So, why does good sex so often fade, even for couples who continue to love each other as much as ever? And why does good intimacy not guarantee good sex, contrary to popular belief? Or, the next question would be, can we want what we already have? That’s the million-dollar question, right? And why is the forbidden so erotic? What is it about transgression that makes desire so potent? And why does sex make babies, and babies spell erotic disaster in couples? It’s kind of the fatal erotic blow, isn’t it? And when you love, how does it feel? And when you desire, how is it different?
This is an invitation to look within. Forget about the pain and the joy in the world. Forget there is a world outside of you and befriend the world within.
Have a seat. It will be a wild ride.
Find a quite place, sit your body. Tame your body and your mind will follow.
Sit with it.
Sit with it.
Feel it fill your heart with blackness. Pumping blackness into your body, your mind, poisoning it.
Sit with it. Welcome to the human suffering.
Joy with be next.
Take a deep breath. Sit with it.
Close your eyes. Breathe. Imagine your heart turning fiery red.
Feeling alive. Rushing through your body.
Desire will follow.
Sit with it. See your Ego judge every moment you sit. Every word you speak.
Calm your mind.
Sit with it.
Everything is transient. Like the trains at a station.
Through your breath discover the truth. Everything hurts. Everything is joy. Everything is transient.
Open your eyes. Stand up. Stretch.
Go about your day.
Do it all over again.
“Speak to us of Love.
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips”
This is a great day to write about love. In fact, what day isn’t? Second to living it, the best way to celebrate love is to write about it.
But first let’s talk about me. I have fallen in love many times. In college, I had many love affairs. One of them was with a wonderful man named Erik Erickson who also happened to live in Boston but way before I was born, in the 1930s. Of course, I would never meet him. But I knew I loved him the moment I read about his life and work.
Erickson once wrote:
“Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child. He was once small. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in his mind, ineradicably. His triumphs will be measured against this smallness, his defeats will substantiate it. The questions as to who is bigger and who can do or not do this or that, and to whom—these questions fill the adult’s inner life far beyond the necessities and the desirabilities which he understands and for which he plans.”
Erickson is best known for introducing the concept of the adolescent identity crisis. His most famous work was his theory of personality which included Erikson life-stages and virtues. He believed man go through 8 stages from childhood to adulthood. These are more like challenges, games almost, you either win or lose. If you triumph, the virtue is the prize you get and you get to move on to the next challenge. If you fail, all the challenges ahead are potentially compromised. It’s like a video game except there’s hardly a do over. Except for stage 6: Love.
In brief the stages are as follows:
1. Hope: Trust vs. Mistrust (Infants, 0 to 1 year)
2. Will: Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt (Toddlers, 2 to 3 years)
3. Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt (Preschool, 3 to 5 years)
4. Competence: Industry vs. Inferiority (Childhood, 6 to 11 years)
5. Fidelity: Identity vs. Role Confusion (Adolescents, 12 to 19 years)
6. Love: Intimacy vs. Isolation (Young Adults, 20 to 40 years)
7. Care: Generativity vs. Stagnation (Middle Adulthood, 45 to 65 years)
8. Wisdom: Ego Integrity vs. Despair (Seniors, 65 years onwards)
If you are stuck on 6 don’t panic. A lot of young adults are. Yesterday was a harsh reminder of that. Here’s the good news. Love is a game. Different from the other stages, this is the only stage you get a do over, or two. Guaranteed. The childhood shame, guilt or doubt, the adolescence confusion, the infants mistrust often stay with us as adults. Because as children we had little control over how adequate our caregivers were. But love is all on us.
What are you choosing?