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To Love and Be Loved

The Difficult Yoga of Relationship

Foreword Review — July / Aug 2000

The authors are meditation teachers and leaders of workshops on conscious living and dying. Speaking frankly and with humor, the Levines take turns explaining how each individual brings a lot of “baggage” to every relationship entered. Everyone has different past experiences that must be dealt with, acknowledged, and shared before love can be successful. Using examples from their own twenty-year relationship, they share ideas and anecdotes on how to overcome the many obstacles in life.

Recorded live from one of their workshops, the authors attempt to lead others to a peaceful co-existence with their spouse, lover, or friend. Each of the five tapes focus on a topic within a relationship then moves on to direct meditation exercises for the group. The voices are pleasant and easy to listen to, with occasional lapses when an activity is taking place. This, however, allows the listener to feel he or she is actually at the workshop.

The issues are serious and begin with the explanation of the role grief has in a relationship. The word grief covers the idea of past hurts, judgment of or by another, anger, and sadness. Ignoring grief turns pain, which can be a positive experience, into suffering.

Other issues include cleaning up old relationships, the fear of abandonment, the pain of separation, self-image, and self-rejection. Forgiveness is the key to resolving many of these issues. Dealing with dishonesty and infidelity, co-commitment, and the decision to have children are followed by meditation for letting go and exercises on forgiveness. The final tape discusses religion, illness, AIDS, death, and how relationships can sometimes help to heal illnesses. The topics are serious, but discussed in a matter-of-fact and upbeat manner. The Levines share an optimistic outlook for a positive outcome for any that want a successful loving relationship.

Deborah Jesseman