Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spirituality and Intimacy

All right, let's talk about spirituality and intimacy. I know you're excited already. You're like, "Yes! Now let's get into some juicy stuff." Ah, but intimacy is so much more than the "juicy" stuff, which means romance at the very least and very oftentimes sex to most people. Intimacy, as many of you in awakening come to know, is something that you can have with every moment in every day.

The Yoga or Union of the Present Moment
I was reading through a movie review on EvolvingBeings.com, and I like how the spiritual teacher, Sadhguru, talked about having yoga in every moment. It's a wonderful reminder to be present in every moment. Yoga means union, essentially. To be fully present in the moment is to be in yoga with the moment. This is a deeply intimate space by its very nature, and you'll find that because of the opening in your awareness, all levels of deep connection become available to you.

The Many Kinds of Intimate Connection
Firstly, we have to unravel the term "intimacy" here. I'm sure that this will disappoint some, but I think it'll also clarify a lot of things for many of you and the variety of ways that you can connect so deeply with different people. Intimacy is not just romance. It's not romance and sex. Intimacy is a deep connection with another on any level, and for those of you in spiritual awakening, you're going to be amazed at how deeply you can connect with many people in your life. But you may be dismayed that for most people, intimate connection is actually very limited.

I have one friend who is like a clan-member to me. We have a very powerful, root chakra connection (Root chakra is about survival and family). It feels like we've been in the same family for a generation, but we've only known each other about a year. It's a very fundamental, basic sort of connection; it's as if we could grow crops, build things together, and provide for the clan together. To confuse this with sexuality and romance would denigrate the reality of this connection. This deep connection is what the natural intelligence of our relationship has brought forth.

I love to talk about the natural intelligences of relationships because my experience is that--as long as we don't get in the way--relationships have a natural way of connecting that brings out the appropriate kind of relationship. So if you're supposed to work together, that relationship appears, and there can be a deep love in that space. But you won't confuse that love as being a sexual or romantic thing. In many ways, it's the activation of the full love of coming into union at the right level for both of you.

The Many Kinds of Love
Love at its core is total acceptance. Total acceptance of another person is a powerful thing, but it's not a blind thing. If someone is mean to another, you can still love the perpetrator, but you will hold them accountable. Love is not weak or a push-over. You can speak clearly from the heart, and you move from the heart. Spiritual awakening brings love into and activates it on all levels of your being, which is why such deep intimacy becomes available in so many ways. Different kinds of love and intimacy can be:

  • Co-workers/team-mates love (The love of sharing a common goal/pursuit)
  • Brotherly/sisterly love (This isn't limited to family.)
  • Romantic love
  • Sexual love
  • Physical love (You can be close to another's body, but there isn't a need for sexuality)
  • Student-teacher/follower-leader love
  • Intellectual love (The love of connecting on the plane of ideas; just watch a couple academics in a hot discussion at a university some time.)
  • Psychic love (The feeling of energy blending)
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. That are so many other kinds of love and ways to be intimate, and I'm sure that you'll be able to add to the list.

For me as a spiritual teacher, I feel so much love towards my students (although how I express it varies widely). It's such a deeply intimate and sacred space to work in and connect with someone, and I honor and cherish it completely. That's the beauty of coming into connection with someone on the spiritual path; you completely love and connect with someone at the right level. You don't expect to be anything or force it into other forms that it's not. That's part of why it can be so profound and intimate.


Letting Go of the Idea of the One True Love
Being awakened allows you to touch the whole spectrum of love and intimacy, but because most people aren't moving from that space, a lot of the connections will be very narrow. For instance, most everyone knows what it's like to have a sexual lover who is really amazing. You two send up fireworks when you're in the bedroom, on the sofa, in the backseat of the car, out somewhere in the woods off of the interstate because you didn't want to just sit around in the traffic jam for the next 15 minutes, or you know, wherever. But when it comes to talking, you have nothing to say to each other. And generally, the romantic dating thing is kind of a bore to both of you. It's just not how you connect.

In many ways, you'll find it easy to connect very deeply on whatever access point someone gives you. Once again, this isn't mindless. You're very conscious of the choices that you're making. You'll also likely have to set up some boundaries because most people confuse any amount of intimacy as a prelude to romance; it's so baked into the mental programming in Western culture (especially for men) that any other outcome is immediately considered a failure. So whether you're deeply connected intellectually, emotionally, or however else it manifests, you're going to know just how far and how deep it can go, and you won't be limited by your expectations of what the relationship should be or how it should go.

Timing and the Coming and Going of Union
You learn to hold intimacy much more lightly. Perhaps, you have an amazing phone call with a person, and then the next time you speak, it's gone. It never comes back again. This is one of the ways where we continue to shed expectations around the moment. You had a beautiful conversation together. That's awesome. That's what you had to share. Your deep connection lasted 15 minutes or a half hour. That's beautiful. We also have this programming that thinks if we have a deep connection with a person once on any level that we'll always be able to get it again in a similar if not the same way. That's not how it works. I think in some ways, those connections come to show us what we can access. That can be a little bit of a tease, but the only way we can let them stay more permanently is to let go of the expectations of what they should be and in what form they will appear.

Life ebbs and flows. Things are easy in the world and then they are hard. Spiritual awakening brings us to a place of non-resistance to those ebbs and flows, and you learn that union and intimacy in the present moment, with yourself, and with others is an every fluctuating thing. And you are okay with that. You are okay with whatever the moment brings, and that is the truest sense of intimacy with life you can possibly find.
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