How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Most people think of love as a feeling," says David Richo, "but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present." In this book, Richo offers a fresh perspective on love and relationships—one that focuses not on finding an ideal mate, but on becoming a more loving ...

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How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving

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Overview

"Most people think of love as a feeling," says David Richo, "but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present." In this book, Richo offers a fresh perspective on love and relationships—one that focuses not on finding an ideal mate, but on becoming a more loving and realistic person.
Drawing on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness,
How to Be an Adult in Relationships

explores five hallmarks of mindful loving and how they play a key role in our relationships throughout life:

  1. Attention
    to the present moment; observing, listening, and noticing all the feelings at play in our relationships.
  2. Acceptance
    of ourselves and others just as we are.
  3. Appreciation
    of all our gifts, our limits, our longings, and our poignant human predicament.
  4. Affection
    shown through holding and touching in respectful ways.
  5. Allowing
    life and love to be just as they are, with all their ecstasy and ache, without trying to take control.

When deeply understood and applied, these five simple concepts—what Richo calls the five A's—form the basis of mature love. They help us to move away from judgment, fear, and blame to a position of openness, compassion, and realism about life and relationships. By giving and receiving these five A's,
relationships become deeper and more meaningful, and they become a ground for personal transformation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Approaching the study of relationships from a psychotherapist's perspective is How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving. Teacher and writer David Richo gives practical and spiritual exercises for couples and singles who want to have mature and lasting relationships. Emphasizing paying attention and letting go, Richo gently and compassionately coaches readers on what he calls the five A's: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing. His book, which proposes "letting go of ego," will help those seeking personal transformation in their relationships. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“An inspiring and highly practical guide to effective relationships.”—Kathlyn Hendricks, coauthor of Conscious Loving and The Conscious Heart
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834821033
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 51,929
  • File size: 659 KB

Meet the Author

David Richo, PhD, is a psychotherapist, teacher, writer, and workshop leader whose work emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness and loving-kindness in personal growth and emotional well-being. He is the author of numerous books, including How to Be an Adult in Relationships and The Five Things We Cannot Change. He lives in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, California.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

To have loved alone will not suffice

Unless we also have been wise

And have our loves enjoyed.

—Sir
John Suckling

Love is the possibility of possibilities.

Its farthest reach is beyond us, no matter how long we love or how much. It will always remain the mute mystery to whose ecstasy and ache we can only surrender with a yes. There is something cheerful and plucky in us that lets us risk a journey into the labyrinth of love, no matter how hazardous. However, all the love in the world will not bring us happiness or make a relationship work. That requires skill, and this skill is quite attainable. Practice can make us nimble enough to dance together with grace, however bashful we maybe at the beginning.

Love is experienced differently by each of us, but for most of us five aspects of love stand out. We feel loved when we receive attention, acceptance,
appreciation, and affection, and when we are allowed the freedom to live in accord with our own deepest needs and wishes. These "five A's" meet us in different guises throughout life's journey. In childhood, we need these five A's to develop self-esteem and a healthy ego. They are building blocks of identity, of a coherent human personality. Human experience has a striking and reliable harmony: What we need for the building of a self is also precisely what we need for happiness in our adult love relationships. Intimacy, at its best, means giving and receiving the five A's, the joys and wealth of relationship. These five elements or aspects of love also describe our destiny of service to the world as mature spiritual beings. Great spiritual exemplars such as Jesus or Buddha can be seen as beings who offer this fivefold love to all of us. Through our spiritual practice we come to know a power greater than our ego, and that power nourishes us by granting us the graces of attention,
acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.

This is a touching and encouraging synchronicity built into our very being. The five
A's are simultaneously the fulfillment of our earliest needs, the requirements of adult intimacy and of universal compassion, and the essential qualities of mindfulness practice. In the splendid economy of human and spiritual development, the same keys open all our evolutionary doors.

Thus,
the five A's come to us as gifts in childhood. They are then bestowed by us as gifts to others. They are not the result of effort but are the automatic overflow of love we receive. We do not have to try; we simply notice that we are attentive, appreciative, etc., toward those we love. The same applies to compassion. It is a spiritual gift, a grace bestowed on us as a result of mindfulness practice. It is not a task. We
notice
that compassion
happens
in and through us as we become more mindfully present in the world. This compassion is shown by the five A's that are now five graces we receive and give.

Is there a way to increase our capacity to give and receive these essential elements of love? Yes, we can do it through mindfulness, an alert witnessing of reality without judgment, attachment, fear, expectation, defensiveness, bias,
or control. Through compassionate mindfulness we become adept at granting the essential components of love to everyone— even to ourselves—and in the pages that follow I will keep returning to mindfulness as a fast track to successful love.

This book discusses each of the five A's and how they apply to childhood,
relationships, and spiritual maturity. It also suggests practices that can help you in resolving childhood issues, in creating happier relationships, and in becoming more spiritually conscious and compassionate. Indeed, the practices are stirred by a spiritual ambition with higher stakes: a more loving you, with the world as your beneficiary.

All this entails taking a journey together—a heroic one because it involves pain and forces you to shift from a focus on ego to a focus on facing the risks of life together. This book walks you along that path, providing the kind of gear you will need to camp out together safely and enjoyably. We will use both
Western psychological tools and Eastern and Western spiritual practices, not graduating from one to the other but employing them simultaneously. The main psychological tools are working through personal and childhood conundrums with a commitment to identify, process, and resolve issues so that you may change and grow. The spiritual tools are letting go of ego, increasing mindfulness,
and cultivating an ethic of compassion. We achieve mindfulness when reality takes precedence over our ego. That is why mindfulness leads to intimacy, the mutual egoless gift of love. Couples with a spiritual practice have a greater serenity in their life together and increase their chances for happiness and longevity in their relationships.

A
relationship can force us to revisit every feeling and memory in the legend of ourselves. In our psychological work of addressing, processing, and resolving emotional blocks and problems, we pay attention to feelings, explore their implications, and hold them until they change or reveal a path that leads deeper into ourselves. In our spiritual practice of mindfulness, something very different occurs. We let feelings or thoughts arise and let go of them. We do not process them, nor do we hold them. Each of these approaches has its proper time, and we need both of them. Paying attention and letting go are the twin tools that will be presented throughout these pages. Therapy without mindfulness takes us only to the point of resolving our predicament.
Mindfulness with therapy helps us to dissolve the ego that got us into it in the first place.

The heroic journey is a metaphor for the yearning in the human soul for something that can repair and restore what has been broken or lost in our limited world.
The journey of the hero or heroine involves first a leaving of the familiar,
then a passage through struggle to a new place, and finally a return home with the gift of higher consciousness that is available to all who want it. Two people find each other in romance and oppose each another in conflict, only to engage finally in a life commit-ment to one another. It seems we cannot love maturely unless we go through the full itinerary of just such a risky expedition. But this Western metaphor is incomplete without mindfulness.

In short, we need to get up and go, but we also need to sit and stay.
By taking a journey without meditation and silence, we might fall prey to a restricting and extroverted activism. By practicing meditation without a sense that we are on a journey, we might fall prey to an introverted quietism. The
Eastern voice tells us we are already here. The Western voice calls us to go out in order to get here fully. We arrive nowhere and are nowhere without that combination. Buddha did not sit forever but went out into the world to spread the word. Jesus did not preach and heal every day but sometimes sat in the desert alone.

The human heart holds much more love than it can ever disburse in one lifetime.
This book suggests a program for activating that abundant potential. Intimate love is enigmatic and demanding; many of us fear it while still craving it.
Thus, it definitely requires an extensive manual. This book explores the tender and scary territories of our psyche and blazes a path through them. It is not too late or too long for any of us.

I
am writing as a psychotherapist on a Buddhist path and as a man with a checkered relationship history. I have met with many problems but have found some ways to deal with them. I have discovered that they are not bottomless pits but portals to a richer life. My accent in this book is necessarily on how we get stuck and how things go wrong. But you can also trust me to show ways to make things work better and ways the whole experience can make us better people and create a better world.

Enlightenment can only be embodied in the world by people who love one another. So relationships are not about how two people can survive each other but about how the whole world becomes more capable of love, with all its dim anguish and glowing rapture. The work and practice I recommend here are not aimed at making your life together smoother but at helping you relate to its inevitable roughness with humor, ease, and generosity. An untamed ego cannot pull that off. Only an awakened heart can do it. Then intimacy is best approached on a spiritual path. As a bonus, our limited personal work can heal the wider world.

I
hope this book will pose poignant questions like these and help you answer them:

  • What will it take for me to find the happiness I always wanted?
  • Will
    I feel loved the way I always wanted to be loved?
  • What will it take for me to let go of the past?
  • Will
    I learn to protect my own boundaries, insist that others honor them, and honor those of others?
  • Will
    I ever let go of the need to control?
  • Will
    I ever dare to love with all my heart?

This whole book is a letter from me to you. I am eager to share with you what I have learned from clients, friends, and my own life. At the same time, the book will elicit information from you, not just give information
to
you.
The truths of love and how it works are deeply and enduringly known by you and every person. My part has only been to type into this Apple the wisdom that came to me from Eden and its exiles.



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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1

PART ONE:
The
Home We Leave
7

1. How
It All Began
9
The
Power of Mindfulness
13
A
Positive Spin on How It Was and Is
18
The
Five A's: The Keys that Open Us
26
Unconditional
Presence versus the Five Mindsets of Ego
40
Practices:
Our Skillful Means
42

2. Love and Less
52
Mirroring
Love
52
When
We Deny We Were Deprived
56
What
Hurts Us Comforts Us
58
How
Good for Me Was My Family?
61
Light on the Hurt
64
A
Heroic Journey
69
Practices 70

PART TWO:
Struggles Along the Way
79

3. Choosing a Partner
81
Am
I Cut Out for Relationship?
82
Qualified
Candidates
85
What
Are We Up To?
86
Full
Disclosure
89
Sexualizing
Our Needs
93
Such
Longings
97
Destiny
Plays a Part
99
Practices 101

4. Romance:
The First Phase of Relationship
106
Rising in Love
108
When
Romance Is Addictive
112
What
Love Feels Like
116
Practices 118

5. Conflicts 126
Working
Things Out
128
The
Past in the Present
133
Men and Women
136
Introvert or Extrovert?
138
Practices 141

6. Fears
Rush In—and Dangers, Too
153
Engulfment and Abandonment
153
Learning from Our Fears
155
Jealousy 156
Infidelity 158
Dealing with Disappointment
161
Practices 165

7.
Letting Go of Ego
174
Anatomy of the Arrogant Ego
177
Anatomy of the Impoverished Ego
181
The
Riches of Ego and How to Find Them
183
A
Yes to the Things We Cannot Change
184
Practices 187

8.
When
Relationships End
199
Ending with Grace and Moving On
201
When
Somebody Leaves You
208

PART THREE:
Returning the Blessing
215

9. Our
Commitment and How It Deepens
217
The
Virtues of Intimate Love
220
Commitment 226
Soul
Mates
228
Practices 231

Epilogue 243
Appendix:
The Steps and Shifts of Mindful Grief
246

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    An Inspiration!

    I highly recommend this book. If you are fed up with the unenlightened drone of typical relationship books, then this is the book for you. Topics such as ¿How to keep your Man/Woman¿, ¿The Rules for Dating¿, ¿What women/men are really saying¿ etc will not be found among these easy to read pages. It does not boast a fool proof ¿12 step method¿ to becoming an adult in relationships but instead inspires one to take their own personalized steps. Wrapped in its inspiring words I have discovered what love and relationships truly mean for me, and it has become a great resource for becoming a better partner by becoming a more enlightened and peaceful person. Growth of the individual is at the core of this book and I have taken to heart what the author has made available through his well-articulated ideas. I will continue to try to make this mindful philosophy a practicing part of my life.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    An exceptional book- hard to put down. Enjoyed it

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    Written with lots of care!

    This book is obviously written with a lot of care and love. I am still fairly young but have been in various relationships and I have noticed that I repeat similar patterns with my partners and they have ruined my relationships. This book helped me realize that what I thought was love was not really love. It was just personal gratification. Since reading this book I really have a better understanding of what a true loving relationship is. I also like the book 'The ever-transcending spirit' by Toru Sato. It is also an excellent book that helped me understand the true meaning of love, not just romantic love but love in a more general sense. Anyways I really liked these books and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in making their relationships better and becoming a happier person.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2003

    Very inspiring!

    This is an extremely inspiring book on not just relationships but on becoming mature as a human being. It helped me understand why I am this way and how I can grow out of it. This book has vastly improved my whole life including my relationship with my spouse! I really love this book! The only other book I could recommend if you'd like to grow as a person and improve on your relationships is 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. Sato's book is completely awesome as well! It is not only inspiring, but explains the process of human development and its relation to how we mature in our relationships in a way that is very easy to understand. If you want to grow, these are the books to get. If you are ready for this step in your life, I am almost sure you will benefit immensely from them!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I found this book after going through my second divorce. There a

    I found this book after going through my second divorce. There are a lot of issues addressed in this book. While this book addresses all relationships in general; my intent was to use it in order to establish a permanent relationship with a loving partner. While I have finished reading the book, I am still using it with my current partner. The practices provide topics of discussion that allow us to address topics that are important to us, and how to deal with the areas of conflict where our beliefs are not necessarily compatible. The five As are explained in great detail and are applied in ways that make sense. My partner and I continue to use this book in an attempt to lead more mindful lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    This book is superb.

    This is a fine book which adds depth to self knowledge, and hence knowledge of your partner, essential for meaningful and thoughtful relationships. Mindfulness is a way of fully "being" in the world, which facilitates love.

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    not what i thought it was

    thought this was bible based and soon found out it was not:( not happy that i paid for it and cant return or remove it

    0 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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