Lessons from the Mat: The Paradox of Intimacy

Often at the beginnings of my yoga classes, the instructors read passages from books or share quotes that might help us to look inward or set particular intentions for out practice that day. This week, one of the readings was from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. It is called “Swimming in Our Love.”

It’s short, just a minute or two. I’ll quickly read the passage to you, so I don’t have to type the whole thing out.

Some notable ideas from the passage that struck me, personally were:

–New relationship energy is thing.
–Time slows that energy, but that is when deepest intimacy can take hold, because we can see our lover up close and from the inside, and we can sometimes see ourselves through them.
–We can take them for granted at this time, because it’s sort of like forgetting to see the forest for the trees. But that does not mean the forest is gone.

…the reward for being drawn into the depth of another is to feel each other rather than to see each other. This is the paradox of intimacy. On the way, we see what we dream of feeling, but once there, we feel from the inside what we can longer readily see.

My take away: Our deepest intimate relationships are not “trees,” they are “forests.” But we get lost in the details…the little things. And while those details are the things that make create our intimate knowledge and therefore our intimate bond (you know exactly how and when she liked her coffee, she knows your deepest childhood secrets, you know he likes to sit or walk to the left of you, she knows your eyes twitch when you lie), they are not our loved one. We often choose which details to focus on, which to remember, which to let go of. And, let’s be honest, we often times choose not to show particular parts of ourselves, even to our loved ones. So the trees that they (or we) see, do not comprise the entire forest.

Sometimes, we need to step back and re-see that forest we once saw in the beginning and let the awe of it wash over us again, letting the details blend together in a conglomeration of colors and depths. The whole picture.

The whole beautiful picture.



  • PurpleSole

    I like that idea, that there are trees that are different facets to us and together we are a forest. And yes I think we do forget parts and should look again every so often.

    • Brigit Delaney

      Thanks, PS. I’m nothing if not a huge lover of metaphor. I think it is how I best manage to understand the world.

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