Let's talk about about intimacy.
It's very interesting to think about what intimacy means, as it seems to be the one thing that we are all looking for, and we normally wrap intimacy with believing that we're looking for somebody or others to be intimate with. I think that's an interesting idea because that can create a co-dependency that means people can only feel intimate with other people. Yet there is also a very important aspect to being intimate with yourself, which means loving your own body.
Now, if you ever come along to a tantra workshop, intimacy is one of the things that's on offer. There's something about very slow exercises, slow touching, there's eye gazing, there's then more intimacy or what we call intimacy. As I'm talking to you, it feels like it's connection. Actually, is there a confusion between intimacy and connection, i.e., when we connect with other people? Yes, it's an intimate act, but actually is that the only form of intimacy that we can experience?
Now, for me, when you walk into a workshop and connection is being offered, it creates an intimacy with the other persons in the room, and there's something here about the human need for connection with others. Often I've heard people say, "I want to be touched," "I have this feeling I just want to be touched," or "I want to laugh with somebody," or "I want to talk with somebody," or "I want to feel connected." What is it that we're looking for in that connected?
One of the ideas I want to put on the table around intimacy is it means is that you can be your true self. That means that it doesn't matter what you look like. You're not worried about that. It doesn't matter what you're thinking, and you're not trying to put up protections when you can be intimate. For me, the truth of that intimacy is the ability for you to be your true, unfiltered self.
Now, just think how many times do we all put up filters of ourselves in different places? Think about your family, the way that you are if you have parents that are here, how you are in relationship to them, how do you change and adapt yourself to fit in with them? Or if you have brothers or sisters, auntie, uncle, or even children of your own, how do you amend, change who you are, or filter yourself to fit in with those surroundings?
For me, I don't know if you've ever had a secret. If you can ever remember a time in your life where you had a secret and it's like you didn't tell anybody and you held it. For me, the most obvious one is being a gay man. Actually from the ages of around 17, 18, when I was super clear about it, there was a period of time where I was holding that as a complete secret, and I couldn't tell anybody.
Then when I did tell everybody, well, not everybody, I told the people closest to me, there was like a relief. I could feel relief. I could feel all this energy just letting go, just draining through my body, all of the time that I've been holding onto the truth and not being my truth and the cost of that. There is a huge cost to pay when you try to keep secrets or when you're not able to be your full self.
One of the other things I hear, particularly where somebody can't be their full self maybe with a partner, with family, people find it exhausting. The reason I feel that it's exhausting is that you have to work double time, double hard, to keep up the facades or keep up the protections that stop you being your true self.
Now, also, as I'm talking to you here, sometimes some of us have been so conditioned to act a certain way or be a certain way, that it's like we're weathered, like if you've ever seen those rocks in nature that gets shaped by the wind or shaped by the sea. Often in life, we can spend long periods, decades of our life being certain truths, sorry, or being certain not truths that we are, and I feel that we pay a price for that.
Often in my tantra workshops, there's women and men joining in their forties, fifties and even sixties. In some of those men, there's something about them feeling that they've missed out, or a feeling that they should have fixed this 20 years ago and actually what they've been living up to this point has been a lie to a certain sense or an untruth. For me, there is a longing in the human soul. There's a longing in us as human beings to live the truth of who we really are. That's quite profound. That we're going to live the truth of who we really are without feeling we need to filter ourselves.
I wonder whether our that's almost a basic human right, or a basic human need that we have, to be honest to ourselves. What gets in the way of that? What gets in the way of us filtering ourselves? Then I come back to this topic of intimacy. You can't be intimate if you're filtering yourself, if you're changing your behaviour, or you're stuck with what you feel about yourself, or stuck with how you see the world. These are all going to be barriers to true intimacy, to your true intimacy and connection with life.
I'm wondering whether when you share intimacy with somebody in a tantra workshop, as an example, whether that's almost like a training ground for you to see what it feels like to be your truth, be intimate, be stripped bare. People often think that the tantra journey is about being naturist, making sheep's eyes at each other, not cumming, rubbing each other's genitalia, and having multiple orgasms.
But actually the invitation of tantra is much deeper than that. The invitation of tantra is using your body and using the room, using the people in the room as methods and techniques to help you on a spiritual journey, firstly, to discover the truth of who you really are.
Now, for me, along the spiritual journey, there are several truths of who you really are. What I'm talking about in intimacy right here with you is the first truth of tantra is about human intimacy. We can go into energetic and spiritual intimacy later. In this blog, I'm talking specifically about persons that are brand new to tantra, that feel drawn to it. There's something available in tantra that is the super fast highway to being or experiencing intimacy. For me, it's also the super fast highway to deal with everything that gets in the way of that.
In the society we live in, often we are dealing with many judgments, judgments about ourself, judgments about others, judgments about the world. A lot of people never move out of that. They stay caught up in this trap of just talking about, judging, having an opinion. It almost feels like a prison, and it also doesn't feel like a very happy place. I think where we have that going on, that it is not a happy place that doesn't make us feel happy.
For me, a good test of that, can be viewing Facebook accounts. Go through your profile or someone you know, and notice the mood, notice how they feel, notice what judgements they have, about other people. For me, sometimes it feels like a scrambling to be the most popular, saying the right thing and triggering 'likes' on your post. I don't know about you, but one of my experiences of social media is that it doesn't always feel a positive experience because we're stuck in our judgmental selves.
So imagine that there's another possibility of how we might be as human beings. For me, in the tantra that I teach, the absolute invitation is love. Let's just feel that for a minute. The absolute invitation of my teaching, my offering to you is about love and in my spiritual journey, I have understood such an understanding of love that it's almost beyond this world, the capacity and the experience or the expansion of love. Also in tantra, we believe that everything is love in its true form and that actually everything that gets in the way of us seeing that is our own conditioning, is our own insecurities. It's basically all of us that are stopping ourselves getting into that.
I think that there's a choice about what life we choose to live and to know that we have the freedom and the potential to make changes, to feel aligned with love. The reason, the very reason I'm taking this time to write this blog and talk to you is because I passionately believe that there is a possibility to live love, to be in the center of love. As I said in the tantra that I teach, it's about working through everything that gets in the way of that.
Now, if we then come back to this topic around intimacy, then I wonder if it's a recognition of love seeing love. Imagine that. I just feel deeply touched as I'm saying that to you and considering that realization. Imagine it is love seeing love, seeing itself embodied in another human being. Imagine you go to a workshop, scared, all your projections. You work on moving all of those, and then maybe you'll get naked. Nothing better than to help somebody into vulnerability then get naked, be naked in a workshop room.
Then after a while you forget you haven't even got your clothes on and then there's like a intimacy. There's a connection. There's an energy in the room. Then when you come to look into somebody's eyes, I know that I'm inviting people to just really look into their eyes and see them and be with them. Again, as I'm there with you right now, there's something about what gets reflected back, what do you see and there feels like an intimacy that can grow. As I'm with you, it's like we both become the center of the universe, and everything else starts to surround around us and creates a bubble around us.
I wonder if that is consciousness, like the center of the universe is wherever consciousness is started from. As I'm with you, there's a start here. There's a seed and my attention is with you. My awareness is with you. I'm conscious, I'm here. I'm looking in your eyes. I'm present, I'm alive, I'm breathing. Nothing else exists in this moment other than this connection, and there's an intimacy that starts to develop as we go through that.
If you were in a workshop and this was another person eyes, or as you're looking into my eyes, maybe you can see love. Then maybe that contacts and touches the love that I can see in you in your eyes right now. What happens when we both have that recognition of seeing love in each other and then there's something about that, for me, is one of the most profoundest experiences, human experiences of intimacy, of connecting deeply with somebody else through the eyes and connecting to that love that you can see, and they see you, there's an intimacy and a connection that's now built.
That, for me, is the stuff to make love to. People talk about making love as intimacy. Actually, that's the stuff where nothing else really matters. There's such a truth and a vulnerability in that love that there's just a truth and it's like nothing else matters.
Now, for me, I think one of the mistakes is that we need somebody else to experience intimacy. I would argue that that can create co-dependency. If you look at some relationships where people have stayed together for a very long time, actually they can often stay together because they're conditioned or they're getting something good or bad. They're getting something out of it that keeps them there and/or the mistake.
Sometimes I see online, especially between gay men, looking for my life partner and there's a feeling of inadequacy because you don't have a partner, because you don't have a relationship. There's something wrong with you. My life is not good enough. There's something wrong. I've seen many people just keep looking for intimacy, looking for connection. I've seen people mistaking sex for intimacy, thinking sex is going to give them the intimacy.
My offering to you right now is that intimacy, firstly and lastly, starts with you and ends with you. How do you develop an intimacy inside yourselfself? That is about really starting to listen to yourself, listen to your body, listen to your energy, listen to your being, listen to your mind.
Now, all this listening is very much about consciousness and awareness, which is then suddenly that's the start of spirituality. So intimacy is love looking at itself. True intimacy is love looking at itself. Then, suddenly, we're being conscious of how to look at myself in love and be aware. So I think when we're talking awareness and being conscious, all of these things are connected together that take you on the journey of truth.
So, for me, just as I'm finishing my blog, one thread to note is that sex and intimacy are not necessarily the same thing, but beautifully together they can be magic. But then do you know something? You can have intimacy over a romantic dinner. You can have intimacy with your partner in a supermarket, just looking over the freezers. Laughing together becuase you both get the same message.
For me, as I'm with you, it's about love looking at love, acknowledging that and then when you see that, there's something that melts, the mind lets go, there's something in the body, there's something visceral that lets go and relaxes. I know that in the tantra retreats that I've taught over the years, there is such a possibility around the community that's created between these men and women that feels like love. The Tantra Love Festival in Glastonbury, saw a hundred and thirty gay men come together for 5 days. My job was to get them to open their hearts and connect in love and be love and magic happens. It's possible.
So my question to you is how does love, how does intimacy, occur in you? What is it you want? What is it that you desire in your life? How does love and intimacy play a part in that? Then how do you start living aligned to that idea of being loved, being intimacy, being vulnerable, being open, letting go, connecting?