The Paradox of Intimacy

Posted on: November 2, 2011

There’s a paradox out there regarding deep connection. To have pleasurable, nourishing relationships with others, you have to be strong enough not to fuse with them; you have to have a strong sense of who you are.

Part of this is the ability to focus inward and understand your own inner terrain.

You can explore the bigger picture of who you are through personality profiles such as the Myers & BriggsGallup StrengthsFinder, DiSC Assessment, or your Enneagram.

Tests such as these provide a way to navigate and understand who you are, but they are not you. You are no “thing.” When we look at ourselves we often attach to an “identity,” a way of explaining who we are to others “I am a Christian mother of two who is good at juggling multiple tasks and is afraid of spiders.” That may be an accurate description of you to others, but that is not who you are. Who you are is a much more fluid illuminated being.

“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C.S. Lewis

If you want to know who you are, you can begin with simple exercises that bring you in deeper contact with your Self. Here is one that I call the body scan:

Exercise Name: the Body Scan

Overview: This is an exercise that can be done sitting or standing. When first learning this exercise, it’s best to do alone. After you learn the ropes you can do this anywhere. Read the next paragraph slowly. Take in each instruction. Learn the concept of the exercise. Then after you are finished reading, stand up, find a quiet space and begin the exercise. It could take anywhere from 2-30 minutes depending on your focus and ability to remain present. This is not a contest or a race. Often when starting a vulnerable exercise we tend to rush through it with an “I got it… yeah yeah.” Seek to quiet that voice.

Begin: Bring your awareness to the bottom of your feet. Notice how they feel, really feel them. Can you feel a certain temperature? Pressure? Soreness? Anything you feel is worthy of observation. No judgment. No trying to change what’s there. Don’t even interpret what you feel… just feel it. Now move up through both of your feet… noticing what you feel. Then your ankles. Then your calves. Do this process slowly through your entire body. This can be done in small parts or large regions. When you reach the top of your head you can finish or continue scanning back down your body. When you decide to end, go back to whatever you were doing before, but try to keep your awareness in this feeling place rather than returning to your thoughts. Some call focusing one’s attention in this way: being in a state of mindfulness.


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