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Accepting the Universal Law of Relationships

by Kevin B. Burk, author of The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life.

When I teach the Relationship Workshops, I always tell people that the Universal Law of Relationships is the single most important piece of information they will receive in the workshop. I also let them know that it’s also the single most difficult concept to accept, let alone to embrace.

The Universal Law of Relationships is not hyperbole, and it most definitely deserves the capital letters. The Universal Law of Relationships is a Universal Law. It is on par with the Universal Law of Gravity. Whether or not we accept it or understand it doesn’t change the fact that it’s absolutely unbreakable and applies to everyone and everything equally.

This doesn’t mean that we have to take it on faith, of course. We may never fully understand the reason for a Universal Law, but we can certainly learn more about how it works, if not why.We have a rather extensive body of knowledge that allows us to work with and make use of the Universal Law of Gravity, for example. The Universal Law of Relationships is a little harder to prove, because it moves beyond the physical into the metaphysical, but we can still expand our understanding of how it functions by investigating it.

The Universal Law of Relationships states that our partners in relationship are our mirrors: They reflect our own issues back to us. In other words, it’s NEVER about the other person. No matter what we perceive as the problem in any relationship, it’s ALWAYS our own stuff.

The first thing to remember is that the Universal Law of Relationships operates in the (big “R”) Reality, which includes the truth that there is no separation, and that all of creation, the entire Universe, in fact, is an integral part of All That Is. While we’re having our human experiences, we live in the (little “r”) reality where we experience the illusion of separation. The (big “R”) reality is the only thing that is, in fact, Real. By definition, then in relationship, we’re experiencing our own issues, since we are individualized aspects of All That Is; we’re always relating to different aspects of ourselves.

Or, put another way, it’s always our own stuff in relationship because in the (big “R”) reality, ALL stuff is, by definition, ours.

(It occurs to me that since all Universal Laws operate in the (big “R”) Reality, that the truth that all that is is All That Is may be the reason for the Universal Law of Gravity as well. Quantum physicists (who are becoming more metaphysical with each new revelation) may well be on the road to proving this one day. But I digress.)

I appreciate that this may still be too abstract of a concept to integrate, so let’s move to the other end of the spectrum.

The concept of “projection” is well documented in the field of psychology. Projection occurs when we are unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for some part of ourselves. We consciously deny this facet of our personality, but we unconsciously project it on others. The result is that we tend to attract and encounter people who seem to embody the very qualities we most despise and wish to avoid.

This, too, has a basis in metaphysical law. The Law of Correspondences states: “As above, so below. As within, so without.” In practical use, it means that if we don’t address our issues internally, we’ll experience them in the external world.

Let’s consider this from a practical perspective. I learned many years ago that I had two options when someone pushed one of my buttons. My instinctive choice, of course, was to react, essentially demanding that the person stop pushing my button. Eventually, however, I discovered that I had another, far more effective option. I could choose to respond.The fact that my button was being pushed made me aware that I had a button. When I took responsibility for that button—when I owned it, I could then choose to address it. Once I investigated and integrated that particular button, it could no longer be pushed by anyone. By taking responsibility for my own issues, I was able to transform my experience of my (little “r”) reality, and the same behavior that used to make me angry and upset no longer bothered me at all.

I had learned how to work with the Universal Law of Relationships.

Here’s one more reason why the Universal Law of Relationships works. It’s always our own stuff because we can never know what another person’s experience of (little “r”) reality is. All we have are our own perceptions, judgments, and stories, and the only thing we can ever know for certain is that these perceptions, judgments and stories are true for us, based on our own (little “r”) reality. Our experiences have no objective truth, because when viewed from the perspective of the (big “R”) Reality, they’re nothing but shadows. Our experiences are entirely rooted in our belief that we are separate, and the Truth is that there is no separation.

This, in and of itself, is often a difficult concept to accept. We naturally assume that our experience of reality is Real. This assumption, however, contains two significant errors. The first error is that we assume that our (little “r”) reality is, in fact the (big “R”) Reality. The second error follows the first: since we assume that our (little “r”) reality is the (big “R”) Reality, we also assume that our (little “r”) reality is universal, and shared by everyone. The truth, however, is that our experience of reality is entirely subjective, personal, and changeable. All we have to do to change the world is to change the words.

This is also the reason that in the nine and a half years that I’ve been counseling people on their relationships, I’ve worked with less than four couples. The only time I will do couples counseling is if both individuals ask to work with me—and then, before I’ll work with them as a couple, I require at least one private session each with them as individuals. I personally don’t believe that couples therapy is at all effective unless each individual is willing and able to accept responsibility for his or her own experiences of the relationship.

It’s NEVER about the other person.

This is such a difficult concept to embrace because we create such convincing stories and such powerful judgments that keep us from seeing and accepting the truth. We firmly believe that our partners need to change their behavior because their behavior is fundamentally wrong, and we rarely consider the truth that this is simply our personal opinion.

We can never know with absolute certainty what motivates another person. We can never know with absolute certainty that something is wrong. “Right” and “wrong” do not exist; they are simply judgments. All that we can ever know is that something is. How we respond or react to that fact is entirely our own choice.

(Byron Katie has created a process she calls “The Work” which helps people to lean to love reality. I highly recommend her book, Loving What Is. It’s exceptionally loving, compassionate and powerful, and it can make it much easier to accept and embrace things like the Universal Law of Relationships.)

The hardest thing for most of us to do is to accept responsibility for our lives. The simple truth is that we created our (little “r”) reality through our thoughts, our words, and our choices. We find this difficult and often painful to accept because we hold judgments about our choices and our lives.

We chose and created our experience of every single relationship in our lives. Our relationships are designed to help us to learn our spiritual lessons in the most effective and efficient way possible. And all of our spiritual lessons are designed to help us to reconnect with and experience the (big “R”) Realty that we are individualized aspects of All That Is, and that all pain and all separation is nothing more than illusion.

Our partners in relationship are our mirrors: They reflect our own issues back to us. It’s NEVER about the other person. It’s all our own stuff, because it’s ALL our own stuff. And when we own this truth, we reclaim the power to experience the kinds of relationships that we truly desire and deserve.

Kevin B. Burk is the author of The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life. Visit for a FREE Report on creating Amazing Relationships.

©2006 Kevin B. Burk, all rights reserved. If you would like to reprint this article in your publication, web page, or eZine (which you may do for free!), click here for details.


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