For most of my life, I’ve felt that a wedding ceremony should be a reflection of the fact that two people are basically “as good as married” already, and that a healthy commitment grows out of already existing intimacy and trust. But lately I’ve noticed that at least a few couples that I watched get married within two months of meeting each other, and that I doubted would last long, are still going strong years later. Sometimes, it seems, commitment creates intimacy and trust.
In 2009 I spent a couple weeks at the Wat Pahnnanna Chat monastery, in the austere and celibate Thai Forest Tradition. Most of the long-term monks seemed distant, unavailable for conversation, and even emotionally cold. I had friendly chats with one guy, though, an old Sri Lankan monk, who had kind eyes and always seemed warm and open. One morning we had the following exchange:
“What I’m about to tell you is very real – I’m telling you the truth – I’m telling you what’s really so for those people: their inability to respond, their bound-upedness, is the highest expression of love which they are able to muster. About this I know the answer: they have a capacity for love, like yours or like mine, which is absolute. The only thing bound up in their life is the expression of that capacity. So, what you’re getting is a bound expression of an absolute love for you.”
I have read that there is scientific-evolutionary-biological evidence that homo sapiens were not meant to be completely monogamous. For example, they’ve found that only a small percentage of sperm actually are able to impregnate an egg; the function of more than half of sperm is actually to destroy any other males’ seed that may…
I once read a book on sex that suggested that healthy sex has at least three aspects: respect, honesty, and consent. Within that framework, the book suggested, do whatever your dirty li’l minds come up with. That definition made a positive impression on me. And now, years later, having developed in my Buddhist practice, I like those three as good guidelines for a basic foundation of “right sexuality” that fits with the modern world that I live in.
The best that we can aim for is bringing awareness and allowingness to the heavy thick darkness of life and of ourselves, and thereby transform it into light, and finding some sort of balance for the time being.
We’ve discovered certain behaviors and attitudes nurture relationships and help them grow. Healthy detachment, honesty, self-love, love for each-other, tackling problems, negotiating differences, and being flexible help nurture relationships. We can enhance relationships with acceptance, forgiveness, a sense of humor, an empowering but realistic attitude, open communication, respect, tolerance, patience, and faith in a Higher Power. Caring about our own and each other’s feelings helps. Asking instead of ordering helps. Not caring, when caring too much hurts, helps too. Being there when we need each other helps. Being there for ourselves, and doing our own personal growth work helps.
Try to deeply understand the other person is saying, to have a feeling of how the world looks to them, and have them know that they are understood, whether we agreed with and enjoyed what they said, or not.
I love this quote, which has been my email sig line for a few months now. I feel like it expresses nicely and succinctly the importance of a balanced between, on the one hand, self-love and taking care of oneself, and, on the other, love of others, generosity, and connection.
Conflict resolution, when done in a structured, intentional, loving, and disciplined way, is a deep and profound yoga. Ideally, one ends up feeling much more connected, rather than lonely and separated from, with the person or people one was conflicting with, with one’s deepest self, with humanity at large, with the natural world, and with Divinity, after having done so.
I make it my aim, wherever possible, to be genuine with people and to be real in my communications. To my mind, in the end, being real in this way is the only real way for people to be close.