Thursday, July 23, 2015

The yoga of intimacy

In close relationships there may always be ruptures which arise in the field of lovers and friends. For when we enter into the mandala of vulnerability with another, each and every disavowed emotion, feeling, and bodily sensation will be there to greet us at the gates, awaiting just one moment of our presence, yearning to be held, and longing for metabolization in our ripe bodies, hearts, and nervous systems.

Once inside, you hear the call of the beloved reverberating throughout time and space: Come closer. Undress. And come closer. Dissolve the clothing of the conceptual and meet me in the burning here and now.

Along the provocative path of intimacy yoga, it may appear as if the 'other' is doing something 'to' us, but all they're really doing is just being themselves. Yet somehow this is enough to unleash an avalanche of rage, fear, feelings of abandonment and dependency, surging irritation, tidal waves of unresolved attachment, and an urgent, desperate longing to be seen and for the exposure to end. In the dance with the beloved, the bad news is that there is absolutely nowhere to hide. Ironically, this is the good news as well.

Without warning, we find ourselves back in that very familiar place where it's... just... not... safe. We long for secure ground and reference point from which we can organize our lives, where we can return to certainty, but the beloved loves us too much to provide a trap door back into the known. He or she will remain close, open, and wildly attuned, but will never protect us from the unfolding of our own hearts.

The invitation of the beloved, in each of his or her forms, is to step fully into the crucible of relationship where we no longer limit the mystery of love’s expression, resisting the temptation to have the fires of love conform to our endless requirements. And to open to the reality that perhaps the purpose of love and intimacy is not to provide endless feelings of safety, certainty, connection, validation, and the meeting of our ever expanding list of 'needs.' The beloved has not come to confirm what we think love is – or the ways we have come to believe we must be seen - but rather to introduce us to the wild creative terrain of the unknown, and to the vast, warm openness of our true nature.

Perhaps there will always be surges of grief, sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, shame, and irritation that arise in the intersubjective field of lovers. Let us remain committed to meeting each of these archaic emissaries with loving awareness, seeing each as a portal into the sweet and fierce mandala of the beloved and his or her transformative world. And make the commitment to befriending whatever arises in our immediate somatic reality, no matter how disturbing, joyful, irritating, or intense. For these are the gifts of the yoga of relationship, if we will receive them.

Please be kind to yourself and your partners if you truly decide to take up the yoga of intimacy, knowing that it will take everything you have to navigate, and much more. And in return offers nothing. Well, except for all that you have ever longed for.

Art by Adam Martinakis