The two greatest myths that keep away intimacy

birdIn teaching the Deeper Love seminars over the last twelve years, we have had the opportunity to work with countless single people, who were looking to bring a more conscious and healthy relationship into their lives. Particularly, for some reason, we have worked with a lot of single women.

When someone tells me they want to reach the highest peaks of enlightenment, it sounds very impressive, but leaves me somewhat blah.  If someone tells me they want to make a huge difference in the world – end poverty or solve environmental challenges –  I am impressed, and I do my best to help. But whenever someone says: “I want to love deeply, I want to open my heart beyond all defenses, I want to love fully with all of me,” that gets me every time. I cannot resist but to offer everything I have to give.

In the course of helping so many different people enter into healthy relationship, I have discovered two very popular and pervasive myths that hold back the possibility of real, mature intimacy. I am going to share them both with you today.

The Myth of the Soulmate

I meet many single people (particularly women) who have the idea that the only problem they face in relationship is that, due to some unfair quirk of fate, they have not yet found the one person on the planet who will make them eternally happy. This is the myth of the soulmate: the idea that you were born in this life with some kind of “soul twin” wandering around out there somewhere, and if the two of you could just reunite, everything will be magically perfect.

This is a very romantic fantasy: the stuff of teenage pulp fiction. It is a dangerous belief, which, in my opinion, keeps us stuck in an immature phase of development. I am lucky enough to be in a deep, nurturing and inspiring marriage, and so are many of my friends. I do not hear anybody, who has actually built and sustained a good relationship, talking about a soulmate. It is a dangerous idea because it suggests that all the problems you have had in relationship, up till now, were simply because of not finding this perfect person.

There are no perfect people. There is no knight in shining armor who will one day arrive on a white horse and sweep you off your feet.

In my experience, people are, more or less, all the same under the window dressing. We all have strengths, we all have weaknesses. We all have aspirations, our highest potential, and we also have our distractions and even destructive tendencies. The art of loving deeply is not to find the right person, but to become the right person. It means to learn the art of loving whoever is before you in this moment. To love so completely that the things you like about them, and the things you don’t like, are equally opportunities to open your heart even more and to love without conditions.

I have been with Chameli for thirteen years. There are days, or at least moments, where she does appear to be the perfect one, the one I have always been looking for, the one who can make me whole and complete again. Blah blah blah. Of course she usually seems like that right after we have had great sex. There are equally times when she irritates the hell out of me. Then she appears to be positively demonic, as though her primarily role on the planet is to make me miserable. In such moments the idea that she is my soulmate seems blatantly absurd. The point is, you see, that we have made our relationship into a practice. Equally, in the peaks of euphoria, and the depths of ice cold hatred, we have learned how to keep showing up, again and again, with honesty, with listening, and with the aspiration to embody love more and more.

So if you are single and you would like to be in a wonderful relationship with another human being, I suggest you completely abandon the idea of finding the perfect lover and instead strive to become the perfect lover.

Who is Trying to Love Whom?

fightThe second myth, equally dangerous in my opinion, that holds people back from enjoying relaxed and delicious intimacy, is the idea that before you can love somebody else, you have to first learn to love yourself. Utter hogwash. I have a great marriage that becomes more and more delightful daily; I enjoy wonderful relationships with both of my adult children; and, I am lucky to have off-the-charts wonderful friends. I feel oodles of love for all these people, and I have absolutely no idea what the term “loving yourself” is supposed to mean. Equally, all the people I know, whose lives are overflowing with love and good times, also cannot relate to the term.

Here is how it is for me and see how it fits for you. When the attention is turned inwards towards subjectivity, towards “me”, I find infinite empty space. It has no boundaries, it has no distinguishing characteristics at all. It is just awareness. It does not seem to be some kind of altered state or higher attainment. It is just the sober reality of what is actually true. Anyone I have guided into deep enquiry has discovered the same space as well. There is nothing to hold on to there, nothing to love, it is like the sky.

When the attention turns outwards, to the world of color, texture and shape, there is the possibility to see beauty. The more that the spaciousness of pure awareness is clear, the more the outer world looks beautiful. So if the attention rests for a moment on Chameli, my wife, she looks incredibly beautiful. If I look into her eyes, I see that same infinite space looking back at me. And that, dear friends, is what I would call love. Anything else needs another word: attachment, sentimentality, familiarity.

The experience of love requires the appearance of another in order for it to become manifest. You cannot do that with yourself, because when you try to find yourself, it has no form.

narcissusThere was an unfortunate, poor bastard in Greece who was happily living his life in the way that I have described: seeing beauty around him and feeling love. And then, unfortunately, he bent over to look into a clear and still lake.  He saw his own reflection. And then he fell in love with what he saw. He started to feel love for his own reflection. His name was Narcissus. But this is a pathology, not something to aspire towards. Freud wrote books about how to recover from such an affliction, not how to cultivate it.

Sure, all of us have been conditioned with negative self-talk. “I’m not smart enough, I’m not beautiful enough, I’m too fat or too thin, I’m selfish, I’m lazy.” It is a splendid idea to find simple tools to let go of such unnecessary thinking. We do that very well in Awakening Coaching. But there is no need to replace those statements with sparkly new ones instead. Much better just to rest in being love itself, and let that love delight in the beauty of everything you see around you.

So that is my story and I am sticking to it. Give up looking for the perfect mate, no such person exists. Become a little more curious about your own true nature. Explore the uncharted territory of infinite awareness. And then, when you look at the world with fresh eyes, you will see beauty everywhere around you. Focus that attention on one specific lucky human incarnation (and there are many, many, candidates who qualify) and you have got yourself a relationship, and a dojo in which to practice and cultivate deeper love.

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13 Responses to “The two greatest myths that keep away intimacy”

  1. Yolanda August 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm // Reply

    I agree, Arjuna, there is no one perfect person for us. However I wonder how/why you chose Chameli instead of all the myriad other choices.
    It seems we can choose partners based on unresolved issues, bad partners, and do our best to open in love to them, BUT I would rather choose someone who is a wise and wonderful choice for ME. Any words of wisdom on recognizing that kind of choice?


    • Arjuna Ardagh August 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm // Reply

      Hi Yolanda. If it was tennis, I would choose someone who was at about the same level as me, and aspired to play really well. Then we would practice together and mutually improve our game.
      Chameli and I have been practicing love for 13 years. Now we enjoy the fruits. It was not a matter of following overwhelming feels of attraction, but committing together to the discipline of love. We chose each other in a joint venture partnership in living as love.


  2. Morgine August 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm // Reply

    Dearest Arjuna,In the beginning of your article, I was in agreement. I am not seeking someone to fill anything in my life. I am seeking a kindred spirit with which to play in life with me.Further along in your article, however, it felt as if you were no longer â��being love.â�� It felt, to me, a woman, as if other glasses were put on. It began when you stated; â��There was an unfortunate, poor bastard in Greece who was happily living his life in the way that I have described.â��I myself would have not used the term â��bastardâ�� to describe him. I have had to explain to friends and clients many times, the difference between loving ones self and Narcissism. The word â��Narcissismâ�� is defined as â��excessive or erotic interest in oneself or oneâ��s physical appearance, as in vanity, conceit, egotism, self obsession.â�� To me, learning to love myself was not an act of narcissism. I am a heavy person and in years past, hated my body. I did this exercise of standing in front of a mirror naked and holding up a towel and just looking at my eyes until I loved and appreciated them and then lowered the towel a few inches. I did this every day, because in the culture in which I was raised, I was taught my body was something to be ashamed of and hated, until I could change it. (In my 66 years of life, I have met less then 10 women who did not hate their body in some way and statistics bear me out. In 2012, surveys showed 80% of women were dissatisfied with their physical appearance!)Surprising to me at first, were people giving me compliments of how beautiful I looked later on! After about the third compliment, I realized, I finally saw myself that way and it was being reflected back to me! Another very Profound experience was Looking Into A Mirror in another short 30 minute class, where we sang a song to ourselves written by Libby Roderick. How could anyone ever tell youYou were anything less than beautiful?How could anyone ever tell youYou were less than whole?How could anyone fail to noticeThat your loving is a miracle?How deeply you\’re connected to my soul? I remembered, each person was crying and crying and crying. We were each transformed, just as I was in your class, learning to connect with that place of spaciousness from which I originate. For me, Morgine, Being Love includes myself! I am not separate from everything around me. There is no separation between me and God, or me and Source, or me and every single Particle of Creation now! I am Source experiencing itself through a vessel called Morgine. Wherever I look, there I am. For me, the more I learned to appreciate the incredible, magical, unique, precious, amazing wonder I am, the more I connected with everything around me, the more I saw myself as all things and all people! When I am Being love, I can only feel compassion for the man falling in love with his image. The same way I feel compassion for someone who loathes themselves and can never look into a mirror. In my eyes and my heart and my soul, they remain the same. Obviously, You found a different way to experience the world and that is beautiful. It just might not work for Everyone. I long ago gave up the â��One Size Fits Allâ�� mentality, because rarely did any of those clothes fit me!With great love and appreciation, Morgine


    • Arjuna Ardagh August 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm // Reply

      Good points. Of course, I was being provocative and slightly tongue in cheek!


  3. john lange August 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm // Reply

    thank you..


  4. Mino August 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna, l totally agree with Morgine and, for the first time so far, disagree with you. Sincerely, Mino.


    • Arjuna Ardagh August 21, 2015 at 3:44 pm // Reply

      Thanks Mino. we got a lot of good feedback, and we are working on it…


  5. Marnie August 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,I felt the need to add my voice. While I agree with you that there is no one perfect person for each of us, I vehemently disagree with your take on self-love.Learning to radically accept & love myself changed my life. It was like the doorway to finding the Infinite within me. Be well!Marnie


    • Arjuna Ardagh August 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm // Reply

      Thanks MArnie. I guess I was being a bit provocative!


  6. Madhurima August 23, 2015 at 3:40 am // Reply

    Oh! I just loved what you said. Both very radical because soulmate-twin flame and \’love yourself\’ really do confuse… Love you. Thanks.


  7. Sherry December 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm // Reply

    Just a little late reading this. I have heard the Buddha said ‘love yourself and then watch’. You’re right that the true core essence of us is emptiness. It is also true that the journey there is full of a sense of separation or ego. To come to love that instead of reject and demean it is a powerful healing loving thing to do and can open the miracle of our spacious true essence. I too am a large woman that has needed to learn to love who I am as a separate being. The rewards have been great! I love you Arjuna, you provocator! <3 ~Sherry


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