When I was asked to write a piece on spiritual intimacy, I wondered what I could say that Eric J. Leech didn’t already address in his wonderful article on 9 Intimacies, Beyond Sex. Eric defined intimacy specifically as “a warm relationship between lovers that is characterized by a relaxed informality, deep understanding, vulnerability, shared empathy, and the need to be close.” The only thing I would change would be to replace “lovers” with simply “people.”
When most people think of intimacy, they automatically assume it means a sexual relationship, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In order to be intimate, we need to allow ourselves to be completely present when we are with another person. When we do so, we take down the walls, and we are real. We are not concerned with how we will be perceived — there is no reason to try to impress. We are free to be ourselves. Below are just a few examples of how simple it is to be intimate with friends, strangers, and the Source.
When you go out, dare to turn off your cell phone and check messages later, spend some time with a friend, truly be there for them, hear what they have to say, and try to understand in your heart how they are feeling. We just want someone to listen to us — not to fix the problem — but to hear how we are feeling. Everyone just wants to be understood.
Put your own thoughts and troubles aside, and really look at the people around you. Look into the eyes of a stranger — can you tell how they are feeling? Do their eyes tell you a story? If so, you have just connected and shared an intimate moment. On some level, they felt the ‘inner-action’ … someone cared enough to notice them. In a world of lonely people, you have no idea what effect you may have on someone by taking the time just to ‘see’ them.
If you change the pronunciation of intimacy ever so slightly, you hear “in to see me.” Take down the walls, step through the fears, and allow people to see you for who your really are.
We all want intimacy, yet, in this world of technology, we are removing ourselves further away. People need to hear a voice, not just read typed words.
None of us are perfect, but we put so much time and energy trying to convince people that we are. As long as we are trying to hide parts of ourselves from the world around us, we also block out being able to truly know others.
Conversely, by going within, reflecting on your intimate experiences with others, and occasionally shutting everything else out in quiet meditation, you can also experience an intimate relationship with the Source.
It takes one person at a time to change the world. If you are seeking intimacy in your life, you have to first be willing to give it. Try it with one or two people just for a week, and then watch how others begin to treat you differently. You may be surprised.