Where are you putting your energy, thoughts and attention in your relationships? This makes a huge difference to the quality of love in your life. To make it simple we can understand it as the Me, We, Us stages of love.* Each stage of love builds on the other one, and we evolve through each stage, as does our wider society. Fulfilment, sacred purpose and deep intimacy happen in the Us stage.
‘absorbed by our thoughts and desires’
In the Me stage you are focusing on yourself and your own needs, thoughts, wishes, fears, desires and anxieties. Here we learn what we are feeling and thinking, as well as what we need and want. However, in the Me stage we are contained in our own world and have a limited view of reality. Absorbed by our thoughts and desires, in this stage we can be closed to others who we don’t understand or who hold different views to us. It’s a mono perspective on love and life.
Marriage or intimacy in the Me stage tends to be based on dependent relationships with others. We become ‘role mates’, with each doing their proscribed role so that the individual needs are met by the roles. Love can be present, but generally in a limited, conditional way. As long as each fulfils their role in the relationship. We fear change in this stage.
The Me stage can have a lot of polarity between masculine and feminine, because each person is immersed in their different roles, needs and desires. Power can be easily misused in this stage as we look for another to fill our needs, rather than become whole. Lust can have free rein as individual desires are the focus. Sexual relations can also be dutiful and oppressive. Problems are set in stone and to be suffered through.
‘sexuality will be more comforting and predictable’
As we grow personally and spiritually we enter the We stage. Here you are focused on yourself and the other. It’s not just about you any more, there is another being here too. You extend your empathy and awareness into them, taking on their perspective, needs and desires as well as your own. In this stage, there is a lot of talking, listening and negotiating. Fairness and equality are highly valued. Boundaries are developed, and honouring them is deeply important. In the We stage, understanding self and others, therapeutic activities, and clear communication are prioritised. Problems are things to be successfully solved.
Most business activities rely on the We stage, as contracts and agreements are made to create and build trust. Intimate relationships happen between two independent, whole people who are careful not to dominate or have power imbalances. It’s very emotionally healthy but also neutralised, as differences are being smoothed out and balanced for the sake of achieving equality. Sexuality will be more comforting and predictable, with mutual pleasuring and permissions negotiated.
‘the Us stage has a mysterious quality’
The Us stage is where our focus becomes more attracted to love, freedom, awareness, spirit and sacredness. After knowing your self (Me stage) and being able to hold healthy boundaries and build trust (We stage) you can then surrender into the force of love moment to moment. Boundaries can soften to allow merging with another, and the whole of existence. Beyond dependence (Me stage), wholeness and independence (We stage) we find interdependence (Us stage). This is a multi-perspective view on love and life.
Relating is exciting and fulfilling in the Us stage as each person can give their gifts to the other and to all. The Us stage has a mysterious quality as it is delving into the unknown. ‘We stage’ rules do not apply here. Boundaries shift, and fairness is not a factor as love is more important. In the Us stage, you are connected to spirit and sacred purpose, and open to the deepest intimacy. You go beyond the the personality and ego into intimate communion, sacred sexuality, humour, selfless service, playfulness and creativity. Problems dissolve in the Us stage. Polarity and ravishment is strong in Us stage as differences are celebrated, and diversity is a strength. Sexuality becomes devotional and an embodied prayer of love.
‘perhaps you feel hurt or angry’
We hopefully evolve through these three stages in our lives as we grow and mature. You can also experience shifting through all three stages in a short space of time. Imagine the scenario where you are heatedly arguing with your partner or a colleague. Most likely you are initially focused on your own needs and feelings. Perhaps you feel hurt or angry, upset, betrayed or badly done by. They are not behaving in the right way for you. You don’t care what they are feeling at all.
Then, you become aware of this and start to notice them and their feelings as well as your own. You become interested in their point of view. You may listen and ask questions and look for mutual solutions. The air lightens and tensions start to dissolve. Arguing stops, and you both feel relieved but there’s not much aliveness between you.
Next, you remember the Us possibility and dive straight into what will open the most love for all in that moment. You locate love beyond fairness, beyond being right or wrong. And give up your fixed position from a place of strength not weakness. You feel the love that is in all things, including the other’s heart, and surrender to how love and awareness move in you and through you. Can you trust crazy wisdom, and you act spontaneously for the sake of love? Then you experience oneness directly. The relating is intensely alive. In intimacy this leads to passionate polarity.
‘from problem solving to problem dissolving’
This transformation can happen in the space of a few minutes as you shift your attention from the problem, to problem solving, to problem dissolving. We get tantalising glimpses of this oneness, this connection with the other and all beings. However it can take years of practice to have a solid ability to shift into the Us stage. Those who live there permanently are the gurus and teachers that we have traditionally revered for their ability to transmit this possibility to us, and to show us the way.
Now we have available the tools and teachings to make it possible to know the stages, to embrace them, learn from them and evolve through them.