Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How to be Intimate



Oftentimes when email questions I receive follow a particular pattern something gets triggered which literally forces me to write about it. The following recent emails have provoked such a response. Here are some of them…

“I keep wanting honesty from my relationships and yet I make it impossible to elicit such honesty since I counteract their honesty when given.”

“You suggest for me ‘to be’ but how can I when I feel such guilt?”

“I feel so stuck despite years of study and reading from major teachings.”

“I have felt a heaviness in my system ever since I can remember and yet nothing has ever helped me, why?

“I can’t seem to live the truth I feel I know so well!”

We have all read enough and so this article will be focused on direct experience. Before we can have a direct experience of what seems to create these disturbing and confusing questions, let’s make one thing perfectly clear, which is, the vast difference between thinking and feeling. Our questions are based on FEELING and yet we think about them rather than FEEL them directly.

What is the vast difference between THINKING and FEELING?

First of all, thinking is always “about-it” but never IT, itself. So, when you think about something, it is always “about it” and not IT directly. Thus we not only miss it but exacerbate it. On the other hand, FEELING is immediate; feeling is direct; feeling cannot be solved by thinking for it only compounds it!

Trying to make sense of a feeling by thinking about it is like trying to fly by flapping your arms. And yet, absurd as it may seem, this is exactly what creates most of the questions I get. You can’t figure out a feeling because it is impossible. Thinking emerges from conditioned thought and so it cannot understand feeling anymore than darkness can understand light.

Feeling is not a thought. Feeling is awareness combined with memory. For example, let’s say as a child you were laughed at in school and felt inadequate. Now you find yourself, many years later, disliking anyone immediately that laughed at you (or suspected they were laughing at you). No amount of thought regarding your feeling can alter it. Your perceptual memory of the incident has become frozen as a memory in your cellular genetic code and you react without having the slightest idea why. And, even if you found out why it would still trigger the feeling. The only way we could rise above such a feeling would be through the awareness without its conditioned perception. Yet people keep studying and reading material while being stuck with their conditioned perceptions, hence the usual frustration and confusion

So, what can we do? -- since feeling is direct and immediate and ever-present, then it is the awareness of such a feeling without its memory (judgement, story, thought) that we can cleanse the feeling from its painful experience. Here’s how…

First, acknowledge the FEELING just as it is without any judgement or blame towards anyone especially yourself. A good friend of mine pictured her heaviness like an anchored ship unable to move. Feel your feeling and give it a shape, color or metaphor. This picture would help in not thinking about the story or judgment of being good or bad. This feeling is usually a nagging discomfort, a self-consciousness we have had since childhood; it could feel like a guilt, shame, fear; a feeling of not being-good-enough; a feeling as if we have done something wrong or lacking something. And, if you are true to yourself you’ll discover that this feeling has been with you most of your life.

This feeling is in everyone whether we admit it or not because it is our very essence craving expression. It is our core Being reaching out to itself wanting intimacy. Since most people are not aware of this inner craving for love because it is seen as personal attachment then it is rarely experienced as it actually is. It is in experiencing this inner core that we finally wake up to our true essence of Being. People who battle with this feeling, while being interested in spiritual truth, often confuse the issue with personal pain-body and so miss the collective quality of such a happening.

How is it a collective feeling? Even as you read this booklet you will resonate with it and, in total honesty, you know it relates to you. Yet if you handed this booklet to another person who was also honest they will feel the same way. Therefore, isn’t it logical to assume that it is NOT personal but a collective (universal) experience?

What keeps you separate from that intimacy is the fear you are not good enough; not worthy of love or awakening. This is the fear that you knew from the moment of birth. It is the fear that was communicated to you by your parents, by your conditioning and by all those you came in contact with in daily life.

The first step towards the state of beingness is to become intimate, very intimate, with yourself because that’s when you discover your true divine nature.

This feeling is with everyone but most people are not aware of it at all, and those who are aware of this feeling make it personal as if it is happening only to them. It is this personal attachment that creates the most emotional suffering.

As we grow older, this feeling doesn’t go away but simply gets covered up by trying to find meaning in material gain, success, fame or a relationship. However, we can never make this feeling go away despite our best intentions. The problem is that despite our achievements we still carry this feeling with us that surfaces once more when we have got used to our material gain, success or relationship. It usually surfaces in our relationships when they become intimate and start demanding honesty of feelings when honesty can only be self-honesty. In other words, we cannot make our partner honest in their feelings towards us while we are still beset with our own undiscovered unease.

Since this feeling can never be solved by thought about it nor overcome by any exploration through words, what can we do?


We can start by learning to LISTEN without judgment the moment the feeling becomes obvious such as feeling betrayed, angry, upset, hurt, depressed, anxious or any negative drama. We listen by knowing that any negative feeling is a negation of pure feeling (which is love).


Love is what we want most of all from the moment we were born (collective search for Oneness).

We can start LISTENING by visualizing the following:-
Picture the following as clearly as you can – you see an innocent child who is feeling sad, hurt, misunderstood and disowned. Reach out to this child by looking lovingly into their sad eyes and compassionately hold their hands into yours as you feel the warmth of love enfolding you. All you feel towards this child is love and total absolute acceptance.

This child is your inner pain that you often voiced without feeling it directly but often blamed it on yourself or another. This inner child lives in every human being because it is a collective inner unconscious knowing of our true essence called LOVE.

This Love, which is craved, is often our greatest fear and that’s why suffering reaches such great proportions. For example, what is loneliness but the feeling of separation from the Oneness we are.
Our true love nature when misunderstood becomes a great fear. Here’s another example, you fall in love with someone, what is it that happened? For a few moments you have forgotten about yourself and seen only this ‘other.’ It is this utter absence of self that is pure love. Just like when a mother gives a painful birth to her child and at the moment of holding that child there is only love and joy (no ego). Yet, our mind conditioned by the idea of personal image concludes that such a loss of self is akin to death and so whenever our identity is threatened we suffer a form of death. We do not realize that the egoless Self is our true joy and fulfillment. When not recognized then it becomes our greatest fear. Loneliness, desolation, isolation, deprivation and separation are all our greatest suffering. Yet, if we LISTENED to that feeling as it actually is we would awaken our dormant joy and love.

Our hunger for truth through teachings becomes just another search to give us meaning and escape our inner pain. We do not yet realize that only the dissolution of this pain can we discover our Oneness nature. Living truth is not knowing the words but feeling the Pure Feeling of our true essence known as Love and felt as peace and joy.

This contact with this lost child is an intimate contact with yourself – it is the highest and closest intimacy with your Being nature. What is not of love and joy is simply a reminder of this lost child and your reactions to it.

This lost child exists in everyone who has not found their true nature yet. It is more evident in people who have not received the love and warmth as children and therefore know clearly here and now that whenever you feel hurt, betrayed, offended, depressed, angry, anxious or frightened it is really the little lost child inside you and not the ‘other’ you are blaming. We are never upset for the reason we think and believe but always because of that little child’s fear of not being lovable enough; not being good enough or being deserving enough when in truth this little child is also your Essence of Being crying out for its own discovery and claiming its own right ‘To Be.’ That child always feels it has done something wrong without having the slightest idea what that wrong could be.

Review your world right now and see what you don’t like about it. Then having done that see how you have created this world through the beliefs of that lost child inside you. There is no wrong in what you see but only the “belief in wrong” created by that lost child seeking its home and acting through your nervous system as unconscious reactions.

There is no spiritual practice necessary except the intimacy with yourself. No one can supply that need for assurance, security and freedom other than yourself through loving and accepting this lost child. This is the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. It is the story of forgiveness (embracement, welcoming, acceptance, allowing, surrender etc).

In brief, there are two secrets of transformation and they are…

1. Acknowledgement of your inner pain as a collective need for Love.
2. And secondly, to allow it totally as you would allow a child’s loss of innocence by holding its hands and embracing it with love.

Remember that there’s nothing ever wrong with you. Your true nature is love itself and therefore Divine Oneness.

When, during an emotional crises, you are able to LISTEN to that inner child (pain-body) that’s how transformation happens and we awaken our knowing without thinking about it.

You may still have ideas about who you are through a conditioned self-image and thus keep the pain of that child ever deep in your unconscious, but, until these ideas are wrapped in the joyous emotion of knowing the truth of your being, you will not transform into the beauty of you.


It is this awakened inner knowing that will bring us peace, love and freedom from suffering. There is no greater joy than having a glimpse of your eternal Oneness.

NOTE: Contact me if you have questions
burtharding@shaw.ca

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