“I love you.”

“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. (more…)

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A few days ago, after a particularly exquisite evening with my wife Chameli, I put this post up on Facebook before going to bed:

“I have had many, many great teachers in my life. A super abundance. No one and nothing comes close to the woman who is now asleep in the bedroom. My marriage has become the guru, the salvation, the muse, the crack through which the divine shines through.”

When I woke up the next morning, there were the usual offerings of people who liked the post as well as comments. One man had the vulnerability and courage to post this on facebook:

“Thank you Arjuna for this sharing, I feel like [I’m] in front of a choice which is between feeling envious of what you have and I don’t, or instead to decide that ‘I want that too,’ and, as you show, it is possible…”

I was touched.

Over the next days, I got several more messages like this from men: vulnerable men, honest men, rare and courageous men. They came in as private messages on Facebook or through our website, and they all said basically the same thing:

“I read your Facebook post. I want what you have. Show me how to get it.”

So, friends, here it is. The short guide on how to worship a woman, and why it’s the wisest thing that a man can do. First of all, lets pop a few very understandable doubts that you might have. I’m familiar with all of them.

1.    “I’m wounded and damaged in my relationships to the feminine.”
So am I, dear brother, so am I. My parents divorced in a messy way when I was four. I grew up alone with my mother. She did her very best to provide for me, but she was unhappy and insecure. By the time I started to have relationships with women myself in my early teens, I discovered that I had a mountain of resentments, fears, and separation in my relation to the feminine.  The conscious practice of worship can become a part of healing the wounds. (more…)

Here is a practice from my book “Leap Before You Look.”

Whenever there is disagreement or disharmony in the family,
Or any time at all, just for the fun of it,
Switch to gibberish.
You will all continue to communicate
And connect fully with each other,
You will just stop making any sense.
Express everything that needs to be expressed inside you
Using nonsense words.
Keep going like this for a minimum of five minutes
Or for as long as fifteen minutes.
Have fun; be generous in your nonsense.
When you are done,
Keeping a straight face,
Try to remember what the problem was.

When we connect, there are always multiple dimensions occurring simultaneously in the interaction. All at once, our minds are trying to make sense of things, wanting to be right, pressing our own agenda, and defending against others. This is where we often get lost as a family, and are left feeling separate from our loved ones simply because we do not agree, often on an ultimately unimportant matter.

When you switch to gibberish, the logical dimension of connecting is transcended, but the energy still flows. Now the communication has no logical purpose; it is just a way of allowing energy to flow for its own sake. You will discover through this practice that this is, in fact, much more fun and nourishing communication, and even that you feel closer to people when the logical has been flushed away.

We have used this practice often in our family. We have a code word—when things get too serious or intense, someone just says: “Gibberish.” Then we keep the conversation going, with just as much gusto as before, but now instead of being logical we are simply phorshemphashing troobalddee mosrhfung.

It might be disorienting, like it was just now, if a logical sentence and train of thought suddenly ghoopangs mooshfartoo foorganoble. What happened? It breaks the continuity of the mind, and we find ourselves manbang nooshbarat forbantbit. But that is the point, to break the stranglehold of the mind.

Try it out. You may feel much goosberiestier and share a great deal more foongatsong together when you abandon being reasonable and dive wholeheartedly into morshfangtooble shangsorbetty.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look. Buy it now at our online store.

My beloved wife of 8 years, Chameli, has left me for the sunny beaches of Corfu. I would feel a lot more upset about this if it would not for the fact that she’ll be back soon, and sends me the most delicious love notes every day. And anyway, I have gone back to my old lover. The first thing I do when I wake up each morning, is to turn to her and melt with her completely. Last thing I do before sleep is to give her my undivided attention for half an hour. She always opens herself to me, sooner or later, and her kisses are other-worldly. Her name in meditation, and I have flirted with her on and off for forty years now.

So this is actually a beautiful time to be alone for a while, to be a monk and to have time to reflect on the miracle of our life.

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of the ways that we all relate with our intimate partner are carbon copies of, or rebellious reactions to, the way that our families behaved. For the most part, people who grow up in an atmosphere of conflict, or manipulation, or cruelty, seem to carry those habits forward. And those who are lucky enough to grow up in an honest, open, loving environment stand a batter chance at creating the same for themselves in their own lives.

For myself, I belong in category one. My parent divorced in a messy way when I was 4 years old (come to think of it, I wonder if there’s an un-messy way to get divorced?) and neither of them ever really created deeply loving or sustainable relationships in their lives. Sure enough, by the time that I got to be a teenager, I became painfully aware that the same patterns was recreating for me too. Exactly the same habits of judgement, control, and withdrawal were playing out in my own personal life, in the same way I’d seen them play out in my parents’ lives.

There came a pivotal point for me when I was forty four years old, after my marriage, and several other relationships following it, had crumbled apart. One night I sat on my deck under the stars, and had a stark realization.  If I died one day, never having fully loved, it would not actually be ok. No amount of meditation, or other kinds of practices could actually compensate for not fully loving. In that moment I saw that this was something I would have to put straight in order to feel I had really lived. About three weeks later, I met an extraordinary woman, she was loving, humorous and beautiful, but also a fierce spiritual practitioner. When I first met her, she had just come back from an extended retreat where she had come to exactly the same conclusion as I had. A mentor had told her, ”The love you are trying to get from the outside is actually who you already are.” I was so impressed by the depth and dedication of this young woman’s practice that we developed a deep friendship, comparing notes all the time by e mail on how to bridge the painful schism between the depths of meditation and the actually of intimate relationship.

Chameli and I have been married now for eight years, and what we have created is a miracle. If you had told me all those years back that I would have this kind of marriage, I would have laughed in your face. Some people might call it luck: you just have to meet the right person. Some might attribute it to the bruisings of aging and time. But I would chalk up the ecstatic triumph of this marriage to the consistent use of very specific practices which have allowed us not to change the quirks of our personalities (which are, by the way, irreparably broken), but to change the relationship we have to those habits.

I’d love to share more about this very intimate topic with you. It would be better to have a dialog about it.  Are you free to join me by phone or over the web this Thursday, June 17th at 6pm Pacific Time?  In this call, which will be about an hour, I will share with you the six most important “keys” to creating an ecstatic marriage out of the basic raw materials.  You can interact with me during the call, and dialog over the phone or through a web site.  If you can’t make it live, register anyway, and you can hear the recording on the same page. During the call I’ll also tell you about the Deeper Love retreat-at-home, which Chameli and I have been creating together these last months. I’ll also tell you about the Deeper Love seminar we’ll be doing in Europe this September.

REGISTER FOR THE CALL HERE

all my love, dear friends, Arjuna

and now, back to the meditation cushion…

intimacy2

I’ve been greatly blessed in my life by being with with many great teachers.  I was close for many years to H.W.L. Poonja (people called him Papaji), and it was he who initially asked me to be a teacher of awakening.  I had some fantastic visits with Urgyen Tulku Rimpoche who was at that time the lineage holder for the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  But my greatest teacher, my greatest guru by far, has been my marriage with my wife Chameli.  It has rooted out habit patterns which no other teacher has managed to do.  This marriage has been a portal to a depth of love and spaciousness that nothing else has come close to.

It has not always been this way.  After Poonja first asked me to teach I returned to the west and conducted “Satsang” for many years.  It’s easy in a context like that, when people gather together to meditate and to receive teaching, to experience a kind of “Big Love”, a love for everyone and everything.  Your heart is open, and you know things to be perfect just as they are.  The challenge I found at that time, which turned out to be true for many other teachers as well, was not at the Satsang meetings, but at home in ordinary human relationships.  The Big Love, the love you feel for everyone, is easy.  It’s the small love, the love you feel for people close to you where we experience our habits of control, closing down, criticism and judgment.  And so it was that I found myself in my early forties traveling the world as a spiritual teacher, but not being able to hold my own marriage together.

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