Reflections On Intimacy

One of the articles in Friends & Lovers (IC#10)
Originally published in Summer 1985 on page 50
Copyright (c)1985, 1997 by Context Institute

What Love Is

by Amrit Desai


If you truly love, you feel compassion for the other, but you do not make the other the center of fulfillment for your addictions. You are your own center, independent and able to draw happiness from the core of your being. This core becomes the source of all fulfillment for you. As a result, those who come near you receive your freely given gift of love, rather than an exchange of our emotions for their support or acceptance. Such an exchange is not love, but attachment. Attachment is a bargaining process; it is based on sentimentality, the need for control and power and the fear of losing. It ultimately results in pain. Love, on the other hand, expresses itself as compassion, truth, nonviolence, patience, perseverance, tranquility, contentment and joy. It is a factory which produces peace in abundance, the only lasting source of the deep inner happiness man so consistently seeks.

The Meaning Of Sex

by Gene Knudsen Hoffman


The following is excerpted from an article in
Friends Bulletin, November 1974.

FOR ME, SEX HAS ALWAYS BEEN for the creative purpose – to conceive the child of flesh or Spirit. I have not always been able to live true to this awareness – for sometimes I sought it in dry and barren places – believing such sweet communion was possible, discovering it was not.

Very early it was for exploring the mystery of my body – the mystery of my body linked in love with another – for learning about the opening bud of myself. Then it was to bear children – those bright spirits, leaning heavenward, whom I can sometime follow in my heart. Once it was for my healing – for healing my vision of myself. At another time, I gave myself freely because I saw that others needed this same healing from me. All of these were journeys of my Spirit, and they were right.

There was a long span of time when my Spirit said no to any sex. Something else needed growing in me then.

At yet another time I discovered, through sex, that I was at the live-point of new creation. So great a creativity flowed through me I could not rest or sleep, but life and my creative energies fused in some phoenix fire, and I tirelessly burned in its pure, clear flame.

At this place in my time, my sexual life is one of shared experience and of wonder. I am discovering its depth and quietening. I am re-discovering the miracle and the mystery of my body – a new reverence for it; a new awareness of its multiplicity of possibilities – that it can encompass uttermost and exquisite pain and longing and joy and delight. It is awakening me to the sounds and silences of the universe, and the whispers and breathings of my Spirit. And, it’s fun!

Today, it’s not for shutting doors to feeling – but for flinging them open wide. It does not anesthetize me; it sharpens all my perceptions. It’s for expanding out, for including, for embracing, for growing, for feeling more of everything.

But – I walk a narrow line in sex. Indeed, I walk a path of holy obedience. Because it does speak so deeply to my inner condition, because it can "space me out," I must be wary and totally aware. This line, this path, is like star-steps to fields of wonder.

And how do I know if it is right for me to have a sexual relationship? What are the signs? I can tell you of some I have discovered – though I am sure there are many more.

First, I must know that I meet him with whom I have a sexual relationship on the path of my Spirit – that we can communicate in that dimension. I must know I am linked with love – for me, for him, for my Spirit. And I discover whether or not this is true through those lightening-like intuitions and words and symbols and acts – and after-images in the relationship.

Then I must continue to explore, sometimes hourly, sometimes daily, answers to these queries: Am I easy in my spirit about continuing it? Am I hurting no one else? Does the center of my life continue to be my life, my Spirit, not him with whom I share the sexual experience? Does it enlarge me, expand me, enable me to see the world and others and myself in new dimensions? Does it bring me closer to the wonder and the mystery of myself and him and all of life? Does the relationship enable me to discover and transform the seed of war in me: the craving which leads to lust for possession, to disconnectedness from the moving, flowing life about me?

And, foremost, is it intertwined with love – the love that wishes him to grow, wishes him to live, free of me? Do I, because of the relationship, discover the seeds of holiness which exist in everything more vividly, more easily? Does it open me out in love to everyone, instead of locking me in a one-to-one relationship? Is it a sacrament, i.e., do we, by our presence in one another’s lives, enable each other to develop our own uniqueness – to individuate more fully?

And, finally, can I let it go? Can I let this dove of joy fly to my hand, hold it there for the moment, or whatever moments are allowed me – and then set it free to soar to its own destination, leaving me with the sweetness of greater knowledge, greater awareness for having experienced its presence?

If I can answer yes to all, or most of these questionings, then I move fearlessly (for if there is fear, I am jangled, out of tune, and I must stop) into relationship. For I know then, it is for the great creative purpose, and through it, I become a greater force for love and awareness in this universe in which I live.

From Ananda

by Asha Prayer


Asha Praver is a long time resident of Ananda Cooperative Village in California.


On Sexual Relations
If you habitually have sexual relationships with people you do not trust, you never let it into the heart. You keep it totally in the physical centers of the body because it is easier to be violated physically than emotionally. If you have the habit of not allowing something as intimate as sexuality to enter your heart, you begin to develop the habit of letting nothing into your heart . . . If you stand next to each other and use that marriage to serve the world, then the fact of the closeness you can attain sexually becomes a spiritual thing . . . If you have a spiritual union, then even when you are making love, it is spiritual. If you are trying to create something spiritual out of something fundamentally physical, it won’t work in that direction. . . There is a tremendous emotional exchange with a tremendous responsibility when you have a sexual relationship with somebody. You have to ask, "Am I willing to take this kind of responsibility specifically for this person?" You need to know enough about the person you are with to know whether you want that. And, if you are not willing to take that responsibility it is dishonest even to participate.

On Marriage The first marriage has to be a marriage to Truth. Better to be lonely and living according to the truth than to be living with someone who will take you away from it; you have to come to terms with this or you will be trying to fit the truth to what you want it to be . . . The purpose for marriage is for self-knowledge and self-growth; and if that purpose is fulfilled, then the relationship will be fulfilled . . . Your wedding is an agreement to make a marriage; marriage is not a solution; it’s the beginning of a challenge, a process. The process is to create not one person out of 2 people, but 2 people out of 2 people . . . If you decide to be unhappy, no one in this world can make you happy, and vice versa. It’s a personal decision. If you feel unhappy in a marriage, it’s not your spouse’s fault; you have to take total responsibility for your own state of mind . . . A marriage contract is only a social agreement until we make it sacred by the consciousness we put into it.

What Is Love?

by Stan Dale

A CATHOLIC NUN in Chicago, many years ago, hollered an angry reply to my question of "What is love?".

"It just is, that’s all. It just is!"

I don’t know whether this particular nun knew that for herself, or whether she was just flustered and said the first thing that came to mind, but the truth of her words has stayed with me for all these years. Yes, love just is. Like the sun just is, the air just is, energy just is and the stars just is. Yes, I know that’s not grammatically correct, but who said that stars had to be plural and love singular? Love are! So there!

Who is the expert on love? Is it Leo Buscaglia, who wrote the book Love? If so, what does he say? What do we all say? Love is . . . then we add a bunch of stuff after it. Like, "Love is . . . never having to say you’re sorry." "Love is . . . like a babbling brook." "Love is . . . a baby’s smile." Etc, etc, etc. I’ll be no different. "Love is . . . unconditional." Period! That’s all. It is akin to saying "Love is," but that’s too simple. The stars make no conditions. They just is. The sun makes no conditions. It just are. The air has no conditions. It just is.

Human beings make conditions. The reason we make conditions . . . we don’t know that love just is. We think it is in limited supply. Like eggs in a basket, we believe that love is very fragile, and once it’s gone, there ain’t no more. Of course, we don’t think that way about anything else that just is. That is, of course, because we don’t know that love is as plentiful and ever-present as the stars, the sun, the air and energy.

Maybe another way of saying it is "Love is . . . energy." After all, everything in the universe is nothing but energy. We humans are nothing but energy, but because we don’t know that love is, and is is energy, and that we are energy, and that if we knew that, we would be love, we don’t know love. We don’t know ourselves. We don’t know that we are love. WE ARE LOVE! Wow!

Maybe we have just found the secret of the universe. If the universe is made up of nothing but energy, and we are nothing but energy, and love is energy, then love, the universe and us is one. So the stars really is, not are, and we is. You, and me, and the stars, and the universe and love just is, and I truly am you, and you is me. So when you and I get together we really are in the body of love, and love can’t be possessed or owned any more than you can possess or own the stars. Thou art love!

Now, the only thing we have to do to be there is to know it. The only way to know it is to know that you is, I is, the universe is, the stars is and love is. If you need proof, try to grab the stars, the air or love. What do you have left? That’s right, just you . . . and YOU IS!

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