“I hate you.”
“I need you.”
“I want space from you.”
“I resent you.”
“I’m curious about you.”
We make statements similar to these all the time in all types of relationships. When we speak in this way, it makes it sound as if there are fixed things called an “I” and a “you.” The statement defines the relationship between these two entities. As long as it appears to be that way, all of our attempts to become more intimate, to improve the quality of relationship, are restricted to changing the verb that goes between the “I” and the “you.” If we can shift from “I resent you” to “I forgive you,” it feels like a big win. If we shift from “I hate you” to “I trust you,” it seems like greater intimacy.
When Chameli and I started to develop the Deeper Love work eight years ago, we both came together in a spirit of discovery. We had realized that trying to change the relationship between the “I” and the “you” didn’t work very well. It’s rather like two people sitting on either side of the Grand Canyon, wanting to experience love together. One throws a missive across the canyon, perhaps a rock with a note tied to it, saying “I love you.” It arrives at the other side. The recipient unwraps it, experiences warm, fuzzy, feelings, and sends back another missive, maybe pink and wrapped in lace, saying “I love you too.” They’ve now entered a Hallmark world together, but the vastness of the canyon between them is a more significant cause of the feeling of separation than the content of the notes that they send back and forth.
For my wife, Chameli, and me, the journey into a deeper intimacy began with an investigation of this thing called “I.” You don’t have to look very deeply into the sense of a me to discover that it’s not really a thing at all, but rather a collection of voices. That’s why our relationships are so often characterized by mixed messages and shifting dynamics. At one moment the “I” is the victim, and in the next moment the “I” has become the playful child, the next moment the loving parent, the next moment the horny lover. There are thousands of voices like this. Just scratch the surface a little bit, and we discover that we don’t have just one personality, but everybody has multiple personalities.
Over the last 30 years or so, many people have explored different kinds of spiritual practice to try to take the attention deeper than all these voices of the personality. A lot of these practices have been imported from Eastern traditions. If you meditate for a while, or practice Yoga or Chi Kung, or any one of a vast numbers of disciplines, you may drop into another dimension of yourself, which is silent, and still, and empty. Here, there seems to be no personal “I” at all, just a vast spaciousness like the sky.
You can, of course, try to be in intimate relationship from this dimension as well. As spaciousness meets spaciousness, there’s not much going on. There’s no conflict, but also no desire. No attraction. No juice. Couples who hang out too long with meditation as their primary meeting ground may experience that the passion drops out of things, and maybe sooner or later one of them may begin to look outside of the relationship for more energy.
There is another possibility as well. It’s something like warmed-up meditation. We call it the Deeper Love. It allows you to look, not at another, but through the eyes of the other, into the other, where you can discover the same spaciousness looking back at you. Then, slowly and carefully, you begin to move. First an eyebrow, then the lips curve into a smile, and the torso begins to sway as if to music, and you’re in a dance together which is neither separate nor completely one. This vast spaciousness, which was discovered through meditation, can now pick up the habits of the personality again, and transform them into something like art created out of recycled junk. What previously you thought was neurotic and even irritating can become humorous, can become a gift. This is a dimension which we can call ultimate intimacy. It’s not separate, it’s not “two” enough, to create the feeling of separation and misunderstanding, but it’s also not “one” enough to dispel passion and attraction.
In our experience, surfing the waves of the deeper love requires a kind of practice, a discipline. Although being open and vast is naturally who you are, living relationship from this dimension of yourself requires taking a stand against eons of habits of relationship: habits of mistrust, judgment, hurt, and revenge.
I’d love to share with you a little about how you can practice in this way. Please join me for a free tele-seminar this Friday, August 6th, at 6 pm PST.