Have you noticed how quickly we think intimacy means SEX? It’s become an essential ingredient for most TV and movie plots. Yet, what of all the important relationships that aren’t sexual… with children and best friends, just to name a few. So what is emotional intimacy? And why do we need it?
Intimacy, as I see it, is a willingness to lay aside one’s defenses and allow pure connection with another without expectation or content. A willingness to be seen as you are and to see them as they are…. And it’s a basic human need.Researchers found that children in overcrowded orphanages who did not receive regular connection through individual attention and non-sexual touch actually died. And, when college students watched movies of Mother Teresa tending to homeless children, their immune systems showed spontaneous spikes… even the laughing boys who made fun of her while watching. The human psyche thrives on human connection.
Are you limiting your reservoir of connection to sexual/romantic relationships? When I ask people at my seminars to turn and exchange gazes with a stranger, they are uncomfortable and want to giggle or talk to discharge their nervousness. As they settle into allowing themselves to be seen and to see the other, the quality of exchange shifts from self-consciousness to quiet calm. And before they know it, they are sensing each other heart-to-heart without words, relationship or expectation. This level of being with another is more nurturing than you can imagine, and it creates an inner feeling of being accepted for who we are without pretense or performance.
To heighten the connection, I further ask participants to close their eyes and “sense” or “imagine” the essence of the other. This exchange is quite a surprise for most because they feel an even greater sense of warmth and connection…. By closing the eyes, they suspend the critical thinking stimulated by visual data, and everyone completes the activity feeling energized and calm.
Wow! In fact, connection is a form of meditation… we calm the mind and body merely by being present with another human being in a natural, unassuming and accepting way. Self-consciousness and nervousness fall away to reveal a still and deep connection beneath thoughts and form. It gives me chills to remember the feeling… and so simple! Connection is our natural state that begins the human journey with union of egg and sperm in conception, expands during pregnancy until we are separated at birth. We subconsciously remember this original state of oneness and long for it’s return. Some of us seek it through sex, yet the intimacy of sex is temporary and entangled with unspoken expectations.
This month’s meditation is dedicated to our inherent ability to share emotional intimacy with anyone at anytime… with our clothes on!
Meditation: Simple Gazing
With your eyes open… softly gaze into a mirror… Taking a deep cleansing breath… relax into sensing this human being who gazes back from the reflective surface… letting go of any desire to critique or think about how s/he looks… you soften even more as you focus your attention on these eyes, especially the one to your right.
Ahhh… you sense the soulfulness!
Allowing a connection with the true being returning your gaze, you notice whatever’s there, especially the vulnerability… and whatever emotion arises in the body is received in it’s purest form as energy without thought… as you settle into a place of greater comfort and ease.
Hmmm… you sense the humanity!
Receiving the wholeness of this being who returns your gaze… you settle into an expanded knowing…
A beautiful blending of soul and body… self and other…
inner and outer…