Of course, it’s easy to act respectfully when our partner agrees with us. But what happens when our partner disagrees or doesn’t like the way that we’ve been acting and actually tells us so?
This is where the practice of relating respectfully is most relevant. It’s the rubber meeting the road of our own emotional development. One practice that develops our emotional maturity is by putting our attention on awareness itself.
“Emotional Maturity,” is a term coined by the spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, in a 2015 online course, “The Way of Liberating Insight.” By paying attention to awareness itself, rather than our own point of view, for instance, we are, in a sense, liberated from the opinions of our own mind, which have very little to offer in the way of actually being respectful in our relationships.
Being “liberated,” so to speak, from our mind, especially when our partner either disagrees with us or doesn’t like the way that we’ve been acting, opens us up to developing “Emotional Maturity.”
This doesn’t mean that we have to roll over passively and relinquish our opinions. It just means that our perspective or point of view is nothing more or less than our own perspective and point of view. That’s all.
For instance, when we are upset with our partner, our opinions may not always be conveyed respectfully. We’re upset. Our emotions may be hurt, angry, and turbulent. Listening to our partner’s perspective is definitely a good start.
However, by putting our attention onto awareness itself (not on what we are aware of – our thoughts, feelings, and opinions), but rather, by putting our attention on “only being aware,” as Adyashanti has taught, a sense of internal calm and peace emerges from the background and takes its place in the foreground.
We may continue to have and be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and opinions and certainly convey them to our partner, but we do so while always being primarily or “only” aware of the ongoing faculty of awareness itself that is always present.
For, if awareness is not always present, how would we even know that we had a thought, a feeling, or an opinion?
Putting our attention on awareness, or on our awareness of awareness is the insight that liberates. It is a foundational practice of being respectful in our relationships.
This is one way in which, both at the same time, our emotional maturity naturally develops, and we develop the insight of who and what we actually are.