By request, I’m reposting the following thoughts on the journey of spiritual healing through sacred intimacy:
In The Shared Heart, Barry and Joyce Vissell say:
The greatest need that exists in a relationship is the spiritual need…it is when a couple, after many tests and initiations, comes to the deep inner knowing that they cannot realize God separate from each other.
There comes a time along the path of love when we are faced with our own selfishness….As long as our own dreams and goals are more important to us that those of our partner, we prevent ourselves from experiencing divine love. Unconditional love is attained the moment we forget ourselves and truly desire to help another on the journey of life….
===========================================================================================Recently, Recently, I taught another class on Sacred Intimacy for Couples. It was a joy to once again be with a group of couples who are searching for a path to deeper bonding, and for more ways to open their hearts to each other.
Committed relationship is so challenging. When each dear couple comes into my office struggling to match their experience with their vision, I like to start by letting them know it’s hard for everyone.
(The names given here are not the actual ones, but the challenges are very real and very widespread.) It’s hard for Janet and William who are young and healthy and feel highly attracted to each other; they still struggle over problems with money, children and different levels of sexual desire. It’s hard for Marie and Len who’ve been together for 52 years; Marie has Parkinson’s, and has many limitations because of it. It’s hard for Annie and Joan who were finally allowed to marry, only to have their marriage invalidated. It’s hard for Eric and Lena who have not had intimate contact for years, and who have not yet learned ways to enjoy alternative forms of loving touch regardless that don’t depend on health and fitness.
It’s hard for me and my partner, with our many demographic and cultural differences. And it’s hard for any couple you know who seems to be so happy, so well-suited, so in love. In any group of couples, all of the happy ones are the ones who have done–and are doing–the work of relationship.
The work of the couple’s journey is parallel to our spiritual journey. Relationship often provides priceless lessons and metaphors for discovering our divine nature and becoming as loving as we can be. Where else can we see our ego-driven limitations so vividly? (“If you’d just do everything my way, we wouldn’t have all this conflict!”) Where else can we see the results of our childhood wounds so clearly? (For example, we feel chronically controlled or that we must control, we’re afraid to trust, we’ve never seen a loving relationship up close, we’re angry and don’t why, we don’t want to talk about it because that never helped in our original families. And then, there’s body shame, sexual guilt, despair and depression.)
Far from least, for many of us, the profound pain of having been taught that we are not really lovable affects us for life in every close relationship and every sexual experience.
The good news is that the couple’s journey can be a most fruitful lab for learning and practicing essential truths. Great teachers and poets teach us that:
• Like every human being,each of us is precious and ultimately lovable. So are our partners. A couple can learn to make honey out of their old errors (a lovely idea from the poet Machado.)
• As the poet Rilke said, we must study love like a profession. And when we do, we give priceless gifts to all who come after us.
• Sexuality is a divine gift that can bring great joy to any loving, adult couple willing to become vulnerable to each other. Difficulties caused by hormones and childbirth and menopause and aging can all be addressed.
Whoever you are, passion is your birthright!
I plan to offer a sacred intimacy class as a teleseminar for those who live far away. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be informed about this.