In our modern world, intimate relationship can be one of the most profound vehicles we have for healing, a contemporary temple in which to explore the mysteries of the heart. But should we choose to approach intimacy in this way, we must prepare for a long journey through the dark wood, and into the exquisite, uncertain, chaotic terrain that we will be asked to navigate along the way.
While a holy dismemberment and reassembling may sound exciting and something to look forward to, we will likely have some pretty contradictory feelings about the whole thing. We want close relationship more than anything, and simultaneously we want nothing to do with it. The archaic fears of abandonment and engulfment circle in the psyche of the personal and the collective.
At some point, we must reframe our view of emotional groundlessness, embracing it not as something to be discarded or transformed, but beheld as ongoing revelation. This may sound like madness to the mind as it does not conform to the dream of manifesting endless positivity or to transcending our vulnerability in some disembodied realization. But buried in the core of the contradictions, in the union of the opposites, the water of life awaits.
In this sense, intimacy is a path of resurrection as well as crucifixion, not primarily a vehicle to remedy our own loneliness, unworthiness, and existential anxiety. Its most sacred function is not to make us feel better or to shield us from the potentiality of heartbreak, deflation, and disappointment, but to reveal wholeness.
In the birth as well as in the death, we will come face to face with the reality of the unconscious self, into uncompromising relationship with the wildness of the disowned internal other, and be asked to embrace the nakedness and exposure that the beloved is wired to call forward.
Nowhere to run. No secret trap doors. No meditating it away. No hiding out in the present moment. The only way out is through. Into the arms of the beloved, in whatever form he or she happens to take. Into our own arms, and into the unresolvable mysteries of separation and union. Perhaps there are none which are sweeter. And fiercer. And darker. And filled with light.
My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available
My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.