To all Women & Men Who Value Awake Intimacy, a heartfelt address

I was looking through a filing cabinet yesterday and just came across the notes for an address I gave a little while ago. This was at the beautiful wedding of a man and woman I love very much, and have the privilege of sitting in circles ongoing with. They had asked me to be their celebrant, which was a privilege. I realised when I read the address again yesterday that some of it expressed my dearest wish for all the men and women I know and don’t know, for all humans who prioritise staying as awake and open as they can be in their relating. Although the post primarily refers to committed adult intimate partnership, so much of this is relevant to any connection that truly matters. Perhaps with a child or children, a parent, a beloved pet, a lover who was in your life for a short but intensely transformative period, a close friend, in the circle of spiritual community, a colleague where important work is shared, and many other situations.

So, whether you have one lifelong committed marriage, or choose to explore several connections, whether you are homosexual or heterosexual, this post, and Secret Garden, is for you. It is my joy to support all men and women to bring full consciousness & aliveness to your love, s-x, relating, whatever your chosen lifestyle and orientation, and empower inner marriage. That finest work. The references to man and woman here can and should be replaced by references to masculine and feminine. This is about beingness in the end.

How does this heartfelt address touch you? Your comments and questions are very welcome, below.

For all of us, perhaps, relationship is the most powerful pull outside of us. Though in realisation & study of all wisdom teachings it is clear that life is both real and unreal, relating is a compelling illusion in this appearance. Research certainly shows us how crucial a happy relating life is in making life good, whatever our way of living that. It is perhaps the most rewarding place to invest in our education & learning & a crucial area for our energy and attention.

Man loves woman’s radiance, beauty and light. Woman loves man’s spaciousness, clarity and strength. Yet because this is an attraction of energetic opposites, many people on the planet muddle through a relationship mire of confusion and disappointment. A tragedy.

Marriage has often been born out of economic, even political reasons, or the insidious romantic myth of finding the one who constantly fulfils all our dreams. Then, the wedding ceremony marks the end of the journey, not the beginning.

Truly intimate, committed loving relating, is much more growthful, daring and fulfilling. We have to learn how to create and sustain it, in a fast-moving world of endless distraction.

We all know at some level that love calls us to something greater than we can be alone. To Love truly is to love ANYWAY, whether our personal agenda is fulfilled or not, whether we like a particular aspect of another’s ways or not, whether life is presenting challenges or not.

It is, as we know, hard to let go of wilfulness, resentment, defensiveness. This requires commitment and work.

The commitment of marriage or life partnership creates a sealed energetic container in order that the transformation, which comes from the depths of us, into increased self-awareness and love, can occur in safety, so that what is not love can dissolve.

It is not the job of our loving partner to make us happy. Allowing your partner space and freedom to thrive is crucial. It is not our job to reform our chosen partner so they are better, according to our own will. We can be devoted in supporting them simply in being what they are, fully, in their natural flowering.

As the poet Kahlil Gibran writes in The Prophet,

‘When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

…Though (love’s sword) may wound you.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Love (makes) you naked….

……assigns you to his sacred fire…these things shall love do to you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.’

This transformation of true love — from controlling to acceptance, from fear to security, from shame to innocent pleasure, from fight to delight, from rage to peace – asks much of us because in intimate connection, intense feelings, & painful defences, unique for every human, depending on their upbringing, past and current circumstances, innate character and more, will be activated, then acknowledged, welcomed and embraced, before they can dissolve.

Becoming more love is our natural birthright. It is the evolution that is being invited until all there is is openness to What Is. Only Love. Anything else creates suffering. Pain is simply, excruciatingly, a resistance to the truth of the moment, a fight to stay as one is rather than grow into more spaciousness, a no to the Love and Emptiness that is the essence of all things.

In marriage and committed partnership, if we are wise, and seek high quality help and support when it might be needed, we learn more quickly than anywhere else (because so much is at stake) about forgiveness, patience and humility. We come to know ‘the pain of so much tenderness’. In being ‘wounded by … love’ we learn to ‘bleed willingly and joyfully’ as Gibran suggests. The fight with what is is given up. This is a gradual unfolding, for most men and women.

For happiness in marriage and committed partnership, man must trust his power and presence and purpose, woman must learn to trust her radiance, vulnerability and heart. Gradually the masculine and feminine enjoy an interchange of these inner qualities. This alchemical marriage inside of both of you, man, woman, is happening or trying to happen now. And it is probably a lifelong, yet natural, enlivening and freeing, work.

Marriage and committed partnership is an opportunity to give first, and to develop increased presence and compassion. The more we give, the more soul-filled we become, expanded to meet whatever life brings to us. This makes us beautiful. This isn’t a matter of being good. It is a matter of growing Intelligence.

Love is not a ‘thing’ to ‘get’. We cannot own it or demand it. Love is all there is. It is life, whole and utterly unconditional.

Relating with an intention for consciousness, self-responsibility and harmony is the gateway to being, or to God or oneness or whole-ness or Freedom. What we call it doesn’t matter.

In truly loving our life partner, or those we share life with, as they are, our lives are filled with the spaciousness and light beyond our small selves.

If you choose to marry or agree to share your life in commitment with another, in saying “I do” you commit to help each other , with increasing consciousness and an open heart, to become your deepest and truest selves.

Awake relating can sustain the heart of our lives. It nurtures. It holds us when we falter. It strengthens us when we are weak. It encourages us to be the best we can be.

A stable home life can be created, in which children, if they come, can grow the self-love which overcomes fear, appreciate silence and stillness and enjoy love and joy and peace.

In a good marriage and in real, awake intimate relating, we do not have to hide anything of our human-ness. In this blessed gift, our chosen partner is our best friend, and true witness to all we experience, accomplish, fail at, aspire to, and long for.

What is the price we pay for this treasure? To love is to risk everything, give everything and ask for nothing in return. it is utterly vulnerable. Utterly resilient, too.

The ultimate opportunity of awake relating is to share in and remind each other of the joy and wonder of life. The fruits of that are affection, tenderness, ease and comfort and pleasure and a reverence, for life, for this planet and for one another.

My wish and blessing for every man and woman who shares a partnership committed is that you look after what you have found together and do what is deeply, truly right by it.

It can take deep enquiry to find what is most deeply true. And it is beyond both of your personalities.

I wish you self-love, so you don’t go to each other to make your own wounds better. So you are more available to love your partner.

I wish you supportive, authentic, spiritual community and friendships

I wish you the highest quality guidance and mentorship to guide you through the inevitable challenges as you grow, individually and together.

I wish you transparency and authenticity and the capacity of an open heart to receive each others’ experience and feelings.

I wish you the spaciousness to be willing to lose an argument. I wish you humour and lightness even in dark times.

I wish you enduring commitment.

Learn to surrender to what is true for your partner, even if it costs you your pride or some heartache.

I wish that you regularly find the real meeting beyond words.

I wish you mutual adoration and pleasure.

I wish you soul connection with what is infinite, and utterly unconditionally accepting of both of you. The lightness of simply being.

I wish that you are generous with your time, love and energy. Strengthened by your intimate connection, serve and comfort those who suffer.

I wish you the tenderness, love and the joy that is the gift of man and woman being happy & at ease together.

And I wish you the abundant creativity of happy relating and the fulfilment of seeing its gifts ripple out into your private domestic life’s flowering and the communities and environments in which you live and work and explore.

If you are reading this, I humbly ask you to consider that the deepest call of your relating life is to union of body, heart and soul, to consciousness, and then into the freefall of beingness, God, freedom. Would love to hear from you about this.

In gratitude for another day of loving.

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Stephen Hancock

I keep on coming back to this piece, Joy. It is so rich and gentle and generous.
Breathing it in, and realising that there is part of me that wants to hide from the fundamental vulnerability of being alive. So much to welcome in!


So glad to hear this Stephen. very touched. Yes life in a body is every-thing, every weather.
It is so good and natural to be fully alive, though, that the personality is small defence against it. And we are made big enough in nature.
The vulnerability of aliveness is so often simply exquisite ordinariness. Big love to you, Joy

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