May 29, 2012

Near or Close? ~ Dan Clement

Where is the middle in the balance continuum?

Balance is easier when the legs are spread apart than when the feet are touching. Opposite pairs, left and right, are more easily felt when there is space between them. The space between increases stability. In other words, when we merge opposites, bringing them close together like two feet touching, we are more susceptible to imbalance. When the two sides are together it is more difficult to observe which side has lost integrity.

Shiva and Shakti are the male and female pairs of opposites in Hindu mythology. Shiva is the male energy and Shakti is the female. These two are forever coming close and then apart. Shiva retreats into logic and meditation to try to cure the pain of his intolerable separation from his counterpart. Shakti searches the earth and engages in yoga practice to gain the skill to find her beloved again.  When they come together, it is only for a time, and then they must part.

The sun and the moon are rarely seen in the same sky, for the beauty of each would be diminished. 

We try to live with our other, our intimate other, as if distance is not necessary. We try to merge, losing perspective and difference. Near and far are part of intimacy. To relate skillfully we must get good at being both far and near.

From far, we can consider our own behavior apart from the other. From near, we learn to tell the other how we feel. We should speak and understand our unvoiced contracts and expectations with our other.  Many live with a sense of suppressed truth, which can turn into frustration and anger when nearness seems the rule, and the only cure is far.  We must honor the differences. Often, truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The most important truths to speak are the ones we are afraid to voice.

Fears of betrayal, being left behind, attraction to another. These unvoiced fears become concealed secrets. That secret creates a loss of integrity. More concealment and energy are necessary to continue to obscure the truth. If we want our partner to understand us then we must express our fears. The turning away of love through the lack of honesty and disclosure reinforces a downward spiral. Our partner can’t lean on us when they need to, because trust is betrayed even when nothing overt has occurred.

The answer to this problem is radical sincerity. First with ourselves, then with others.

Speak what you are feeling with courage and maturity. Enter into a conversation with our loved one with the intention of understanding their truth about why they are distancing themselves from intimacy. Often the reason is fear of real intimacy. If we can’t talk about things that are most dear to us with our dearest, we are forever caught like a fish a few inches away from the water that gives life.


Dan Clement is the director of Open Source yoga 200/500 hr. teacher training in British Columbia, Canada and author of “Teaching Hatha Yoga”. In addition to training teachers in this inclusive and evolving method, Dan writes and records songs, plays the banjo and enjoys a good session of Frisbee with his dog. Dan has been teaching yoga since “times of yore”. For more information visit here.


Editor: Carrie Stiles




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