Relationships on the Spiritual Path

Are you noticing that your relationships are struggling as you deepen your spiritual journey?

Do you find that you resist growing spiritually because you’re afraid it will ruin the stability of your marriage, your friendships, and your family peace?

Are you unconsciously using your spiritual practices to “spiritually bypass” conflict or intense emotions in your relationships?

Are you curious about how your relationships might become an intentional, alchemical spiritual practice?

In the past, spiritual life often meant withdrawing from intimate relationships. If you wanted to walk the spiritual path, you became a nun or a monk or a priest. You left your family and moved into an ashram to go follow a Guru and devote your life to God. Human relationships were seen as an obstacle to the spiritual path. But times they are a-changing. More and more of us are being called to use intimate relationships as the vehicle to spiritual life rather than abandoning intimate relationships in favor of connection with God. Instead of being an obstacle to connection with the Divine, what if our relationships can actually be the portal to connection with the Divine?

If relationships can be such a beautiful portal to Divine connection, why are those on the spiritual path struggling so much in relationships?

For many years, I’ve watched so many people who are on the spiritual path deepen a connection to the Divine, experience intense mystical experiences, and shift their level of consciousness, only to be shocked by how much upheaval this can cause in our relationships. You might think that commitment to the spiritual path can only help our relationships by bringing more love into them. Sometimes this is true, and our relationships experience an upgrade when we embark upon the spiritual path. But often, if one person is on a spiritual journey and the other is not, awakening consciousness can have side effects that affect many relationships in your life, not just a romantic partnership, but family ties, friends, and colleagues. The heightened consciousness that accompanies the spiritual path may bring to light all that is in need of healing in yourself and all of your relationships. If you’re up for the challenge and open to the beauty of what’s possible in true intimacy, relationships can be a potent catalyst to awakening.

If you’re committed to the ascetic path, that’s great. Everyone is entitled to their own journey. But if you sense that your journey is meant to deepen through your experience in relationship with others, this program is designed to help you facilitate that catalytic process, navigate the pitfalls, and open your heart and your capacity for intimacy as a gateway to the Divine.

This program is for you if:

  • Your spiritual path is a path of unconditional love
  • Your relationships are getting shaken up by your spiritual growth
  • You’re ready to stop blaming others and start fully taking responsibility for your part in relationships
  • You want to avoid the trap of using spiritual principles to employ the “spiritual bypass”
  • You find yourself in a “twin flame” relationship and you need support
  • You’re encountering confusing “out of the box” soul connections
  • You’re learning how to make your relationships your Guru
  • You’re feeling alone in your spiritual journey and yearning for a soul tribe of other people who are committed to conscious relationships
  • You’ve let unconditional love turn you into a doormat and you’re ready to shift that
  • You’re more interested in how relationships can grow you than how to get what your ego wants from a relationship
  • You’re struggling through a break up or divorce and wanting to navigate the uncoupling process with heightened consciousness
  • You’re ready to stop being “knee jerk” reactive and start using reactivity as a practice for soul growth
  • Instead of running away from conflict, you’re ready to lean in and glean all the gold that conflict can help you unearth
  • You’ve co-created painful relationship patterns over and over—and you’re ready to co-create something healthier
  • You’ve been unfaithful—or your partner has—and you’re interested in healing this betrayal
  • You feel like the more you grow spiritually, the more you grow apart from the people in your life
  • You’re committed to kindness and compassion, but you’re not willing to “people please” or to be influenced by what “everybody” thinks anymore
  • You’re dealing with a health issue and interested in healing loneliness and cultivating conscious relationships as part of your prescription for healing
  • You finally realize that you’d rather be alone than surrounded by people who suppress your soul
  • You feel drawn to sacred sexuality, Tantra, or Taoist sexuality as a part of your spiritual practice
  • You’re ready to call in your soul tribe of people who cultivate the consciousness in you
  • You need help ending the “all or nothing” way of relating, and you’re ready to learn how to dial intimacy up or down depending on how someone behaves
  • You need help setting and enforcing boundaries so you can fully express the spiritual being that is emerging from within you
  • You wonder whether the story of “The One” is outdated, you’re curious about the monogamy versus polyamory conversation, and you’re seeking a safe place to explore that dialogue
  • You yearn for your tribe and you know that calling in your soul tribe starts with transitioning from “me consciousness” to “we consciousness”
  • You’re a sacred activist interested in how conscious relationships can help us restore unity consciousness to a planet in need
  • Conscious relationships is your area of expertise and you feel called to share your gifts and your wisdom with the community that will be attracted to this program

In this program will be diving into some advanced and possibly confronting topics, so PLEASE READ THIS SECTION THOROUGHLY and take it to heart.

This program is NOT for you if:

  • You’re an atheist and a skeptic who doesn’t believe Something Larger is participating with this material reality
  • You’ve never seen a therapist, worked with a spiritual counselor, participated in transformational programs, talked to a religious leader or clergy member about your relationship struggles, or done even the most basic facilitated “inner work” to take responsibility for your part in relationships
  • You’re married to your victim story and plan to keep blaming everyone else for what isn’t working in your relationships
  • You use your spiritual practices to bypass conflict and true intimacy, and you’re not interested in breaking that pattern
  • You’ll judge or criticize other students or your facilitators when they reveal vulnerable and uncomfortable truths about their relationships
  • You think you know how successful relationships work and you’re not willing to dive into the uncertainty of not knowing together
  • You want to stay in your comfort zone more than you want to grow

This Is a Program about Love

We can’t talk about relationships on the spiritual path without talking about love, but we’ll be talking about it differently than the way many talk about love. The way our culture teaches us about love has been wildly distorted. In Power Versus Force, David Hawkins, MD writes:

“Love, as depicted in the mass media, is not love. On the contrary, what the world generally refers to as love is an intense emotionality combining physical attraction, possessiveness, control, addiction, eroticism, and novelty. It is usually evanescent and fluctuating, waxing and waning with varying conditions. When frustrated, this emotion often reveals an underlying anger and dependency that it had masked. That love can turn to hate is a common concept, but what is being spoken about rather than love is an addictive sentimentality and attachment. Hate stems from pride, not love. There probably never was actual love in such a relationship. [Real love] is characterized by the development of a love that is unconditional, unchanging, and permanent. It does not fluctuate because its source within the person who loves is not dependent on external conditions. Loving is a state of being. It is a way of relating to the world that is forgiving, nurturing, and supportive. Love is not intellectual and does not proceed from the mind. Love emanates from the heart. It has the capacity to lift others and accomplish great feats because of its purity of motive . . . Love takes no position and thus is global, rising above the separation of positionality. It is then possible to be One with another, as there are no longer any barriers. Love is therefore inclusive and expands the sense of self progressively. Love focuses on the goodness of life in all its expressions and augments that which is positive. It dissolves negativity by recontextualizing it rather than by attacking it.”
David Hawkins, MD

When I first read this, I breathed a sigh of relief. Ah . . . yes. The false love is what breaks our hearts over and over. The real love—the unconditional kind—is rare and beautiful and deeply fulfilling. It connects us to Source and reminds us who we really are. Even when it shows up as tough love and fierce grace, the kind of love that sets boundaries and says “Hell no,” the heart remains wide open. This is Divine love, the kind we all crave. This is the love that heals and transforms. This kind of love will dismantle you and strip you to the core essence of Who You Really Are. This kind of love, not just for others, but for yourself and for the Divine, is a guidepost for how to navigate relationships on the spiritual path. But where in our culture does a love this big fit? Those of us who are parents or pet owners know it’s easy to feel this kind of unconditional love for your baby or your dog. But where else does it belong? And how do we put it into practice? What would it mean for our culture if we all loved each other this expansively? These are just a few of many questions we will be exploring in this program, which will be more about deep inquiry than lectures or answers. We will be entering the mystery together and exploring the leading edge of what is happening in relationships among those who are committed to the spiritual path.

Warning: You Will Be Transformed

If your soul rings out “Hell yeah! That’s me!” then I invite you to consider joining us for what is certain to be a rich, deep, controversial, potentially explosive, seriously ass-kicking and soul-nourishing journey into the beautiful, messy, sacred, gorgeous arena of Relationships on the Spiritual Path. Please be forewarned. This program is not for the faint of heart. If your primary priority is maintaining the status quo, staying in your comfort zone, and doing whatever you can to avoid rocking the boat, you won’t want to sign up for this program. This program will transform you, and true transformation means you will not be the same when you finish this journey.

We will be entering into the territory of the unknown, diving intentionally into what Charles Eisenstein calls “the space between stories.” This territory is a place of mystery, of trust, of engaging with uncertainty and embracing it. You will not be learning how to know the right way to engage in relationships on the spiritual path. Instead, you will be interfacing with the unknown as we explore this topic. When we insist on knowing, we limit what is possible. When we’re willing to not know together, when we’re willing to be curious without attaching to dogma, we open a portal into possibility, and this portal can be the vehicle for deep transformation.

Exploring Unknown Territory

heart-268151_1920As spiritual teacher Adyashanti says, “Faith is taking refuge in the unknown.” As my spiritual mentor Rachel Naomi Remen says, “We trade mystery for mastery, and it’s a bad trade.” Relationships are a mystery and if we’re willing to humble ourselves before this mystery and allow relationships to transform us, we leave ourselves open for miracles of unconditional love, radical self-acceptance, seemingly impossible acts of forgiveness, and mystical states of union with the Divine, not just the transcendent Divine, but the Divine within another human being and within ourselves.

We will be entering into sometimes uncomfortable territory during this exploration. You may feel challenged, confronted, and nudged out of your comfort zone. You will be loved big and hard and invited to love others big and hard. You will not be able to prioritize your relationships at the expense of your own truth anymore. You will not be allowed to ignore your relationship with yourself or with whatever you call the Divine Beloved. Instead, you will be engaging with a mystical curriculum, getting a degree in unconditional love as a spiritual path. How that will look will differ for each of us. Your journey is your journey alone, though you will walk this path in good company with other pioneers and pilgrims.

Why Is Lissa Facilitating This Program?

I am not a therapist or a relationship expert of any kind. I am a woman who has been divorced three times, and I have a littered past of serial heartbreak. I have struggled with my sexuality for most of my life, explored a “polyamory experiment” that left my heart quite weary and embattled, and lost many relationships that I cherished. I have been in therapy for almost a decade, and one therapist said, “You are a doctor, so it’s in your nature to do CPR on dead relationships.” She was right. I have been trained as a doctor—not even a psychiatrist, but an OB/GYN and mind-body medicine physician. So it is in my nature (and my childhood conditioning) to have a “savior complex,” to overgive, to try too hard, to attempt to force relationships to continue when they have simply run their course. That has felt like failure to me until I learned to reframe my experience. I now realize I have been in Love School for most of my life. This has been a difficult and painful soul curriculum. But I am grateful for the experiences that have helped me learn something I feel blessed to be learning. I am still very much in school, and I suspect my curriculum will be ongoing throughout this lifetime. I am finally embracing this curriculum fully.

If relationships are meant to be my spiritual path, I welcome it—and you can too.

The most common questions I get asked from my online community are “Relationships on the Spiritual Path” related questions. When I work one-on-one with my mentoring clients, it is always the juiciest area of inquiry and deep inner work. When I engage with workshops, it is often the most sensitive topic that arises from the space of deepest vulnerability and trust. Even on my blog, where I’ve been writing a Relationships on the Spiritual Path blog series, this topic lights a fire under people.

In private emails, people reveal things they’ve never confessed to anyone before. It touches my heart that people trust me to disclose their deepest secrets, even when I have no credentials and no mastery around relationships. It has helped me to realize the gifts that I offer—my ability to hold space for what is true for someone without judgment, to love from my heart, to offer care and compassion when someone is suffering, to be vulnerable and be with someone else’s vulnerability, to accept whatever arises, to hold sacred space for someone else’s emerging soul wisdom, to ask transformational questions that make us all feel deeply, to illuminate the hidden growth edges within us, to initiate disruptive discourse, and to facilitate difficult conversations in a way that helps people dive into the essence of both light and shadow.

butterflies-177291_1920Perhaps my greatest gift is that I am, as described by one of my physician clients, “an amazing person magnet.” I have the ability to magnetize into my sphere the people who know more about the areas of inquiry I find myself exploring than I do. This online program will very much depend upon this particular gift. I will be calling upon those I love and trust, the mentors who have helped me, as well as the people I’ve been intimate with, the ones who have been my greatest teachers. I will not be positioning myself as any sort of expert during this program. As is usual for the way I lead, I will be a student among you, facilitating an exploration that I am still very much learning myself, and I will be calling upon the wisdom of those who have more mastery in this conversation than I do, including those who will surely arrive as “students” in this class but who will have as much to teach as to learn. I am humbled by the wisdom that arises in communities like this, and the format of this program will offer you all an opportunity to be both students and teachers.

What Does This Program Include?

Relationships on the Spiritual Path was originally launched as a live program and included a lot of audience participation as we dove into inquiry together. This is the edgiest, most controversial, intimate, and vulnerable group program Lissa has ever facilitated. It is also—in Lissa’s opinion—one of the richest, deepest, and most filled with genuine, pure, unintellectualized love.

We have repurposed this program as a homestudy program for those of you who were not able to join us live and have edited some of the content to protect the privacy of the students. The program consists of 9 prerecorded 90-minute–2 hour teleclasses, as well as 5 60–minute Bonus teleclasses. You will be able to download all of the content at once, in case you’re in the mood for a relationship marathon, or you can listen gradually over the next few months at your own pace.

Module 1: Relationships As “The Guru”

Led by Lissa

In this module, we’ll be dialoguing about what it even means to navigate relationships as part of a spiritual path. How is it different than engaging in relationships when you’re not on a spiritual path? What happens if one person is on a spiritual path but is in relationship with someone who is not? What is possible in relationships that are influenced by a spiritual journey? What are the limitations? How can the relationship itself be “The Guru?” How do you know when you’ve exhausted your options for healing, and it’s time to cut your losses and move on? What does it even mean to be “spiritual” in your relationships? And what are the pitfalls we can encounter when our spiritual practices get in the way? These are some of the questions we will be exploring together, and your input will be invaluable.

Module 2: Commitment: The Soul’s Prison or an Alchemical Crucible?
Led by Lissa and Anne Davin, PhD

When we enter into marriage, we promise to stay together until death parts us. But is this kind of promise possible when two people are changing over the course of a lifetime? What happens if two souls learn what they are meant to learn together and then find it is time to part ways? What about loyalty? What about using the difficult times that inevitably arise in relationships to be a crucible of transformation and an exploration of deep intimacy? How do you know when it’s time to stick it out and let your ego and your pride be dismantled by the relationship, and how do you know when to choose self-respect and the freedom of the unbridled soul by leaving the relationship? What if you are committed to a relationship but it becomes abusive? What if your values fly in the face of what is being asked of you by your soul? Is there a way to avoid the temptation to go “all or nothing” in intimate relationships? Can you dial a relationship up when trust is solid and dial it down when trust is betrayed without ending the relationship or violating your own boundaries? In a culture with a 50% divorce rate, how might we deal with commitment, marriage, family values, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to return to love without sacrificing the integrity of the soul or limiting our spiritual growth? Such will be the deep inquiry of this module, facilitated by Lissa and depth psychologist Anne Davin, whose experience living in an indigenous community while married to a tribal member of the Taos Pueblo informs her views on relationships and who also brings much depth, mysticism, interest in feminine spirituality, and experience as a therapist to the conversation.

Anne Davin, PhD, is a depth psychologist with 30 years of clinical and organizational psychology expertise. She is the past director of the nation’s largest comprehensive systems change project for the California State Department of Education. She also directed the Alcohol and other Drug Studies program for the University of California, Santa Barbara Extension, in addition to providing training and clinical supervision for university psychology programs, Marriage and Family Therapist interns, and volunteer crisis workers. Anne maintains a private counseling and coaching practice for local and international clients.

Module 3: When Others Don't Want You to Wake Up
Led by Lissa and Joan Borysenko, PhD

When you’re deeply committed to the spiritual path, you may find that others really don’t want you to wake up. Maybe your entire friendship was built on eating ice cream together, but now you’re committed to conscious eating and you’ve gone vegan. Maybe all you did was gossip together, but now you’ve gotten out of your victim story, and it doesn’t feel good to gossip. Maybe you were the perfect key wound to his lock wound, but now you want to heal the wound instead, and he doesn’t. What do you do? How do you save those relationships? There’s a conscious way to commit to your soul path without alienating your entire social circle, but even when you navigate this process with supreme sensitivity and consciousness, you may find that those you love are dropping off faster than you can handle the emotional rollercoaster of loss and grief. How happens to friendships and family relationships when you’re on the spiritual fast track? You may find yourself struggling through challenging times of loneliness as you deepen your spiritual journey. How do we navigate this time of loneliness consciously? How can we keep our fear of abandonment, rejection, and social isolation from holding us back on the spiritual path? How can we find comfort when it feels like everyone is leaving? How can we resist grasping for what we want or resisting what we don’t want? How do we find peace as our vibration shifts and relationships change? Buried within this conversation is one of the core principles of spiritual life. When you learn this one tool, everything changes. As a psychologist, longtime spiritual practitioner, participant in many diverse relationships that have grown her, and holder of deep feminine wisdom, Joan Borysenko has a lot to say about relationships, and we’ll be blessed to have her wisdom facilitating this module.

joanJoan Borysenko PhD, is a distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine and a world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection. Best-selling author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, her work has been foundational in an international health-care revolution that recognizes the role of meaning, and the spiritual dimensions of life, as an integral part of health and healing. Eloquent and inspiring in settings that range from hospitals to hospices, from theaters to conference venues, and from boardrooms to houses of worship, she is a credible bridge between faith and reason. Her brilliance, humor, and authenticity—in combination with the latest research—make her a compelling and inspiring speaker and writer.

Dr. Borysenko is the author or co-author of 13 other books and numerous audio and video programs, including the Public Television special Inner Peace for Busy People, she is the Founding Partner of Mind/Body Health Sciences, LLC located in Boulder, Colorado and the Director of The Claritas Institute Interspiritual Mentor Training Program.  

Module 4: Spiritual Bypassing & Transformation Through Intimacy
Led by Lissa and Robert Augustus Masters, PhD

When we are committed to the spiritual path, it is a common mistake to inadvertently apply spiritual principles to how we navigate relationships in a way that can actually harm us or damage the relationship. Psychologist Robert Masters, author of Spiritual Bypassing and Transformation Through Intimacy, will help us discuss how to deal with conflict consciously, how to deepen intimacy, and how to avoid the common “spiritual bypassing” techniques that can lead to conflict avoidance, poor boundary setting, “blind compassion” and “neurotic tolerance,” and even abuse. In many ascetic spiritual paths, intimate relationships have been viewed as a lesser alternative to spiritual life, with those who are married or have families dismissed as mere “householders.” Yet more and more, we are finding that relationships can actually enhance our spiritual growth. Too often we pull away when relationships become difficult, missing out on the rewards of connecting more profoundly in a way that allows us to witness the divinity in another and having it witnessed in ourselves. So many of us who approach relationships as a spiritual practice find ourselves in difficult relationships that simultaneously challenge us and help us grow. So how do we handle these relationships consciously? How do we milk these relationships for all they’re worth without putting ourselves at risk of boundary violations or even abuse? How do we know when it’s time to cut our losses and walk away? When is it useful to use spiritual practices to help us “transcend” our everyday difficulties and when is it spiritual bypassing? Dr. Masters will discuss intimate relationships through a four-stage lens: me-centered, we-centered codependent, we-centered coindependent, and being-centered. Bring your questions, your confusion, your insights, and your wisdom to this vibrant conversation!

robert1Robert Augustus Masters, PhD, is an integral psychotherapist, relationship expert, and trainer of healing professionals. His work blends the psychological and emotional with the spiritual. He holds a doctorate in Psychology and is the author of 14 books, most recently Emotional Intimacy and To Be a Man, and numerous essays. In 2000 his essay “Wrathful Compassion” won the Editor’s Award for the best article of the year in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. In 2011 Robert and Diane established the Masters Center for Transformation, a school through which their work and teachings can be optimally shared and embodied.

Module 5: When You’re Single & Wish You Weren’t
Led by Lissa and Katherine Woodward Thomas

So many on the spiritual path find themselves without a committed romantic partner. Why is this? How do we deal with the longing for union with the human beloved when we’re still without the partner of our dreams? Calling in The One and Conscious Uncoupling author Katherine Woodward Thomas will help us explore a series of questions that relate to conscious co-creation in relationships. Is finding “The One” all about attracting the right person? Or is it more about becoming the person who will magnetize the Beloved? Do we need to practice our “law of attraction” practices? Or do we need to surrender and let go of attachment to outcomes? Or both? How do we avoid the ego’s desperate grasping for that which we desire so deeply without demonizing our deepest desires? How do we surrender this yearning to the Divine and trust Divine Will even if it means being alone? How do we consciously hold both the vulnerability of the longing and the trust in surrender in paradox, avoiding the tendency to either force the wrong relationship into being or the tendency to use the spiritual bypass to skip the pain of the deep longing? Is there anything we can do to facilitate calling in “The One?” Or are we meant to let go completely and give up our dream of partnership in resignation? Is the story of “The One” outdated, or is a new story emerging that allows us to have many “The Ones?” One Facebook reader asked the following question. “One of my greatest challenges is dealing with this idea floating in the self-help yoga spiritual world that if you do all the internal work and you are ready, then your soulmate manifests like magic, the implication being that those who are partnered are more spiritually evolved and those of us who are single are just lousy on the spiritual front. I resent this idea so much, because I am seriously committed to working with my stuff, and I've uncovered so much in myself already. Plus this thought creates cognitive dissonance for me, because I can see so many partnered people with tons of unresolved issues who are not even bothering to work with them because, the saying goes, ‘the work is done to find a partner, and the presence of a partner means you are evolved already.’” Bring your stories and questions, and we’ll explore this topic together.

Katherine-Woodward-Thomas-pressKatherine Woodward Thomas, M.A., MFT is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After and the national bestseller, Calling in “The One:” 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and teacher to hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the globe in her virtual learning communities.

She is the co-creator of the Calling in “The One” and Feminine Power online courses, as well as certified coaches trainings, the originator of the Conscious Uncoupling process and creator of the Conscious Uncoupling online course and certified coaches training. To date, Katherine has trained and certified hundreds of coaches in her highly transformative work. Katherine has appeared on The Today Show, the Mike & Juliet Show and Good Day L.A., and her work has been featured in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The London Times, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, People magazine, Women’s Health and many other media outlets throughout the world.

Module 6: Monogamy, Polyamory & Infidelity
Led by Lissa and Ted Esser, PhD

The story of the romantic dyad is a strong program in our culture. Boy meets girl, they get married, and they live happily ever after without ever being attracted to another, without being tempted sexually, and without ever falling in love outside the monogamous union. Or boy meets boy, girl meets girl, and they enjoy monogamous bliss. But this idea of “The One” doesn’t seem to be working so well for many in our culture. Half of marriages end in divorce, and even many of the ones that don’t are affected by the betrayals of infidelity. As conscious beings committed to a spiritual path, how do we deal with this? Is monogamy the only path to conscious romantic relationships? What about the path of polyamory? Is that a true spiritual path or is it just a way to use spiritual language to cover up sex addiction or intimacy avoidance? What about family values and the effect of divorce and infidelity on children? How can we follow the freedom the soul yearns for without sacrificing our values? How do we avoid letting the programming of our culture impart a certain “fascism of the soul” on our sexuality and relationships? Is it possible to use the pain of infidelity to grow closer—or is this always a time to set and enforce boundaries? What about forgiveness when your trust is betrayed? What about standing up for yourself and refusing to let someone cheat? What would it mean to offer those we love—and ourselves—freedom to love who we love? What kinds of boundaries would need to be in place in order for such agreements to work consciously? Does monogamy ever work without requiring one or both parties to compromise the truth of the soul? Does polyamory ever work without repetitive painful triggers that lead to heartbreak or without intimacy bypassing? Join Lissa and her spiritual counselor transpersonal psychologist Ted Esser, PhD for a conversation that is sure to be enlivening, controversial and juicy. Neither Lissa nor Ted consider themselves experts in alternative relationships, but we trust that the wisdom in this community will guide us towards a conscious exploration of the cutting-edge of relationships.

tedeTed Esser has been the Director of the Spiritual Emergence Network (founded by Stan and Christina Grof in 1980) for eight years. He has had training and experience with several spiritual traditions in both hemispheres, with expertise in the areas of lucid dreaming, kundalini, nonduality, altered states of consciousness, and other things transpersonal.

He is an Adjunct Professor teaching graduate-level Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Philosophy, Theory, and Research Methods courses at Sofia University (formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) and Consciousness & Dream Studies courses at John F. Kennedy University.

He holds BA & BFA degrees in Communications (New Media) & Photography (Video Art) from the University of Washington, and an MA in Philosophy & Religion (Philosophy, Cosmology & Consciousness program ) and a PhD from the East/West Psychology program (Consciousness Studies track) from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is married with three children in Marin County, CA where he has a spiritual counseling practice.

Module 7: Soulmates, Twin Flames, Unibeings & Woundmates
Led by Lissa

When Lissa and Dennis met at a Christmas party at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 2013, the two scientists had no idea what was about to hit them. Within a month of meeting each other, they entered into a mystical realm neither even thought was possible. Laws of physics were being broken. Experiences they didn’t understand cognitively were happening. Dennis, who woke up psychic, channeling, and paranoid, ran away, scared that Lissa had put a spell on him. Dennis’s “spiritual emergency” became a gateway into a relationship others have described as a “twin flame” or “unibeing” relationship. Since then, hundreds of other unusual partnerings have reached out to express a desire to talk about “twin flame” relationships, which some describe as one soul split into two bodies. A “twin flame” is not necessarily the same as what people describe as a “soulmate,” and it can be hard to differentiate from what Jeff Brown describes as a “woundmate.” Regardless of what you call it, it's clear that some relationships are here as catalysts to growth. Some people in our lives are what Lissa calls "Love School Angels" and some are "Love School Testers." If someone you love is testing you, requiring you to put into practice all of your spiritual tools in order to stay engaged, this module will be right up your alley. But be willing to be challenged. Relationships like this can also cause us to employ "spiritual bypass" techniques that keep us engaged because our boundaries are loose and we struggle to access a strong "NO." Show up for this module with your questions and stories about those relationships that test your capacity to give and receive unconditional love- not just for others, but for yourself.

Module 8: Spiritual Surrender & Conscious Break Ups
Led by Lissa and Tosha Silver

It’s easy to practice our spiritual values when we’re in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. But what about when things get rough? What if things don’t go as planned? What happens when we grow apart or experience betrayals and conflict? What if it’s time to break up? Is it possible to break up and stay in love? Is it possible to navigate the minefields of divorce without turning into raving lunatics who forget our spiritual practices when we become afraid and feel threatened? What if you’re going through a divorce and you’re committed to unconditional love and forgiveness, but your partner is trying to screw you? What if the legal system is making you forget everything you learned from your spiritual teachings? What if you’re so reactive during a break up—whether it’s a marriage, a business partnership, a friendship, or a family tie that’s breaking—that you lose touch with your deep soul truth? How do we return to love while still protecting ourselves during the end of a relationship? How might we reframe the break-up, so it’s not viewed as a failure, but rather as the end of a spiritual teaching and the conscious dissolution of a soul agreement? How might we move consciously through anger, judgment, hurt, and disappointment, not by bypassing those painful feelings, but by feeling them fully and letting those energies move through us so we can return to love? Facilitated by Lissa and Outrageous Openness & Change Me Prayers author Tosha Silver, who offered spiritual counseling to Lissa through her divorce, we will dive into the uncomfortable realms of how to be true to your essence, even when you’re most triggered. Bring your stories of surrender in relationship, and tell us what happened when you finally let go of positioning for what you wanted or resisting what you didn’t want. Tell us your break up stories and join us to engage in conversation about how to traverse the dicey territory of conflict and break ups consciously.

toshaTosha Silver graduated from Yale with a degree in English Literature but along the way fell madly in love with yogic philosophy. For the past 30 years she has taught people around the world ways to align with Inner Love. She’s the author of Outrageous Openness and the recently released Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender. She lives near San Francisco, where she runs an online school about these ideas called, “Living Outrageous Openness: Think Like a Goddess”. This offers an ongoing way to support those who truly want to live these beautiful, ancient practices. She particularly enjoys finding fresh, funny ways to invite and embrace the Divine, while avoiding conventional jargon and cliches at all cost. 

She particularly enjoys finding fresh, funny ways to invite and embrace the Divine, while avoiding conventional jargon and cliches at all cost. She loves how the sacred and the mundane are truly One. The guidance from the Inner Divine begins to lead when it is sincerely invited . . . by anyone.

Module 9: “The Space Between Stories” in Relationships
Led by Lissa and Charles Eisenstein

As our culture wakes up together, the nature of relationships is changing, and this can be confusing. Fewer and fewer relationships fit in the old boxes established by the patriarchy. Does marriage still make sense, or is it part of what Charles Eisenstein would call “the old story?” Is the story of “The One” still valid? What about relationships that don’t fit in a culturally acceptable box? What if you love someone deeply and the love doesn’t fit in a standard checklist of appropriate relationship models? What if you’re married and you fall in love with someone who isn’t your spouse? What if someone has no blood relationship to you but you feel like they’re family? What if you’re so intimate with a friend that it goes beyond the average friendship? What if you’re straight but you feel an erotic charge with someone of the same sex, or what if you’re gay and you feel yourself attracted to the opposite sex? What if you feel strong feelings of love for your clients? What if you fall in love with your guru or spiritual teacher? How do we handle these kinds of complicated relationships in a conscious way? What about our values and morals? What about healthy boundaries? What happens when your whole identity of who you are and what kind of person you think yourself to be gets shattered by one of these “out of the box” relationships? In this module, I’ll be calling upon the wisdom and experience of Charles Eisenstein, the author of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. We’ll discuss what it means to be in “the space between stories” in many of our relationships as we evolve as individuals and as the culture remakes itself. Your input, your stories, your vulnerability, and your insights will be needed in order to explore this topic.


Private Facebook Group

You will be invited to join a private Facebook group where you will have the opportunity to dialogue on Facebook during the live modules, and the team will be screening this dialogue to follow the flow of the direction of the dialogue on the live calls. You will also have the opportunity to dive deeper into these conversations together and to interact with one another in between calls. You never know where new friendships, romances, and soul tribe connections will arise!

BONUS Module 1: “Expectation Hangovers” in Relationships
Led by Lissa and Christine Hassler

If we’re all supposed to meet “The One” and live happily ever after, stay close with all our family members, cultivate friendships that last a lifetime, and be in conscious relationships with all our colleagues, how come life is so full of disappointment in relationships? How do we have navigate the “expectation hangovers” that accompany relationships? It can be tempting to use spiritual tools to bypass the pain of disappointment or to negate such feelings, judging them as “unspiritual.” But disappointment hurts—and we are beautifully human with sensitive hearts. So how do we navigate the pain of disappointment consciously? Perhaps when the ego gets everything it wants, it doesn’t grow much. Yet perhaps the soul grows most when we are disappointed. Still, we can’t use the awareness of soul growth as a spiritual bypass to avoid dealing with painful feelings like disappointment. How can we use disappointment in relationships to alchemize transformation while also treating ourselves gently and with compassion? It doesn’t work to spiritually bully ourselves, trying to force ourselves to let go before we’re ready. But it also doesn’t work to stay stuck in our victim stories. How might we hold space for both seemingly conflicting truths? Expectation Hangover Christine Hassler will help us explore this topic gently.

BONUS Module 2: Sacred Sexuality
Led by Lissa and Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD

In many Western religions, sex is perceived as profane, while spirituality is sacred. Sex happens below the waist, but spirituality happens above the neck, right? Yet this sexuality/spirituality split happens more in the West than in the East. In many Eastern cultures, sex and spirituality are seen as inseparable. Most likely, you have at least glimpsed this possibility in your own sexuality, when the borders between two humans can dissolve and you feel yourself becoming One with another human being, when you gaze into the eyes of your beloved and you see God or Goddess, mirrored back to you through the eyes of Love Itself. How can we be separate from God when we are coming into such deep union with another human being? Why has the church threatened to cut us off from sexuality as an ecstatic path to the Divine? What would it mean if we embraced sexuality fully as part of our spiritual practice, not just in sexual union with another, but in our own masturbation practices? What if we can make love to the God within ourselves in a conscious way? As a physician, wife, and co-author of The Multi-Orgasmic Woman about Taoist sexuality with Mantak Chia, Rachel Carlton Abrams will surely have many gifts of wisdom to share with us as we dive into this stimulating, sexy territory together.

BONUS Module 3: When Death Doesn’t Part You
Led by Lissa and Kris Carlson

What happens when you love someone so deeply and with such a purity of heart connection that you cannot be cleaved, even by death? Heart Broken Open author Kris Carlson experiences this ever since her husband Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, died unexpectedly a decade ago, leaving behind his young wife and two children. How do we handle it when death doesn’t end a relationship? How can we navigate the loss of a loved one in a conscious way? If love never ends, why does it hurt so much to lose someone’s physical presence? How do we allow the heartbreak of grief and loss to break us open rather than shut us down? When you’ve experienced repetitive heartbreak, whether through death or breaking up, how do you keep the heart open and resist the temptation to lock down the heart? How do you avoid what Brene Brown calls “foreboding joy,” that tendency to shut down your joy because you can’t stand the vulnerability of how much you have to lose? What does it mean to keep giving your loved ones permission to break your heart, even when you’re experiencing so much pain? What if your dead loved one still communicates with you? Does that mean you’re crazy or in denial, or is it true that love never ends? When is it time to move one and let go? As conscious, evolving beings of love, how can we handle the pain in a way that grows us, rather than contracts us? We’ve all lost loved ones, whether through death, abandonment, or rejection. These painful soul lessons are potent opportunities to move through the pain, to let the pain course through your body and your heart like waves of the ocean, and to let the pain soften the soil around your heart so your heart can blossom.the pain, to let the pain course through your body and your heart like waves of the ocean, and to let the pain soften the soil around your heart so your heart can blossom.

BONUS MODULE 4: The Divine Feminine & The Sacred Masculine
Led by Lissa

What does it mean to be a conscious man in support of the Divine Feminine? What does it mean to be a woman moving beyond the “profane feminine” shadow into the archetype of the Divine Feminine? When the feminine is rising, how can men step fully into the masculine in a way that doesn’t further support the out of balance patriarchy? What about those with gender fluidity? Is it all about biological gender, or are we all meant to balance the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine within us? Let’s explore this sometimes touchy subject of gender roles with consciousness, openness, curiosity, and the willingness to not know.

BONUS MODULE 5: Calling In Your Soul Tribe
Led by Lissa and Lisette Schuitemaker of the Findhorn Foundation

Relationships aren’t just about two people. They’re about networks of people who come together and exchange as cells in one larger body of humanity. When we are socially isolated, our nervous systems go into 'fight or flight’, the body’s self-healing mechanisms are disabled, and we become prone to illness, depression and what the shamans call 'soul sickness.’ Loneliness is the #1 public health issue in our society right now. Yet we have a choice. In this module, we’ll dive into inquiry around this topic. What lies at the root of loneliness? Why is it possible to feel lonelier when you’re surrounded by crowds of people than when you’re alone? If social isolation is bad for the body, what about introverts? Is it better to be in community? And what about living with the “wrong” people—is that an option or is it preferable then to be alone? How do we find the friends of our soul, rather than the friends of our ego? What if you’re single and live alone? What can you do to call in your soul tribe? Why do so many feel so helpless in the face of their loneliness? What can we do as conscious, caring beings to help ease the loneliness of others? Is the 'cure' for loneliness an inside job or an outside job—or both? To facilitate this conversation, I’m inviting Lisette Schuitemaker to join me. Lisette is chair of the board of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, which is one of the longest running intentional communities and ecovillages in the world. We’ll discuss her concept of “othering” and “enemy-making” and how we can choose to shift from “me consciousness” to “we consciousnsess.” We also hope to hear from those of you who have found unique ways to call in your soul tribe. We are all in this together.

Register for Relationships on the Spiritual Path

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If you’re not sure whether this program is right for you, we suggest you surrender it to the Universe, then pay attention to any guidance that shows up. We trust that your body’s wisdom, your intuition, synchronicity, your dreams, messages from other people, and other forms of spiritual guidance will help you know whether this program is right for you. Trust yourself and don’t let the Gremlins talk you out of what your heart knows is true for you. We trust that the right people will be drawn into this soul tribe. If you’re one of them, WELCOME!

With love and gratitude,

Lissa & the Relationships on the Spiritual Path crew