one family's yearlong dare to live their dreams

Spiritual intimacy

Shiva and Shakti by AlicePopkorn

Shiva and Shakti. Photo: AlicePopkorn

Many years ago I went target shooting with a friend of mine and his dad. My friend pulled me aside to tell me about some advice his dad had given him just before my friend got married (and that had him concerned). “Son,” my friend’s dad had told him, “enjoy your fun now; after you get married, you’re not going to get much of that.” Actually, his language was more colorful, but you catch my drift.

I glanced over at my friend’s dad. The dispenser of marital wisdom was at that moment reloading a .357 magnum revolver. He had the gun pressed between his legs as he sat, feeding bullets into the chambers, with the barrel pointed downward. The symbolism was inescapable: after you get married, you might as well trade in the equipment you were born with for an external substitute.

I’ve never accepted that. But it passes for conventional wisdom in a lot of circles. And now, between work and two kids, and all the otherĀ pressuresĀ of life as a so-called responsible adult, I can see why. Who has the time for sex? Who’s in the mood after struggling to get kids to bed and the kitchen cleaned up before collapsing into unconsciousness at the end of the day?

Actually, in the spirit of our living-for-our-dreams project, I’ve started to ask the question a different way: do I have time to share intimacy with the person I’ve chosen as my life partner? And what does intimacy mean, really? I’ve begun to think the answer might lie within a body (if you will) of Tantric wisdom that treats physical intimacy as a spiritual path. Sex in this light isn’t just about getting it on, but can be about reaching a deeper state of shared awareness, a step closer to God.

Love/marriage/sex as a spiritual quest. That’s something I can get behind, and so can Wendy. She’s already halfway there as a teacher of yoga.

My preliminary reading suggests that spiritual intimacy can be approached simply by creating a sacred space (can be a bedroom) and time (an hour seems minimal) when nothing else is allowed to intrude, and committing to fully seeing, hearing, feeling, and breathing with your partner.

We tried it out last night after we got the kids to bed, with no expectations. What resulted was an intense feeling of closeness that reminded us of the early days in our relationship. And what happened next, well, Wendy would rather I didn’t go into detail. Suffice it to say, I don’t see any firearms in my future.

We’ve committed to engaging in this practice on a regular basis. And I’ve started a search for a guru….

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4 Responses to “Spiritual intimacy”

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Michael: Bravo on stepping into the Tantric path.

    My partner doesn’t know it yet, but part of her Valentine’s surprise is that I’ve started a mutual altar in our guest room with some totems important to each of us. We’ll continue to craft it together.

    Evening time is our most intimate time, and if we’re not careful we can default to working in our independent work spaces through the whole evening. So, last night, we talked about how to “thematize” our evenings each week – which evenings for reading & conversation in the reading/living room? which evenings for meditation together? which evenings allowed for extended work? which evenings for friends & movies?

    We don’t know yet if a regular schedule will work for us, but for now the conversation and the effort seems like a good starting place.

    The guest room is being converted into our mutual meditation space where we’ll practice together at least once a week.

    Sometimes I imagine my lover’s body as a landscape I want to get to know intimately over the years through all the changes that such a scape inevitably incurs.

    Looking for a guru? Look in the mirror and across the breakfast table.

    • Michael says:

      Making space, making time. That’s the key isn’t it? Good point on the guru. Still, I imagine us going to a workshop or finding someone who who can give us pointers to help us along the way.

  2. bekkitae says:

    This is a beautiful post to read as an introduction to your blog and self.

    Intimacy is so important. Sex is, of course, a part of that… however I find the best kind of foreplay is the time together spent talking quietly – or not talking at all – with gentle, restrained, almost mindless caresses and explorations.

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