How many ways can we say “intimacy?” We say that “no separation, no attachment” is intimacy. “No gain and no loss” is intimacy. “Cause and effect are one” is intimacy. “Responsibility” is intimacy. “Forget the self” is intimacy. “Really be yourself” is intimacy. All these are simply different ways of saying the same thing: be intimate. Yet so long as we lock ourselves into this bag of skin, we lock out the rest of the universe and there is no intimacy.
Teachings of the Insentient by John Daido Loori
And yet, I wonder… how am I experiencing this intimacy except through this bag of skin…
The flowering almond meets me each year with a profusion of white blossoms. One year I pruned it in hopes that it would bend to my desire of being a bonsai. For the next few years, it stopped blooming. Branches dried and broke off each winter under the weight of snow and ice. I was heartbroken and finally decided it would have to be pulled up the next Spring. But we ran out of time and it lay neglected for another year or two. Then one year, the branches put out burgundy-tinged buds that exploded into clouds of white blossoms. Sometimes responsibility means letting go and letting be. Sometimes intimacy is falling in love with how steadfastly things change.
Thank you for practicing,
I’ve thought a lot about intimacy lately. My unstudied view has been that intimacy was something that occurred between my “self” and the “other” – my partner or a friend or the world around me.
More recently, however, it seems to me that the work of intimacy comes alive in the knowing of my own life with great detail and specificity. That is, knowing how my mind functions, how it moves towards dukkha, how it moves towards love, and how it resists and defends. Becoming intimate with this conditioned thing called “self” – that’s where it all seems to begin!
Thanks Barry for your comment. Who am I intimate with? Has always been in relation to the other. sitting still I begin to get intimate with myself…much more difficult.
I’ve sat in retreats with people over the years that I don’t know a lot about, in terms of what they “do” and “are”, but I have a strong sense of intimacy with them because we purposefully decided to sit next, or near, each other in postures of dignity, alertness and willingness; and just be there; neither “for” nor “with” each other (although those states were present as well, nothing excluded). Just there. That’s an intimacy that can be the basis for all the other intimacy variations we may encounter in our personal lives.