It’s time for another blog about relationships. It’s always a popular subject although I encourage you to think of “relationships” as all of your relationships with other people and perhaps also the relationship you have with yourself. People are so torn up inside that they often have multiple aspects of themselves, which all offer you lessons and mirrors about yourself. But without going too deep into that level at the moment, I think most of you know that a lot of unhealthy things currently exist in relationships. Typically, the closer you are to someone, the more issues get ignited and brought up. It’s kind of a pressure cooker to be really close to someone and spend a lot of time with them. That’s often the way romantic relationships are, so in this post, I want to turn your attention to the amazing opportunity that these and other relationships present.

What Are Karmic Relationships?
I think I’ve been spending a lot of my time in recent blogs defining stuff, but that’s okay. I’m often using words in different ways than they’ve been used, so I want to make sure we’re relatively on the same page. In general, there’s lots of misunderstandings between people who think they’re saying the same things and are using the same words. So if there’s ever a question that you have about how I’m using a word, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll do my best to clarify.

Oh, right. What’s a karmic relationship? It’s about 96% of all relationships going on. It’s a relationship brought together in the interests of facing mutual or counterbalancing karmas and/or issues. And these relationships are unconsciously formed. I don’t know too many people who choose friends based on how much they’ll help kick them in the butt and force them to grow. For karma, I’m not necessarily talking about it as a past life thing, although it can be. I don’t like to get down into those nuances initially because the first step for many of you will be to notice what relationships you’ve brought to you. The ones with mutual karmas will be those where you and a friend, partner, colleague, or whoever both have the same issue. Maybe you’re both afraid to date the people you want to date. Maybe you both are very soft-spoken and are afraid to use your voices. That’s an example of mutual karmas. A counter-balancing or matching karma is where a specific dynamic is at play. So the mother’s son who is very weak-willed is in a relationship with a very controlling Type A woman. The hidden gift is that he’s found someone who can teach him about how to stand up for himself, and she’s found someone who’s going to teach her about how to let go of control.

Of course the problem in 99% of these situations is that the people don’t know that they’re doing any of this.

Bringing Awareness to Your Relationships
This is why I said that step one is bringing awareness to your relationships. Until you understand who you’re drawing to yourself and why, it’s going to be tough to make changes for yourself within those relationships. Naturally, you should also be drawing attention right back to yourself. Many of these relationships should be viewed as mirrors no matter how good, bad, or down right ugly they look. You can use the many relationships in your life as amazing tools to see different aspects of yourself. Where you see repeated themes (all your friends feel powerless and controlled), you most likely have the same issue. Even when that issue may hide behind being very controlling, you too have the same issue, and these relationships are your many opportunities to work them out if you choose to do so and sometimes even if you don’t. Life occasionally pulls some of us along to do the work regardless of any intellectual decisions we make. It’s best to just go with it and to make the conscious decision to work on these things; it can help make things a little less messy in the long run. Or not. 🙂

Can’t Run Away From Yourself
But of course many of you don’t think you’re just operating in karma. You’ve got nice friends and a nice romantic partner, and in general, you think your life is just fine. Great. There’s a new dog video up somewhere on the Internet. Go watch that instead of reading this blog.

Still here?

Okay. Well, you must still be here for a reason, so there must be some part of you that doesn’t want to run away to a puppy video just yet. And that’s a start. It may put you light-years ahead of most other people who run from one relationship to the next. It’s especially bad in romantic relationships. Things get hot; people see parts of themselves in their partners that they don’t like see–or heck they may finally actually SEE who their partner really is when one of their projected illusions about the person breaks down; and then they bail. It doesn’t give anyone a chance to learn, grow, and complete in the relationship. Which usually means the person goes and finds someone who is very similar to teach them the same lessons.

Completing in a relationship doesn’t generally mean flipping someone the bird (a nasty American gesture meaning “fuck you”) and driving off. Completion is very neutral. It’s a beautiful space where you feel very at peace that you’re done in a relationship. Usually most people can’t even be with that because the ego will run in with 19 reasons why you should stay or why this is now running away. But you’ll know and feel the difference.

Doing Your Own Work: The Right Partners Will Appear
Because everyone is busy worrying about having the right romantic partners to do spiritual work, we’ll start there. But I have to emphasize that EVERY relationship in your life is important as a mirror, and some things may be easier to work out through a friendship than in a romantic partnership. Some issues need the intensity of romantic partnership to burn up or to be forced out of hiding. We’re really good at hiding too in this society. So our crappiest and shittiest stuff can hide out way down at the bottom of the internal well of ours, and until someone and some situation squeezes the Hell out of us, it won’t come up (I sure am swearing a lot; guess, it’s just getting real today). Seriously, this stuff doesn’t want to go even though you ultimately do want to let it go even if you don’t know it now.

But you can’t expect your current romantic partner to want to do this work, and it’s not okay to try and force anyone to do this type of work. Your job is to notice when you get really upset and to spend time through meditation, spiritual friends, journaling, and what-not to get to the root of why something upset you. Saying that so-and-so is just being “a dick” doesn’t count. So long as there isn’t physical violence (in those situations, you just have to leave this person; you’re not a punching bag), most of what people do is ego-bash each other. So pay attention to what feels hurt or invalidated. Why did you need to feel validated by this other person? No one is always going to like you or everything that you do. It’s just not how this world works.

Gathering Your New Friends and Spiritual Community
In a recent newsletter, I talked about the importance of spiritual community and how you can create one for yourself. A spiritual community can simply be you and your mother. It doesn’t have to be an ashram full of people or a convent somewhere. Usually at the outset, you don’t have a lot of people who want to do this work with you. You’re going to have to go and seek others out, and that alone will take you outside of your comfort zone. You can start by paying attention to what makes you feel comfortable in a relationship and why. You can pay attention to what new people feel “safe” to you. What is safety? What does that mean? Is it just familiarity? If so, then most of that is probably built out of experiences with your family growing up, which may or may not actually be nourishing and healthy for you. There’s so much to pay attention to in relationships. You can notice how you:

  • Get into relationships
  • Participate in relationships
  • Decide to leave a relationship
  • Actually leave a relationship

As I said, this isn’t just romance. This is all relationships, and this can tell you a lot about yourself and the karmas and issues that you have to work on.

Evolving Into New Relationships
The beauty of this work is that you will evolve and be able to participate in different relationships. The relationships I engage in now are very different from 5 years ago. A lot of that is because of letting go of old karmas and issues. As you go, you get more freedom in how you actually choose relationships. The old projections that you put on different people start to become more obvious, and you break those patterns. You start to see people more for who they really are even if they don’t really see you. Then, it becomes a much more powerful relationship to connect with others because you know what you’re about and why you’re connecting. It also becomes more and more about choice.

You see, love is the easy part. Many of you who are awakening will go or are going through a deep time of intense love for everyone. The more you make space for that, the more love simply is what is. It’s everywhere and in everyone and everything. But instead of meaning that you just want to love everyone, you actually become very discerning about your needs in relationships and what relationships you want around you. You can clearly see what relationships are most true for you and other people, and you’ll naturally gravitate towards that type of relationship. If the relationship is a business relationship, that’s what will start to be created through the situations that show up. If it’s a romantic relationship, then that’s what will start to grow. You won’t be forcing or controlling anything, but you will be choosing and guiding things as appropriate. It’s a brand new type of relationship for much of the world, and it is the carrot that is being held out on a stick in front of all of us.

Letting Go of Old Patterns
However, there’s a lot of work to be done. If you’re new to this blog (or even if you’re not), I really recommend checking out my Starting Out section. Few people can just let go of karma and be done with it. We all are way too much like velcro; everything gets latched on to us. But as I said, the gift of karmic relationships is that they’re offering you the very opportunities you need to figure out your issues. All the people right now who are in your life are the perfect teachers to help you break out of the shell of ignorance and karma and to move into the light and love of your true self. So the next time you are upset that you don’t have the right friends or romantic partner, stop and be grateful. Be grateful and pay attention, and if you truly are ready to grow and let go of old pains, then these people are your most sacred and important helpers to doing just that.


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. You can't run away from yourself. Boy, I know that because I spent decades trying! Finally figured it out because I got too tired to try anymore! A wealth of wisdom in this post. Now I try to see the lesson in all my relationships.

  2. Thanks, for the comment, Galen. No. None of us can run away from ourselves. That's why we have to turn and look into the mirrors–all the people we've attracted into our lives–and see what there is to see. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing.

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