Intimacy has been my Guru

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I’ve been greatly blessed in my life by being with with many great teachers.  I was close for many years to H.W.L. Poonja (people called him Papaji), and it was he who initially asked me to be a teacher of awakening.  I had some fantastic visits with Urgyen Tulku Rimpoche who was at that time the lineage holder for the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  But my greatest teacher, my greatest guru by far, has been my marriage with my wife Chameli.  It has rooted out habit patterns which no other teacher has managed to do.  This marriage has been a portal to a depth of love and spaciousness that nothing else has come close to.

It has not always been this way.  After Poonja first asked me to teach I returned to the west and conducted “Satsang” for many years.  It’s easy in a context like that, when people gather together to meditate and to receive teaching, to experience a kind of “Big Love”, a love for everyone and everything.  Your heart is open, and you know things to be perfect just as they are.  The challenge I found at that time, which turned out to be true for many other teachers as well, was not at the Satsang meetings, but at home in ordinary human relationships.  The Big Love, the love you feel for everyone, is easy.  It’s the small love, the love you feel for people close to you where we experience our habits of control, closing down, criticism and judgment.  And so it was that I found myself in my early forties traveling the world as a spiritual teacher, but not being able to hold my own marriage together.

There came a specific turning point when I was forty-four where the whole thing came into focus all at once.  I realized, as though suddenly waking up from a dream, that if I was to die one day and arrive at the pearly gates and Saint Peter was to say to me, “Well, Arjuna, you lead a decent life, but I’m afraid that you never really reached the ultimate peaks of enlightenment,” — that would really be okay with me.  I could forgive myself.  On the other hand, if I arrived at the same pearly gates and Saint Peter said, “Welcome Arjuna, we’ve been waiting for you.  You led an okay life, but you never really gave the love that was in your heart,” — that would most certainly not be okay.  It was at that decisive moment that I realized that love —ordinary, human, personal love — was actually a more important value for me than “spirituality” in a more pervasive sense.chameli1Three weeks later I met a woman who, by some strange coincidence, had come to the exact same realization.  She had just come back from a retreat in India.  While sitting by the banks of the Ganges, she realized that love is not something that she sometimes feels, but who she actually is.  Then she came to the same rude awakening as had happened for me: that this realization of being love was not being lived in her intimate relationships.  We became friends and exchanged e-mails over a few months.

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Now Chameli and I have been married for almost eight years.  Our marriage is dedicated to the embodiment of that “big love” in the most ordinary, human, honest way.  We find that our condition is somewhat paradoxical.  On the one hand, in meditation, moments of stillness, there is the recognition of being vast, infinite, at peace.  On the other hand, if we are really honest and have a little humor about ourselves, we realize that this human being has been trained in a myriad of habits, all of which support separation: judgment, criticism, cutting off.  These are all genetically inherited along with the color of our hair and the shape of our nose.

The way to bridge this schism between the hearts deepest realization and the conditional nature of the human personality is practice.  Our marriage is a form of spiritual practice.  We are constantly antidoting the habits of the human monkey, consciously bringing humor and art to the places where we shut down and take ourselves seriously.  We probably can’t do much to change the nature of the personality, these habits run very deep, but we can bring awareness and humor so that the luminous nature of “the Deeper love” can shine through the cracks in the mask of the persona.

I would love to share with you some of the deepest and most powerful tools which have worked for us to bring presence into our intimate relationships.  Please join me for a free tele-seminar tomorrow, Tuesday evening September 15th.

REGISTER HERE!

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13 Responses to “Intimacy has been my Guru”

  1. Allan September 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm // Reply

    THANK YOU.

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  2. Sonia September 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm // Reply

    Wonderful post. Resounded with me. I particularly love this line: “We are constantly antidoting the habits of the human monkey, consciously bringing humor and art to the places where we shut down and take ourselves so seriously.”

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  3. Seth Chong September 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm // Reply

    Thanks Arjuna.

    This resonates with experiences my mind has been through.

    Something to share. I recently learned, that: Happiness is not the end.

    Because it’s the means to identifying our authenticity.

    When we can come from authenticity, everything turns to love. We stop being insecure. We have the capacity to give.

    Just realized this, and am putting it to practice. Remembering that authenticity is really the end. Living who you really are.

    So, thanks my teacher.

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  4. Cynthia Welch September 14, 2009 at 8:51 pm // Reply

    Arjuna,
    Thank you for putting to words such a beautiful awareness of Being Love. I feel nutured and have a sense of calm knowing of this truth however never have had the capability or words to express it.
    Tomorrow night I shall be attending my mother’s 81st birthday but if the telecast is available later I will certainly tune in. Namaste.

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  5. Morgine September 14, 2009 at 11:49 pm // Reply

    Arjuna,

    I agree with you whole heartedly!! This has been my experience as well. I feel it illustrated well in Neale Donald Walsh’s book “The Littlest Soul and the Sun”. In the story this one little soul wants to know itself as something other than light. It wants to experience something like forgiveness. Another soul offers to give it this experience. This soul explains it would have to get very dark and do something awful so the other soul could forgive them! The first little soul is very excited and grateful for being able to experience something new!! The second little soul asks only one thing. When the awful thing is done, and the second soul forgives the first soul, that first little soul must remember who they really are!! If not they will both have to go around until someone else reminds them who they really are … beings of light, an aspect of the Divine!

    When I first read this “children’s story”, I realized the significance of this story. It takes someone who really loves you deeply in order to play this “role” for the other person. In order to “risk” the loss of love, being misunderstood, hated, rejected and all the rest! This love must really be deep.

    I have a deeper connection to my partner of 41 years than anyone I know. We have always been best friends first of all and we are totally honest with each other and communicate freely and openly. I love him without conditions, yet, he also pushes my buttons like no one else I know! Of course he is not consciously doing it…smile! Yet if I want to be living as love, or am committed to something, he will often be the one who knows right what to say or do to let me know I am off track!!

    One time I had written a two page letter about not keeping commitments he had made to me, for some simple things, like driving to Mt. Hood sometime before Christmas just for the day. They were simple things and I felt my feelings were very justified. Just before laying the well thought out letter on his desk, some animal friends talked to me. (You know I communicate with animals.) They asked me if I kept my commitments and I assured them I did, to all my friends! Then they asked me how about the commitments I made to myself, like writing daily, exercising and so on. In only a moment, I tore up the letter and went back to working on myself, smiling through the humility!!

    Intimacy can be said to mean “into me see”. Most of us long for something. In our Beloved, the person we seem to know better and love deeper than most of our other relationships, we open ourselves up. We become more vulnerable. We allow that person to enter more deeply into our space. We feel more safe with them. So who better to guide us to where we so desire to be, than the person we trust the most? This other aspect of ourselves in that Oneness we all share.

    Yet in reality, any relationship can provide this for us, if we remain open. We can be “intimate” with anyone, when we allow them to see inside and we open ourselves to their loving embrace, one Divine Heart to the other Divine Heart and then the words do not even matter. The truth is always revealed.

    Namaste Morgine

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  6. Gwyneth September 15, 2009 at 4:57 am // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,

    Thank you for sharing your guru with us! Yes, our greatest teachers are with our “real-world” relationships. It seems sad to me that you and your previous partner could not resolve your problems before the marriage was dissolved. Perhaps this led you to the “aha” moment of discovering your true intimate self and led you to your “guru” now. From one teacher to another and you were opened to be in a truly intimate relationship now. I believe each relationship teaches us something about ourselves which lead us to either open up or shut down. Thank you for staying open and sharing with us about your intimate transformations!!
    Namaste,
    Gwyneth

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  7. Kyle Winn September 15, 2009 at 7:21 am // Reply

    Thank you again, Arjuna for words of validation of pure experience. Your mastery reliably inspires.
    I wish I could report 18 years of practice makes perfect. :) I can say practice makes love deeply present.
    Here’s a poem that ‘came through’, expressing my experience of what you speak.

    OUR LOVE – “God’s Love”

    Before…
    Love was a concept I searched for the meaning of
    Love was a word used, trying to find itself
    Love was a lyric danced to

    Then…
    Love was Love. Words were shallow
    The air was sweet and full of Love
    Surrender was all there was to do
    You and GOD were together in Love with me.
    I with you

    Now…
    Love is Love. A gift, a blessing, a treasure we share
    Beyond temptation, beyond consideration,
    Our Love endures
    In GOD’s heart

    MY LOVE

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  8. Joseph September 15, 2009 at 8:33 am // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,
    I am a fan, brought Translucent Revolution and enjoyed the read. What really resonated with me was when you said your teaching was going well, in fact it is easy to speak of this big love. But in the home it often explodes into a disaster! The people that you teach love you and get so much from you, but your own wife calls you a fraud, not walking your talk!

    I am always astonished that I loose it with my dear wife. I have a strong willingness to break through these habitual patterns. For I truly accept that oneness is our reality and that Helen is part of that reality that I still have trouble being totally passive with.

    Any comments?

    Joseph

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    • Yinch October 1, 2009 at 11:21 am // Reply

      Hi Joe:

      I love that book, too. For your question, my experience is that when we “lose it”, there seems to be something deeper than “who caused what”, rather, I learned to be curious about myself, to form a self inquiry of why and what caused this resistance, is the other person supposed to do something and did not? Why is that so important to me, is that something she/he has to do to make me happy? Am I too dependent on other people’s action to make me happy? Those are a few questions that helped me to regain to my center. Hope it helps.

      Yinch.

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  9. Darlene September 15, 2009 at 9:18 am // Reply

    So true . . .
    I find the same challenge every day. This is the journey, bringing the soul’s longing into the small moments of the day and finding a way to live our truth.

    Thank you,

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  10. Jacqueline September 17, 2009 at 12:54 am // Reply

    Hi Arjuna,

    how true you are about the people near us being the greatest teachers in our lives.
    The right person at exactly the right time…
    Sometimes however it’s not easy to recognize them for what they really are, and what it is they are actually teaching us.
    Still, I charish them all.

    Jacq.

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  11. ecstasywoman September 17, 2009 at 11:56 am // Reply

    Svarna says: Wonderful to read this personal account of grounding spiritual realization right into this being human . . . .This both resonates with my personal experience and inspires continued dedication to this aspect of embodiment. Wonderful to know that spiritual realization and awareness is finally landing right here, right now in moment to moment personal interaction.

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  12. Svante Odmark September 18, 2009 at 7:15 am // Reply

    Beautiful!

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