The Thread (t) s of Intimacy…

People, People, People…all around us. We want them and run away from them too. Most of our lives are spent or invested in relationships. Right form the time we are born till we claim our coffins, relationships with other human beings always surround us. Love them or hate them, you cannot do without them. There are various reasons why we have relationships with people. The relationships we seek satisfy some of our needs and desires. These needs can be broadly categorized into physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Physical needs are well known to all. Emotional needs are that of warmth, affection, appreciation, acceptance, security etc. Mental needs could be of intellectual stimulation, discerning rights and wrongs etc. Spiritual needs could be that of seeking harmony with life, a positive outlook, need for oneness etc.

Based out of these needs and may be more, we seek relationships. Subconsciously, each one of us has clearly defined criteria of accepting and rejecting prospective candidates into that mould or framework we are looking for. Just like a kitchen recipe, we all know at the bottom of our hearts that how much of which ingredient we need in our life. As per our conditioning and scripting, we attract the kind of people who will add the required spice to get the perfect flavour in our lives.

I believe that it is from the most intimate relationships that we learn the most. Many of us derive our sense of being from these relationships. In my view, an intimate relationship is one where you are not required to be someone else but your own self. Your Self, is not threatened here. It feels 100%. Unfortunately, there is a lot of homework and investment that goes into the development of this kind of intimacy. In order to feel that sense of security, you will first be challenged whether you need to share your feelings/ emotions/ fears which for many years were covered by a protected shell known as “private self”. It is only when you can learn to open up without fear that you can enjoy the relationship. This definitely works on a tacit assumption that your partner appreciates your opening up. Each one of us decides what we should and shouldn’t share with our partners. The opening up requires courage and a deep sense of security in oneself. It requires courage because you need to move out of your comfort zone and start walking inward with your partner. You take chances of being “misunderstood”. The entire process makes you vulnerable. It is for these reasons that we carefully choose the people to whom we open up with and bare ourselves.

The irony here is that we seek closeness/ intimacy in relationships and escape from them for the same reason. Every person has defined the limit till where he will tolerate another person. The feeling of Oneness which is sought through sex never goes beyond that, for, we cannot shed the clothes of mental make up that we wear. The intimacy we seek is like getting naked each time you open up to somebody. Shedding off these physical garments is much easier than taking off the layers of one’s deep rooted desires, thoughts, insecurities and needs. Taking from the analogy of a recipe, the best cuisines are those in which all the spices lose their individual flavours to make one delicious serving. The paradox in it is that they lose themselves but are always remembered, for, the final outcome wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t there. It is this losing of our self which we fear and never open up even to some beautiful angels who cross our paths. We are more concerned about the momentary vulnerability of unclothing ourselves than the gains that one finds by merging into the parts of the other. We choose to settle for less by taking minimal risks.

To quote an example here: A friend of mine lost his first love in an accident. He married an individual who did not meet him at all planes and he never grew out of his first love. A decade after his successful marriage and being blessed with a child, he felt the gap in him growing and fell for a girl who possibly met those unfulfilled needs. His passions and love which were locked till now started opening with the warmth of this new relationship. Nevertheless, having protected a part of him for so many years, he could not give himself completely to the relationship and named the growing distance as “personal space”. It was the growing intimacy that possibly threatened him and forced him to keep away to safeguard his pride and responsibilities. He knew what he was missing in life and hence was afraid to handle it when he received it.

Being yourself does not mean you never change. The “I” constantly needs to be renewed through a process of learning and unlearning. Quoting from nature, it is the mighty looking trees that are forced to break in a storm and the feeble yet agile grass survives it. The rigors of any intimate relationship provide a good basis for this constant renewal process. Human beings are known to learn more through pain than through pleasure. Intimacy has the capacity to transcend that pain into an enjoyable experience. Unless, we give ourselves completely into any activity or relationship we cannot gain the maximum.

We go on accumulating skills, degrees and qualifications but hardly ever take our learnings from the school of relationships. Not many of us know why we do what we do, likewise, even this aspect of our lives i.e. the ingredients we seek in our recipe of life, remain a victim at the hands of our awareness of ourselves.

Hence, the threads of intimacy become the threats of intimacy.

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When You Love Someone…

Love is one of the most universal emotions we experience. Different cultures, ages, periods, geographies but this is one emotion that is like the air that is always there. For the most fundamental reason that human beings are the same essentially but may be just packaged and conditioned a bit differently having born and brought up on a different mud. Even though it is one of the most universal emotions, it is also one of the most diverse in its expression. Or may be interpretation of the same emotion changes by the equation the two people involved in it and experiencing it share. For most or many of us the understanding that is provided to us of Love is most likely equated to the act of possession. For example- When you love someone or someone loves you, he becomes yours and vice versa. There are many interpretations to this expression too. It is exercising a right that you feel on that individual’s life. You want to know all that happens in his life. The purest intention that supports this is the feeling that you want to be a part of everything that happens in his life. You feel like sharing it , for , you are concerned about him and also want to protect him from anything bad that could happen.

As much as these intentions are pure, their manifestations take a toll in our lives if we completely give into them. It gives rise to an expectation that, the person whom you love should always be in touch with you and keep informing you of all happenings. In today’s tech savvy world, may be one is expected to atleast keep messaging if not calling every one hour. As long as the statistics of the calls is maintained, all is fine but when it changes for any genuine reason, one is accused of losing interest in the relationship and we throw up words like-“ You don’t love me as much as you did”, “ the madness has faded away”. The concern assumes lesser importance than the number of calls of messages exchanged. May be somewhere we live with unrealistic notions that the honeymoon period will always stay, the time when you traveled hours just to meet your beloved once or maybe called up 50 times a day. May be we need to understand that as time passes the relationship matures, needs change and what was earlier communicated by 50 calls, just takes the glance of an eye today.

Someone very truly recognized that change is the only constant in life and that we must learn to love like flowing stream of water …adapting itself yet maintaining itself. Whenever you feel that loss of harmony in you , may be it would be a good idea to sit down and take a check, understand what is happening inside you. More often than not, you will realize that sometimes we crib because we do not know another way of responding to a situation and possibly lack the required time to invest in the activity. For example: You had planned a date 15 days in advance but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it cannot happen. What do you do? As humans, our first reaction will be to complain, to crib, to try and pull it on anyways. When this happens, may be we could just silence ourselves for a moment, acknowledge what is happening inside and choose to respond in a more beautiful manner. Tough, it is but once you make up your mind to choose happiness in a relationship then there can be no stopping. It is an addiction and mind you, a good one indeed.

From my brief understanding of this oceanic emotion, I understand that it is meant to give life and not snatch it away from someone. It is meant to give happiness and not take it away. Many a times in the name of love, we give a lot of pain to the person involved because he possibly does not act the way we want him to. Loving someone does not give you an authority to command him to change or mould as per your wishes. At times when we are unhappy with a certain behavior of the person, we need to understand that WE are unhappy with the behavior and the behavior per se may or may not be wrong. For instance, you may expect him to take you for a candle light dinner every week and you feel dejected if he does not. In response, you do not talk to him for days to come but never even let him know what disturbs you , for you want him to guess it from the tone of your voiceJ Come on, just take a break from yourself!

Sometimes it is fun to register the emotions we fall prey to. More often than not, you will laugh at yourself and make things easier for you and the people around you…All the best buddy!

Note: The use of “He/Him” here substitutes for “She/Her” too.

LOVE happens just once????

For social ease in the Indian scenario we have been made to believe the above but experiences of many a evolved soul says more than once is not just possible but is often the way it is. We fall into a trap of evaluating love calling it real or unreal. If it turns into marriage it is real or else its not, what a conditioning we are given and that too for generations together. There can be no right or wrong about love. It simply “IS”.

Here, I am not providing justifications for the stray affairs that happen or emerge out of want for just physical intimacy. Love is an ocean, it is like the air that we breathe which keeps us alive and keeps us going. Sometime earlier I have made a mention saying that Love as an element is always present in each of us and it is some external stimuli that makes it overflow from us and touch another soul or even an activity. Other activity could be love for music, for books, photography..it is just anything or just that one thing that makes you feel that you have come Alive.

What interests me is the complexities that we give rise to when this love happens to be for more than one person( read as if between life partners). When a person feels love for another, gets married and settles down, why we knock down the possibility of him being in love with some other individual as well. May be we are unsure of ourselves, may be we do not trust ourselves that we can live with the fact that one may love more than one person at the same time. It for sure requires a rock solid understanding of your self and an eternal openness to accept things as they happen. We possibly feel threatened by our own heart’s calling. Some of my friends who were born years earlier than what I was confess in me saying that there have been instances where after a point of time in their lives, when they discovered themselves more, they approached their then partners to communicate and expected them to understand their process of evolution which in essence is CHANGE. Not very often it has happened that two people in love accept change in their partners and with grace. Somewhere down the line two individuals forget that they are so and that one is exposed to certain experiences that the other is not. For example, a housewife can only imagine what her spouse is experiencing at work which also depends on the amount of sharing done by the other partner. The level of understanding of one is limited to his or her exposure and experiences. In many cases couples experience a disconnect after a period of time, could be 5, 10 , 15 or more years. This so happens because when two decided to unite, they were on a common platform , later one may outgrow the other. The one who has outgrown, does make an attempt to make the other understand what he is going through and how he is evolving each day. He expects his life partner to understand and appreciate the changes(read growth) but may not always find it so.

Whenever we find an individual who appreciates, complements and understands us we begin to love him. This does happen to many couples in marriage. Some separate and live with the other person and some beautifully and subtly manage love and responsibility. This phenomenon can occur many times in one’s life, it is we who have to first understand ourselves and accept that such a thing is possible.

Quite often I question the definition of a successful marriage- is it the number of years that one spends under one roof with another (with due respects to all the couples who do live together, no comments on that). The society has often looked down upon people who divorce and remarry another individual. It is through these rights and wrongs that we let ourselves get influenced and not follow our hearts. I have also come across children who hate their parent for loving some other person than their mother/ father. It is much later or may be never that the child understands and appreciates the choice his parent made.

I have come to understand that we learn through relationships. We are Given souls in different relationships for us to learn different subjects. Physically Close are those from whom we or being with whom we got to learn the most. Also, this happens over many cycles of lifetimes. What is known to your heart, your inner being is not known to anybody else, it cannot be explained in words. When you choose not to listen to your inner voice, you choose fear and not life. And yes, living the path your heart chooses is definitely a matter of courage.

Sum it up by Kahlil Gibran’s quote- Do not try to direct Love, for if it finds you worthy enough, it will direct you into its own course…Have faith!