A diver knows a world the dry two-legged people do not.
A world of absolute silence. Of absolute adventure. And by absolute, I mean all encompassing. All enveloping. A wetness that takes us whole and that leaves nothing behind. The water at depth doesn’t just get us wet; it holds us. It nurtures our soul in ways we have never known before. It offers us freedom and the vastness of motion and choice.
At first, when we dive deeper into a relationship, our senses, our perception, our understanding of ourselves seems a tad dimmer. We are confused. Up might seem down and down might seem up.
Just like a scuba diver.
We try to gauge our depth, how much air we have left, how far can we see. Our instruments seem to be faulty. Everything happens faster and slower at the same time. On one hand, the sense of adventure is increased, but at the same time, our instruments scream “Mayday mayday, danger!” We seem to be running out of air faster and our ability to maneuver seems to slow down. Our reflexes and our ability to see are suddenly impaired. It is easier to panic and sometimes, even to forget to breathe.
The choice to dive deep, both as a diver and in a relationship, is a commitment to the development a whole new set of skills.
We are consciously choosing to face all of our fears, expose our wounds and challenge our capacity to love. We are about to invite someone to our heart of hearts, the sanctum sanctorum—the holy of holies. We are willingly allowing someone other than ourselves to have a say, to be involved in our growth, our grandest adventure—our life. We are knowingly choosing to allow someone, with their wounds, their challenges and desires, their perceptions and limitations to offer us advise, insight and perhaps even healing.
Why should I, we might ask? Why risk it all?
Why not swim in a shallower sea, closer to the surface where there are plenty more fish? Stay where it isn’t that dangerous, where we always know that with just a few fin kicks we are back to shore, safe and sound, working our tan and sporting our shades. Why even attempt to dive down there, into the shark-infested waters, with not much light and where, more than anything, unknown creatures dwell?
Imagine being a seasoned swimmer.
How many fish are there by the shore? We swim for a while, go to a swim-in for a movie, gossip about the other fish in the sea and at times take each other out for sushi. We get excited for a bit. We meet an exciting new blond mermaid or a strapping young hammerhead. We have fun and have them jump through hoops, we throw some sardines to each other for kicks but then, after a while, something seems missing. That abysmal feeling, something so hollow, it’s just never enough. Somehow we realize we are still not so whole. They are not really able to reach into our soul.
And then, as we come to our senses, all that is left is “Oh well, maybe I just need to keep on swimming, hey! After all, there are plenty more fish in the sea, maybe this one was just not the right one for me.”
The answer lies within our heart and our heart alone.
There is something alluring to look for, a mysterious path. A knowing that out there, down in the deep, a treasure can be found. A treasure so magnificent, so magical and oh so enchanting. Yes, we don’t know that for sure. Not many have dared and fewer still have come back to tell their tale.
Deep relationships aren’t guaranteed, as nothing truly precious ever is. The hidden treasure of boundless bliss is our birthright, yes, it is. But no, it does not come easy. I doesn’t because it’s complex, not because it’s out of our reach. It simply requires us to look inside, to challenge ourselves to live at a different depth. To cease running after purpose and start looking for meaning.
Relating and intimacy hold profound metaphysical and mystical powers. The door of the other has been studied by every religion and spiritual tradition. If there is one thing almost all religions agree about, it is the danger of superficial relationships. The numbing effect they have on our consciousness and the profound risk of dropping out of wonder, into the mundane. Thus, so many of these archaic systems of belief condemn relating with all of their might. Celibacy is the way, they proclaim. Attachment will lead to damnation.
Relating, intimacy—and yes, sexuality—hold the most mysterious of all keys, the power to allow the two to merge into one, and the one to marvel at the two.
Intimacy carries the magic of the philosopher’s stone. It connects, overcomes any barrier. Those who love, know nothing but gratitude. They see through the veil and experience a reality beyond any other. Those who have tasted of the nectar of love will be hard to convince of the non-mystical nature of life. They have seen the glory of the divine artist; they truly understand the secrets of the universe.
The traditions of past feared the power of conscious forgetfulness. They knew only one reality—lose the other, find the one. Drop all separation and attain ‘Kaivaliya’, absolute alone-ness. A state where nothing but the Supreme, God, the All Knowing pervades. In simpler terms, if we have a headache, the only solution is to cut off our head. To fear intimacy, to fear our own sexual desires and urges is a futile attempt to ignore the source of creation, to fear our own roots.
Conscious forgetfulness, the abbots declare, just isn’t possible.
Once we swim towards the other we can’t but lose ourselves fully. We will lose any shred of individuality; we will drown in a sea of forgetfulness, and will forever cease to look for the one, the all pervading, the everlasting. We will become oblivious; we will be swept by the waves of illusion. “Surrender,” they shout. “Transcend your lower tendencies and ascend to the heavens. Return to your source.”
The problem lies not in relating, intimacy or sexuality.
The other poses no threat to us or to our spiritual evolution. Superficiality, compromise and taking life and others for granted, does. When we relate on the surface, we put our hopes, our dreams and our chance at happiness in the hands of someone else. We hope or expect, somehow, through some miraculous act, that our fears, our commitments, our challenges within and without will be solved by someone else, just not by us.
In other words, we follow a systematic process of ignorance, of choice less ignoring the reality and wonder that is all around us. We ignore our truest of nature and the existence of duality, which in its splendor, is all around us.
We turn to our lovers for help, out of fear to face our loneliness, our problems and ultimately, ourselves. The fantasy of fulfilling these expectations can’t last long. As long as we remain on the surface, the relationship, as fun and exciting as it might be, will not lead us to an overflowing heart. We will never rest, and always feel there is someone else out there that might be “better”, might be “the one”.
For the simplest of reasons, we are that “one” we have always been searching for. The existence of that one is noticed, brought into awareness, with the reflection of a “two”, a beloved. Someone who will be willing to reflect our innermost fears and our innermost beauty.
Relating on the surface is an attempt to merge into oneness. We get to experience fleeting moments of happiness. Moments of deep and divine pleasure. Yet, just like a deep-sea diver would tell us, relating at the depth, is an invitation to marvel and embrace the “two”, to explore the diversity, the differentiation. We are invited to offer gratitude for that which we are not, that which invites us to be more us than we have ever dreamt possible.
Relating, relationships, intimacy and sexuality are not just a part of life.
They are life itself. Our relationship with relating and intimacy is a direct reflection of our relationship with life, our excitement, our thrill and ultimately how we choose to act in response to an ever-changing world around us.
Do we have to be in a relationship? No we don’t. Do we have to have deep relationships? No we don’t. Can we stay on the surface and enjoy the breeze on the shore? Yes we can. Is it safer to stay on the surface? Yes it is. Will we be happy? Will we find yourself? That’s a question we can only answer for ourselves.
But if we do, if we choose to dive deep, if we choose to get our fins wet and explore the ocean within, there is a chance and it’s not guaranteed, there is a chance we just might stumble upon the greatest treasure we will ever know.
It might not be easy.
We won’t find many who do, but if we do, if we choose to dive deep into the realm of another, we might just stumble upon a shining pearl. We might stumble upon an experience that will alter the course of our entire life. So much so, that we might stop diving into life, but allow life to dive into us.
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Author: Kai Karrel
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: Pixoto / Catherine McKinty; Pixoto / Shaun Peterson
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