Saturday, September 8, 2007

East Village, Sept. 2007

My teacher gave a terrific talk on Thursday about intimacy. Not only how to be intimate with others, and let down all the barriers that prevent us from really knowing other people, but also how to be intimate with ourselves. Before we can know and trust anyone else, we have to really know, and really trust, our own self.

I am terrible at this. And even that sentence is an example.

I tend to intellectualize everything -- not that I’m particularly smart, but just that I see the world through a very cerebral lens. As a result, I often cut myself off from what I’m really feeling. My body and my emotions become secondary to intellect and reason.

I also label everything -- like calling myself “terrible” above. As my teacher said:

“For whatever reason, all the causes and conditions that have led to where we are right now, so often we pull away -- and we separate our self from our self. We tell ourselves we’re very bad or we tell ourselves we’re very good, and it really doesn’t matter which, except one feels a little better than the other temporarily. Or we ought to, or we should, or we can’t -- and we separate and we separate.”

She points out that sitting is a way of training ourselves to really BE with ourselves -- our physical being, our breath -- as we watch the mad scramble of our minds. It’s a way of learning intimacy. And boy, do I need that.

My teacher has been posting many of her dharma talks online, and if you’re interested, you can hear this talk here. It really spoke to me, reminding me of some of the elementary reasons for practice.


Anonymous said...

I too am "terrible" at intimacy. Thanks so much for the link to the talk. I can definitely benefit from these ideas!


Anonymous said...

I sure am bad at being with myself. I am better than I used to be. In the past I was so worried about what everyone else thought of me that I pretended to be different than I was. As I have gotten older, I am more comfortable with me.

thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

does everyone have problems with this? me too anyway, i feel like i've only really begun learning over the past few years - i really liked and understood (i think) what you've shared here and will def. follow the link when i've got time and space ALONE (for once wd. be nice!!!) in my study.


loved the pics from the previous. your apartment looks lovely (suits you)
not quite how i remember from my dream tho...

Anonymous said...

Actually, Lettuce, I think everyone DOES have this problem to some degree. Our educational systems and our cultures teach us to divide things up and discriminate between good and bad, so we wind up with all these partitions that prevent us from merely allowing life to flow along, without judgments. And those judgments, all that thinking, get in the way of our attempts to be intimate.

As Merle said, though, it does seem to get better as we get older. I think we realize somewhere along the line that a lot of the intellectualizing we've been taught is actually rather useless.

Anonymous said...

i haven't got any problems at all

(perhaps i am too silly?)

Anonymous said...

Steve - welcome to the human condition. ;-) Seriously - I could write a massive commentary on what you say, but suffice it to say that what you are talking about in this post is the very reason I am alive - to combat this kind of thinking and turn people on to other alternatives. all creates our reality.

Anonymous said...

P.S. - read anything by Parker Palmer, or pick up something by Kenneth Gergen.