these relationships also, as is sometimes still the case in our own society.) However, for the most part, “peasants” could follow their personal desires and so link up with whomever they chose, whereas “royalty” was more expected to bear other considerations in mind when making such decisions.
These differences form the basis of our consideration now. While not every politically-based union resulted in a happy marriage, all unions of fiery, emotional desire were not necessarily destined for such either. However, ideally, a politically-based union should have been able to accomplish something of larger scale collectively on the “world stage.” To contrast, while choosing one’s life partner unencumbered by social/cultural/political considerations may have allowed one a potentially better chance of embracing a partner of choice with whom one would be happy, it did sometimes occur than a “royal” marriage could be made where the two partners were able to find love with one other. However, despite whatever local, small-scale acclaim a happy “common” relationship might stand as in the immediate community, they more than likely did not stand to initiate or maintain large-scale movements for the bigger collective in the same way that a “royal” union would be intended. (Of course, even those “royal” intentions might sometimes miss their mark, and history is replete with stories of politically-based relationships and arranged marriages that “royals” rebelled against in order to satisfy their own “true” [emotional] desires. Sometimes, these could be left hidden or otherwise “endured” by society, while at other times, such rebelliousness served to topple the intentions behind such a more formal union.)
The key distinction between these two relationship-styles is that of one being based on emotional desire and whim, while the other is more intelligently defined and orchestrated according to a larger/higher will of sorts (even if that is only indicated by the needs/intentions of a country, which again could be paralleled in the “common” sphere manifesting in part as the needs/intentions of a particular family). While everyone may gravitate towards proclaiming one or the other style to be preferable (for various reasons), the truth remains that no one is better or worse than the other. However, by examining the differences up close, one is more able to see how, where, and why they seem to have the disposition that they do, and that also leads towards the possibility of better integrating the best of both of these relational realms.
Let’s begin with the “common” relationship. Arguably, it may seem largely preferable at first, partly because of the glamour it comes with through the portrayal of various famous stories depicting two lovers that must rebel against some other romantic arrangement they don’t feel inclined toward, in order to live “happily ever after” together. Again, it is the partners’ emotional desire for one another that is the cornerstone of such a relationship. Moving into an esoteric lens of this though, the notion of overwhelmingly obsessive emotional desire is highly equated with the presence of a karmic “charge” between the individuals. Often, when such relationships are entered into “willy-nilly,” the fireworks may be incredible at the beginning, but there is an equal potential that there will be problems to surmount and overcome in proportion to this original attractive force. (When children enter into the picture, the karmic duties, obligations, and “bonds” further increase, binding the couple into a [subtly familiar] pattern of behavior through which various challenges are to be worked through.) There is nothing inherently wrong with working to “burn off” karma in such a respect, but when the experience is entered into rather unconsciously, the responsibilities that accrue may be more than what an individual (or the couple) would have “signed-up” for had they been more aware…Churning through the personal and emotional “echo” of turmoil/excitement/attachment that’s “hungover” in the relationship may become the superseding effort that must then be dealt with, while other (sometimes higher) ambitions must be put aside for the time being. All this reflects the potential “shadow” behind such a romantic notion of love that exclusively proclaims to “follow its heart” without much thinking involved. However, it should also be stated that engaging in such a relationship can still be hugely satisfying, and the partners can learn and grow quite a lot together while building a life that they find contentment in. Again, the crux of the matter depends on what one is attempting/intending to create in their lives, and the first step to unraveling that dilemma is conscious questioning and awareness of what that entails.
On the other side of the table is the more “courtly” type of relationship usually associated with those in the “royal court.” At first, this entire concept may seem distasteful, as if one is being “forced” to marry someone for reasons other than love. (On a side note, IF one is truly being FORCED into any action, marriage or otherwise, then the act truly does become “poisoned,” and little direct good is really primed to ensue. For any true, just, and comprehensive merit to be had from such a union [although “good” has a way of working itself into and through all situations, no matter how corrupted, to some extent], it MUST be entered into with full choice on the end of both partners, without manipulation or coercion.) However, if one considers that LOVE (for the country or whatever larger collective is being considered) truly IS the primary motivating factor behind such an alliance, the illusion of anyone being “forced” (when that is not truly the case) begins to dissolve. Ideally, the intention in such a “courtship” is one in which the two parties are intelligently coming together to enact a larger purpose, pool their individual resources into a mutually beneficial position, and effect a larger positive outcome (for the wholes with which they are concerned) than either would be able to accomplish on their own. Sometimes, in order for such an aim to be realized, the personal emotional nature of desire must be DETACHED from so that intelligent considerations, devoid of petty individual wants, can be focused upon. Then, the two parties are able to collaborate without their own “baggage” taking their energy away from their larger goals.
While neither mode of relational operation is inherently better or worse (as it is ultimately an individual matter), it does seem as though the evolution of relating prompts us ever more towards increasing responsibility, detachment, and the decrease of self-centeredness. For this reason, the trend would seem to favor the approach of a “royal court” orientation, as personal desires and karma is slowly “burned up” and transformed. Shouldn’t we all aspire to, more and more, focus less upon our own personal cravings and upon the service we can be to a larger collective? While some might argue that this can be done in ways that are separate from one’s relationship choices, it would seem that a counter argument could be made that ALL areas of life are interconnected, and so one’s relationship choices will reflect other aspects of one’s overall orientation to life; the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. Granted, the path of unfolding is timed and spaced differently for everyone, and sometimes a focus may need to occur in one area while another one is “allowed” to be a bit more “relaxed” in the meantime. Still, as the entire ordeal is looked upon along a spectrum of evolution (or continual refinement), the reason that “royals” ARE “royals” may be seen as the extent to which they’ve demonstrated the ability to “lay down” their personal self’s will in obedience to some higher Will. (Of course, not everyone who is, or temporally exemplifies, the “royal court” approach may adhere to the ideal perfectly, and human error through personality shortcomings may be apparent to various degrees.) Again, if we can suspend the negative and positive connotations of “peasants” and “royals,” we can objectively imagine the transition between some archetypal “rags to riches” scenarios as being indicative (through the slow churn of time) as the transition from a position of total immersion in immediate personal gratification (which may eventually be seen as keeping one “poor”) towards a more mature orientation of foregoing certain “common” indulgences to achieve something of higher standing and longer endurance (suggestive of being truly “rich” in a higher context).
So does that mean that to really be “wise” one must totally abstain from personal desires and only consider the greater good of the whole? Well, yes and no…Not many people would arguably be able (being an individual living in a personal body) to subjugate all personal desires to a larger Will, although that may indeed be the direction towards which all soul’s strive. As such, thankfully, it is possible to find a “middle path” through the pairs of opposites that would allow one to approach the matter by serving the larger whole in ways that also serve their own heart. (It should be noted though that ANY position in which the personal needs are chosen in a context that retards or disrupts the good of the greater whole runs contrary to the direction of aspiration. Of course, we can also note that everyone who does do so “must” do so to whatever extent they do, until they realize the ultimate futility of seeking fulfilling satisfaction to the exclusion of a larger whole, as each individual is also inherently a part of any larger whole in which they participate.) Assuming that such a “middle path” is sought, and it would definitely be a prerequisite achievement on the way to any orientation capable of serving at a still higher level, one must discipline themselves to continually question their personal motives, while also staying “tuned in” to the needs of the larger collective (to whatever extent they are able). In such a way, one is able to make their choices, to the best of their ability and awareness, so that both angles of consideration can be consolidated.
Returning to the focus of relationships, this would translate to simply abstaining from forming a “binding contract” (whether it be marriage, or even sex, which, in the occult sense, binds, merges, and/or transfers energies/emotions/karma and may potentially also result in the further physical “binding” via the production of children and their attending needs) with anyone until a PURPOSE behind the relationship can be established between the two individuals and then consciously worked towards. This goal also requires that both parties be open, able, and willing to intelligently communicate with one another extensively so that goals and objectives (individually and together) can be ascertained. Without such a CONSCIOUS purpose as the foundation of things, it can be assumed that the engagement has been entered into UNconsciously, to some degree or another. (Again, all relationships and interactions should be thought of along a spectrum, with no exactly “pure” extreme necessarily being the case.) In our culture, which often focuses on “getting in someone’s pants” or even the culturally acceptable ordinance that marriage must be the “next step” after some period of time together, the protocol of establishing purpose prior to extended commitment can seem a bit foreign. However, if it becomes the ideal towards which one is consciously aiming (via just their own life AND through relationship), one will increasing be able to approximate it with success.
So, it would seem that the “middle path” of moderation calls for us all to, at the least, consciously question our motives (and those of others), consider our role in the context of larger wholes that we are (or aspire to be) a part, and actively communicate on both these levels in order to find the place where they may (or may not) meet and merge. Interestingly, this “prescription” would likely serve as an excellent advisory for ALL people in any consideration. Demonstrating this is, while possibly seeming to be quite a challenge, simply a matter of self-discipline and persistence. No amount of experienced success or failure guarantees that such will continue as the overall trend in one’s life indefinitely; it is continually subject to change with every choice that we make in each moment.
It should also be stated that all our relationships are continually unfolding across a spectrum of change in the same way that we do. In respect to this, assuming that both parties are consciously aware of the dynamics involved and have a desire for perpetual improvement, any relationship would have the potential to transform into a higher version of itself with an adherence to such a commitment. (That may be the reason why we are sometimes able to note those “royal court” unions that ARE capable of incorporating elements of personal love and affinity, which may not have been the initial building blocks present. Similarly, a “common” relationship could always build toward incorporating joint goals focused towards greater collective contribution.) Of course, the opposite case of “backsliding” must ever be guarded against, as the tendency to slip into personally selfish, or emotionally-driven, desires (or even slipping into a contributive stance that is too overly devoid of personal connection) can always occur if one is not remaining consciously attentive to their motives, behaviors, and achievement of fulfillment.
Hopefully, with a little self-work and conscious awareness, we can all learn to continually discover and embody increasingly better ways of being in relationship, both with ourselves and others, as we walk a path towards integrating more fully into the whole of all that we are and can be! :)