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“Why do you leave out what is intimate and go in for what is external?” -(Bhagavan in ‘Talks with Sri Ramana’ 106)

This quote and query all in one came to me via a dear soul and fellow spiritual traveler, Tom Ziemann who penned a treatise himself on such exploration, called The Department of Zenitation. He  challenged me to write about it and not being one to turn away from a dare, of course, I had to scoop it up and delve deeply, since depth is at the core of intimacy.

In my years on this planet, it has become one of my favorite explorations. Not one to skate on the surface of the pond in any relationships, I have come to see the word as into-me-see. A mirror; sometimes squeaky clean, sometimes distorted, smudged and blurry. When we come face to face with another, we may feel a need to hide our deepest fears and instead present a masked image, falsely believing that who we are beneath it is unacceptable. What if this person really saw the all too human messy emotions and less than laudable thoughts that swirled about in our minds?  Would they run screaming or would they remain and, with delight, contemplate what else might be under there? Could we each bare our hearts and souls to each other, even if we are trembling in trepidation?

And what of intimacy with the Self, the One who gazes back, reflected in the looking glass? Which is more intimidating? We may able to run, but ultimately not hide, since we live with ourselves 24/7 for the rest of this incarnation and who knows how many others?  I can vouch for my experience of pretending to be someone I wasn’t, in the service of keeping up appearances. Lately, as I have been peeling off the layers to reveal the real, I have found that intimacy with others I have in my life now and will call in, in the future had increased exponentially.

Lastly, what of intimacy with the Divine. Are we even more timid to face whatever we perceive God to be?  My favorite poetry is that of the ecstatic poets Rumi and Hafiz whose words are  lush love songs to the Divine as well as the human Beloved.

While the external; the trappings of worldly success or illusion of what true beauty looks like, may seem safer to pursue, it is likely only in the raw and real, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of human existence where intimacy grows and thrives, like the lotus arising from the mud.

What if each time we gazed into the eyes of any Beloved, we beheld The Face of God?

 

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