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Book Summary: Spiritual Partnership by Gary Zukav

Spiritual Partnership (2009) is about the new relationships that can develop when we tap into a deep, invisible consciousness. Becoming “multisensory” and engaging in spiritual partnerships with others will lead you to a life of freedom, joy, and authentic power.

Who is it for?

  • People interested in spirituality
  • Couples looking to strengthen their relationship
  • Anyone searching for meaning and purpose in life

Learn how to develop spiritual relationships.

Have you ever thought about someone you haven’t seen in ages, only to have them call you out of the blue? Have you mentioned a place you’d like to see and then come across that name over and over again?

Call it intuition or sixth sense, but if you’ve ever experienced a situation like that, it’s because you’ve tapped into the universal consciousness that envelops us all.

By delving deep into discovering this consciousness, you can become a new type of multisensory human and enter into spiritual relationships with people who will guide and inspire your journey. And through this process, you can acquire authentic power.

Book Summary: Spiritual Partnership by Gary Zukav

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • how you control your destiny from within;
  • how a churning gut can clue you in to unresolved childhood trauma; and
  • why joy is better than happiness.

Multisensory humans can form deeper, more connected relationships.

Imagine for a moment that your consciousness is like a bowl. This bowl and its contents represent your entire experience of yourself and your interactions with others. Some of the contents are individual, like an aversion to a political party or an affinity for water sports. Some contents are collective – we all know that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.

Today, many individuals are acquiring a new “bowl” by becoming multisensory. That is, they perceive connections, purpose, and design that go beyond what the five senses can detect. Unlike those who’ve relied on intellect and the five senses to experience the world, these new multisensory people are searchers who venture deep into their souls.

Here’s the key message: Multisensory humans can form deeper, more connected relationships.

With the appearance of this new type of human, a new type of relationship has emerged, too. It’s called a spiritual partnership.

Think of two mountains separated by a distance of several thousand miles. At first glance, they may seem like unconnected geographical features. But, in reality, they’re part of a single range of mountains shaped by invisible geological forces our eyes can’t see. A multisensory person knows that we, too, are connected by such an invisible and deep force.

Have you ever thought about a friend because you sensed something was wrong in her life – and then had that very friend call you? It’s no coincidence. Whether you call it a hunch or intuition, inhabiting this connected reality is sort of like having guides and teachers who may not be physically present but who are fully invested in your spiritual growth.

When you choose to become a multisensory person, your relationships with others change. In the next set of chapters, we’ll examine how.

Seeing the world as a multisensory person will give you authentic power.

Perhaps you think that perceiving the world through your senses and your intellect has served you perfectly well so far. Maybe you’re content with your relationships as they are.

But do you lose your temper more often than you’d like? Does hearing about your friend’s new promotion make you feel envious? Can you stop at “just one drink?” Do you worry so much about something happening to your kids that you’re afraid to let them go?

Becoming multisensory opens you up to the realization that everything you do and feel – and everything that happens to you – is a result of your thinking. It’s a powerful thought.

This is the key message: Seeing the world as a multisensory person will give you authentic power.

Once you realize you’re the master of your own universe, you’ll need to embrace a few rules. Here’s the breakdown.

Rule number one is the Universal Law of Creation. This simply states that everything happening to you is a result of your choices – you create your own destiny. For a five-sensory human, this might translate to “study hard and I will get the highest grades.” For a multisensory human, however, intention plays a huge role. There’s a difference between “study hard so I can beat everyone else” and “study hard so I can learn.” The first might get you a pat on the back, but the second will give you joy and lasting benefits.

The Universal Law of Cause and Effect maintains that every intention has a consequence: wish someone harm, and harm will be wished on you. Your destiny begins with your thoughts, and you’re likely to get back whatever you put out into the universe – so behaving with love and kindness, for example, will help you receive the same.

The Universal Law of Attraction explains that what you are is what you attract. Someone trapped in a five-sensory mindset thinks that what she sees is what she believes. A multisensory person knows that what she believes will become what she sees.

Think of it as the difference between a window and a mirror. An ordinary person might look at the world as though through a window; to him, the world is something outside that he steps into. By contrast, the multisensory person sees the world as a reflection of his own intentions and thinking.

Understanding this inspires reflection and spiritual growth, which can lead to a blissful future.

True spiritual relationships bring lasting joy and authentic power.

Ever heard of Plato’s famous cave analogy? If not, here’s the short version.

A group of people have been imprisoned in a cave their whole lives, shackled so they face the back wall. Behind them is a fire. Between the fire and the prisoners, puppeteers walk up and down, casting shadows on the wall.

For these prisoners, the shadows are – although we know they’re just a poor specter of the real thing. Only the prisoner who breaks free of the cave and stands astonished in sunlight can see things as they really are. And that true understanding is the first step to joy.

The key message here is: True spiritual relationships bring lasting joy.

Plato’s cave prisoners were shackled by chains. What are the chains that keep you trapped inside of your own metaphorical cave? Patterns of anger, bitterness, or jealousy are chains that force us to repeat the same mistakes and destructive patterns over and over again. Using multisensory thinking, you can deeply examine your life to find the root causes of such patterns of behavior.

Here’s a helpful way to examine your motivations. Imagine you’re a coach and you have to choose players for your team. Let’s say your players are Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Kindness, Empathy, and Fun. If you let them all play all the time, you don’t control the game – your players do. If you’re a good coach, you realize which players win you joy, and you get to a point where those are the only players you deploy. The players you retire are those that result from fear – the ones that create destructive consequences.

We often live in pain because we’re afraid of losing love, and this makes us feel scared and powerless. But here’s the thing: love can’t be lost. Love is something we have just by existing as part of this universal consciousness. It has no conditions; it’s pure bliss.

In the same vein, seeking external power and validation – and equating that with happiness – is useless: you’ll always need more. Happiness usually depends on external factors beyond your control; as such, it’s temporary. Joy, on the other hand, is permanent; it grows within you when you abandon fear.

So, happiness is fleeting and results from changing others. But to achieve long-lasting joy, you’ll need to change yourself. The good part is, your soul seeks joy. When you recognize this and live accordingly, you can free yourself and acquire true power.

Spiritual partnerships are challenging, but they can help you become your best, most blissful self.

Imagine you go out for lunch with your friend Joe. You chat about work and family, and then he brings up his exciting and expensive scuba diving trip to Australia. Suddenly, your mood takes a dive. You’re not enjoying yourself anymore.

Later, you call up another friend, Sam, and describe the exchange. Sam snorts, “Oh, that Joe, he’s always bragging. Forget him and his stupid trip. We’ll plan something way better!”

Then you call a third friend, Andie. Andie doesn’t say anything about Joe. Instead, she asks you what physical sensations you felt when Joe talked about his trip. You tell her your stomach felt queasy and your face felt hot. She asks when you’ve felt like that before. You realize that you feel that way every time Joe brings up something you can’t afford. Actually, you’ve experienced this reaction toward all your friends – not just Joe.

The key message here is: Spiritual partnerships are challenging, but they can help you become your best, most blissful self.

Gently, Andie guides you to another realization: you think you’ll lose your friends’ love if you admit you can’t afford the things they have. While this understanding is difficult to face, it can set you free. It doesn’t matter what Joe has or doesn’t have – becoming OK with the situation has to happen within you.

In the above scenario, Sam was a good friend. He sympathized and cheered you up. But Andie was more than a friend. She was someone who expressed the first dimension of spiritual partnership: an invitation to grow together.

Multisensory people crave this type of true spiritual partnership. They look for people with whom to travel on the journey of truth. While friends identify your external weaknesses that they then try and “fix,” spiritual partners force you to look inward – a place where you can face and dismantle your fears.

If you’re experiencing a divorce, for example, a friend might support you, lend a shoulder to cry on, or even allow you to move in while you find your footing. He may introduce you to new companions and genuinely be there for you. But this friend won’t guide you toward your authentically powerful self in the same way a spiritual partner will. With a spiritual partner, you’ll be forced to confront yourself and your actions in the marriage – and determine whether they were a result of fear or love.

Be warned: spiritual partnerships hurt. But facing that pain is better than allowing it to dictate your life.

The three dimensions of a spiritual partnership are: growing together, saying difficult things, and rejecting roles.

In the previous chapter, Andie invited you to revisit the physical sensations you experienced during a difficult situation. Your churning stomach, hot flashes, erratic heartbeat – all these are assaults to your energy centers. They are symptoms of the deeper undercurrents of jealousy, anger, or other feelings that are holding you back from spiritually developing.

When Andie helped you observe these symptoms, she was engaging in the first dimension of a spiritual partnership.

Here’s the key message: The three dimensions of a spiritual partnership are: growing together, saying difficult things, and rejecting roles.

A true spiritual partner will encourage you to dig deep. When your physical reactions let you know you’re in an uncomfortable situation, a spiritual partner will encourage you to respond without one-upping the other person or justifying yourself. In doing the same for your partner, both of you will truly grow.

Another dimension is sharing tough things and openly declaring who you are. Multisensory people reveal even their scariest thoughts to their spiritual partners.

The third dimension involves role-playing. We all play roles – father, artist, citizen, aunt, doctor, gastronome. And not all roles are bad. An athlete, for example, can use her role to reach her potential rather than to simply beat others. But when the role you play tricks you into manipulating yourself and others, it becomes a stumbling block to spiritual growth.

Living life through the role of “mother,” for instance, can be fine in itself. But if you feel worthless and guilty about your abandoned career, you may use the cloak of motherhood to avoid looking too deeply into your decisions. Motherhood becomes your justification for all your choices. Instead, strive to become a universal human; this will liberate you from preconceived notions of how to be and lead you into a world where anything is possible.

Honing these dimensions will take time, commitment, and courage – but they’re worth it. The rewards of spiritual partnership include self-love, a sense of purpose, creative energy, courage, true intimacy, and a commitment to spiritual growth.

Through courage, compassion, and communication, you can reject fear and embrace love.

By now, maybe you’re convinced that being a multisensory human in a spiritual relationship is a wonderful thing. But how do you make the shift to acknowledging the vast human connection that binds the whole universe? How can you engage in spiritual relationships rather than mere friendships?

It’s simple: through love and fear. More specifically, reject fear and embrace love.

The key message here is: Through courage, compassion, and communication, you can reject fear and embrace love.

The two greatest human motivations are love and fear. Choosing love will elevate every experience and make it deeper and more meaningful, regardless of the outcome. For example, if you accept a job offer because you’re excited about how much you’ll learn, you’ll achieve a very different result than if you accept it because you’re afraid of being unemployed.

To commit to love, begin by learning about yourself. Pay attention to your intentions – are they motivated by love or fear? As you’ve learned, everything that happens to you happens inside you first. Once you make and recognize this shift within you, the world will reflect it.

Next, gather the courage to examine all your feelings, emotions, and actions. Take responsibility for them. This will transform you from a victim into a creator. In other words, you’ll be able to construct and control your situations by acting with integrity – again, that’s love, not fear.

Third, embrace compassion. Imagine you’re standing in the checkout line. You’re in a hurry, and the elderly shopper in front of you is fumbling through her purse. If your irritation mounts, stop and think of another older person that you love – like your grandmother. Does that help you feel less annoyed? Now think about the root of your annoyance. Perhaps you’re just afraid of being late – or maybe you’re projecting your own frustration about your lack of organization.

When communicating or acting, do it consciously and with intention. Be specific and personal with your choice of words. This helps you take ownership of your thoughts and actions.

And here’s a final tip: Don’t let yourself get attached to outcomes. Trust that each thing that happens to you is an opportunity for growth. Relax into the universe and the moment. Try your best. Then enjoy yourself.

Romantic relationships and parent-child bonds are excellent spiritual partnership material.

Our families, neighborhoods, work environments, hobbies, and responsibilities all provide different opportunities for relationships with a variety of people. But certain relationships are especially suited to becoming spiritual partnerships.

The relationships between parents and children predate birth and last long past death. They are so intense that they affect every other relationship. The author recommends that you think of family as homeroom in “earth school;” he asserts that by healing yourself within the framework of family, you can change your generational karma. And by freeing yourself of the bonds of fear, you can tap into the love of all souls.

This is the key message: Romantic relationships and parent-child bonds are excellent spiritual partnership material.

Romantic couples offer another powerful dynamic that can be immeasurably strengthened by crossing over into spiritual partnership. Five-sensory couples may stay together out of fear – perhaps they’re afraid of being alone or being seen as they truly are. Multisensory couples, however, bond by challenging themselves to create authentic power. If one member of the couple progresses to becoming multisensory and the other doesn’t, it can break the marriage. But if both parties grow, the marriage can transform into a truly indestructible spiritual partnership.

A marriage’s condition will in turn play a crucial role in determining the lives of any children resulting from that union. Five-sensory parents in a nuclear family tend to only focus on their own kids; they fear their children will lose out in some way, which keeps them from loving and appreciating other children. This fear is often passed on to their children, who go on to carry its insecurity throughout their lives.

On the other hand, couples in spiritual partnerships aren’t burdened by this fear. Because they operate from a place of love, they’re able to see all children’s potential – and they wish the best for everyone. Just imagine what we’d have if everyone felt this way: a universal family!


The key message is that:

Authentic power comes from deeply looking into yourself and your motivations – and from making a conscious decision to act out of love, not fear. When you begin to trust the world of universal connection and become a multisensory person, you can engage in spiritual partnerships with others. Not only will you grow; you’ll also help others find their power.

And here’s one last bit of actionable advice: Ditch the judgment scale.

Most people have an invisible scale – they place themselves on one side and their counterpart on the other. This helps them determine who is “inferior” and who is “superior.” But what if you let go of judgment and got rid of the scale completely? By truly viewing everyone as an equal, you might just find yourself feeling freer, more relaxed, and more joyful.

About the author

Gary Zukav is a best-selling author who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show numerous times. His other books include The Seat of the Soul and The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Zukav and his partner, Linda Francis, cofounded the Seat of the Soul Institute in 1998.

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