The Art of Intimacy
Module 3: Mind and Body
“Desire, in a sense, is the more feminine face of God.”
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After perfection…comes desire. If all parts of us are perfect, then so is our desire.
Desire is one of the most misunderstood parts of our humanity. Many a religion has touted the pitfalls of desire, the outright “evilness” of it, because it can supposedly pull one off one’s predetermined path and into hedonism and indulgence. It’s true that desire is a force to be reckoned with. It is a potent part of who we are, one that requires training our attention to be able to work with. Otherwise we are pulled this way and that by it, unconscious to the beauty possible in becoming one with desire, in serving it. If we dedicate time to making friends with desire and learning to invite it, welcome it, and serve it, desire generously nourishes us and brings vibrancy to our lives.
A note as we head into Desire: desire is not to be confused with objects of desire. Desire itself is an energy. Objects of desire are people or items or ideas that our desire may connect to for a period of time in order to have a medium of expression. The way our inner creativity might use a canvas and paints to express itself externally. Objects of desire allow desire to come alive and be felt, but they are not desire itself.
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Eros teaches us that the sensation we crave most is the feeling of being in our bodies all the time. It’s the sensation of desire being met. It is a deep gratification. Desire, with perfection rooting it, is more than a foundational part of Eros; it IS Eros. Desire is an experience, not a destination. There will be things along the way that call out to us, to give us experiences, as we continue to learn to follow the voice of desire. We take the time to learn the language of what we want and what wants us.
We find desire by feeling our body. Our senses guide us to desire. We get to access it not by trying to make desire give us what we think we want, but by letting our desire tell us what it wants, and learning how to surrender and follow that voice.
Reading – A Sensory Organ
Our desire is a sensory organ that travels with us through the world, feeling for the deeper things that we want; the pleasures of connection and love and a feeling of belonging that will bring us into the fullness of who we are. The desire for those experiences is often squeezed out of our lives based on our ideas about what’s right or proper, what we should be doing in any given moment, or who we aspire to be. When we impose an idea on desire we can feel the constriction: our body contracts and becomes tight. We can gauge the condition of our relationship with desire by how fluid and flowing our body feels.
Eros teaches us that the natural state of the body is anything but mysterious; that the very sensation we are looking for when making love is always within us. It’s the sensation of desire met; deeply gratified. We aim for gratification, not satisfaction. Being satisfied means we’re full and don’t need more while the feeling of gratification is conferred when we’re both having and wanting simultaneously. There is a gap between the two – room for growth and becoming – and when we cohabitate with desire that dynamic tension becomes our dwelling. When we are in clear, unimpeded, responsive relationship with our desire, this is where it brings us.
This feeling of gratification is not going to happen by way of our desire serving us. We can convince ourselves that it will, but desire doesn’t work that way. We will only attain what we seek when we serve desire. This is the natural order of things that we may offer our participation to at any time. The moment we acknowledge, respect and, most importantly, can feel Eros moving inside us, all the filters fall away. We’re no longer in our heads. We are in our bodies, fully present to moment to moment experience; everything opens and we feel ease, joy, and radiance.
Meditation – Sitting in the Energy of Desire
Set aside ten minutes and sit in a quiet comfortable space. Clear your mind and then feel for something you desire. Something simple, like a dessert or a massage or a bath. Feel the sensations and emotions it brings into you, notice each subtle thing about how it makes you feel. Notice if it has you want to jump up and go grab the thing. Notice if there are voices that come up, maybe telling you it’s ridiculous, or reasons why you can’t have it. Notice those thoughts and let them float by and come back to the sensation of that desire.
Feel the sensation of desire build in your body. Can you feel it, taste it, see yourself having it. Then see if you can clear out the object from your mind, just leaving the energy of desire itself. Where do you feel it in your body? What does the sensation feel like?
Journal on what this energy of desire feels like and any other insights you had during your meditation.
The Practice of Desire (Nic sutra video)
Write down 30 desires. I desire ______. They can be anything at all, from any area of life. Get the desire flowing.
I desire a massage.
I desire a really fun date night.
I desire a chocolate lava cake from my favorite restaurant.
I desire to feel more meaning in my life.
I desire more intimacy.
If you get into a flow, you can write more than 30. You can also make this a daily practice; it’s a great way to sink into your desire every day, letting the energy of your own desire move you.
The kitchen was warm, the air thick with the scents of cooking foods; simmering tomato sauce, fresh basil, garlic and butter. My mouth salivated with the anticipation of eating this feast with my friends, who were arriving soon for our weekly dinner together. I stuck my finger into the garlic and butter mix that I was slathering onto the bread and licked it off, savoring the electric smooth flavor of the garlic. I grabbed a basil bunch and pressed it to my nose, inhaling the fresh, tangy scent. My music was on, I was swaying through the kitchen, and pouring my love into each dish. I felt perfectly poised between desire to eat the food, and immense enjoyment in making the food.
- Desire is an energy and an experience, not a specific thing.
- Gratification is different from satisfaction; it is the sweet spot between wanting and having.
- You attain what you truly seek when you serve desire, not try to make desire serve you.
- If the inner voice is mean, it isn’t the voice of desire.
- The promise of desire is that it is a generative way to live life rather than a depleting way.
Desire is possibility seeking expression.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson