Higher Capacities

In the Pattern System, in addition to healthy capacities there are higher capacities, which are the more evolved or spiritual aspects of each capacity. When you are living from a higher capacity, you embody a version of the capacity that is less egocentric and more oriented toward the good of the whole. You are informed by the sense that we are all connected.

There is one higher capacity for each dimension, which usually involves an integration of the two capacities in that dimension and then takes it to a higher level of spiritual development.

Let’s look at the Higher Intimacy Capacity as an example. It is the higher capacity for the Intimacy Dimension. It has the following three aspects:

Relationship as a Catalyst for Growth

Your relationship is a crucible for personal and spiritual development. Because you want intimacy in your life, you are encouraged to deal with and work through your personal issues. You need to work them through for the relationship to work, so you engage with difficult places in your psyche that you might otherwise ignore.

In addition you are forced to deal with another person’s needs and limits instead of only paying attention to your own, and this moves you out of an egocentric perspective into a wider way of relating.

Selfless Love

Because you love your partner, you want them to be happy and fulfilled, independent of your own happiness.  When they are in pain, you feel compassion and want them to feel better. When they succeed, you are proud of them. When they are in danger, you want to protect them. When they are joyful, it makes you happy. You want to do what you can to enhance your partner’s life, even when you don’t get anything in return, and even when you need to sacrifice something for your partner’s well-being. However, you don’t do this out of a need to please your partner but because you genuinely love them.

Higher Purpose for the Relationship

Your relationship has a deeper meaning than your love for each other and the joy you get from each other. There is a higher purpose for what the two of you bring into the world. This might be your children and your commitment to making their lives as fulfilling as possible. It might be creating something together—community, family, or a joint endeavor of some kind. It might mean the way your partnership supports each person’s higher purpose in the world.

You are willing to give of yourself for the sake of your children or your partner’s higher purpose. However, you don’t do this in a way that shortchanges your own growth and purpose in life.