Hello again Natalia here we are. You want to carry on our conversation I believe.
Yes I do. So I wanted to carry on with love, sex, intimacy and consciousness. And the last bit of our previous conversation was very clarifying to me when we were talking about intimacy related with sex. But I would like to ask you how would you define love, how would you define sex, how would you define intimacy if I can put it that way.
Ahh yes that’s easy. Sex is love looking for itself and intimacy is love finding itself. Of course that needs a little qualification or elaboration because we all know that sex very often doesn’t end up with love. It ends up with conflict, misunderstanding, exploitation whatever. I’m not actually defining circumstance. I’m speaking more about the nature of sex, the nature of love, the nature of the intimacy. To me that’s really undeniable that sex as a natural force is love looking for itself. Love doesn’t usually find itself through sex because of cultural, social forces, but that doesn’t change the basic fact that sex is not something destructive or evil or bad. It’s an expression of love. But intimacy is when love finds itself with or without sex. That’s how I would put them all together. Sex is love looking for itself, intimacy is love finding itself. But that really doesn’t define them.
So in the terms of our conversation, sex to me is the whole domain that arises out of the fact that human beings and other mammals and forms of life can’t propagate their genetic information without another member of the species that is opposite: sexually opposite. So what this means is that we as human beings are biologically inadequate to the purpose of genetic continuation. Because we can’t propagate genetic information without another person of the opposite gender to mate with. So in terms of the evolutionary drive of genetic propagation we are biologically inadequate. We are inadequate. And I think it’s very important to acknowledge that. Individually, we are inadequate. It’s really important to recognise that. Especially if you are seduced by or interested in spiritual ideologies. Because spiritual ideologies more often than not claim or imply that sex is irrelevant, sex is not important. Your sexuality is some kind of aberration and only to be dealt with either by side stepping, repressing, controlling, sublimating or whatever. This to my mind completely overlooks the very simple and undeniable fact that we are biologically inadequate. That means on a biological level we are always looking for what would complete our genetic propagation possibility. Which is a fertile partner. This is not a neurosis. This is not an expression of insecurity. This is not an expression of an inability to love yourself. This is an expression of biological inadequacy.
So to me sex is everything that comes out of that. Not just copulation. Not even just sexual interaction whether it be kissing, petting, whatever but the whole dynamic of tribal social life . The whole game, the whole dance that comes out of biological inadequacy where in, for example, the female member of the species has a uterus. Then that uterus gets filled. Then this has many implications for her and what she can do. At a certain point, approaching nine months there are certain things she just can’t do. So that means a historical division of labour between the sexes was necessary, however distorted, manipulative it may have become over time. There were certain things that women couldn’t do at certain points because of that. And that’s sex. Therefor you could say that whole tragic travesty of patriarchy is sex. It’s about sex. It’s arising from sex. It’s arriving from this biological inadequacy that cannot be fruitfully denied. So sex to me is a massive thing in that sense. Sex is children. You look at a children you are seeing sex. The children equals sex. Children are the fruit of your sexual activity then that’s life is sex. So it’s big.
Yes but then where does it leave all the other part that’s not have to do with either having children continue the species let’s say or this biological inadequacy that we have.
I don’t understand the question.
So apart from that where does sex come from would you say. Apart from its biological purpose, doesn’t sex serve as a very direct door to the depths of consciousness?
Well I think that’s a bit jumping at a head of the game a little bit. Because right now I was just talking about sex because you ask me to define sex, love and intimacy. So I’m defining sex in that simple sense from our biological inadequacy from which the whole game of human activity is shaped. Because of that biological inadequacy. So sex is a big thing. It’s not just what people do with the lights out.
Then love this is where we could be going towards the word consciousness with the word love. So I say go towards consciousness but I don’t say we are going away from sex because I’ve already said that sex is love looking for itself. But to define love that’s a big one. It’s bigger than sex in a way because it’s less concrete it’s much more allusive and not so easy to define. You could just say things about it and they make sense or not. You can define the nature of water more or less it’s chemical properties etc. Everybody I’m sure knows there is such a thing as love. But I doubt you can get even two people who totally agree on what it is, on what it means and how it functions.
So I’m not trying to be definitive. But i will speak about love in a way that I can relate it to what I just said about sex and intimacy, and of course to consciousness. So I’d like to start with the love of a parent to a child because that’s a little bit more consistent than love between adults. Romantic love, sexual love falls apart very quickly. It can also happen between parents and children. But usually a parent loves a child automatically. It’s automatic. If you want to say that the child loves a parent back it’s a little bit more tricky I think. But you know a mother wakes up five, six times a night day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year getting exhausted and maybe thinking I wish this wasn’t happening, but never resenting the child. Never thinking – maybe occasionally having bad moments-but you know but not basically thinking I wish this person wasn’t here. Because the love is really really strong.
So I think if we look at that love relationship rather than a man/woman, man/man, woman/woman sexual romantic relationship we can get a better grip on what love might be. To me the essence of love is giving. But it’s giving not giving in order to get: not exchanging, just just giving. You can say that a mother is also getting, but she is not asking for anything, she is not demanding anything. She is not going to say “If you don’t I won’t.” She just does it. And I don’t mean to say that that kind of giving can’t come from the fathers. It’s just really obvious with the mother. You know I’m a father and I’ve slept through all of that. Really I’ve slept through all of it. And so I have no direct experience of the relentlessness of that love despite all of that difficult stuff. To me the essence of love is giving, genuine giving. This has two elements: a willingness to give, and a need to give. They are not mutually exclusive. So for now that’s what I am going to say about love: it’s giving.
Intimacy is tricky to encapsulate. To me intimacy is possible with another, it’s possible with yourself, it’s possible with the world. It’s possible to be intimate with sunlight, it’s possible to be intimate with water. So that’s how I see it. Of course my seeing is deeply influenced by being a yoga teacher. And I would say that the essence of my teaching is about intimacy. Becoming intimate with your body, becoming intimate with your joints, becoming intimate with your breathing, becoming intimate with sensations. So what do I actually mean in all of those cases, or if I was being intimate with you. Really being intimate with you, as opposed to having a little chat with you. It would mean the dissolution of barriers. The dissolution of boundaries. So to me intimacy is about closeness. Now of course there is a spectrum to closeness just like there is a spectrum to love. So you can be very close, a little close, moving away, moving towards. At a certain point in moving away I would say “Well there is no more intimacy.” I think we all know this in love relationships that begin more or less with intimacy. Even if that intimacy increases for a while very often many people would say “Yes but I have fallen out of love.” Very often that involves distance. Going away from that closeness and as well as no longer being willing to give. The essence of intimacy is a particular kind of closeness where the distinction between the two, or the subject and the object, or the lover and the beloved, is no longer clear. There is a mingling. So if you take sexual intimacy sometimes you don’t know who it is. Is it you? Is it them? Is it me? Is it her? You know it’s not really clear. So within that closeness there is a blurring of boundaries.
That’s intimacy: blurring closeness. Love is the willingness, the need to give and sex is life. Now that’s not to say that sex is bigger than love at all. We can quantify things in different ways. But connecting all these to consciousness is not so easy but it can be done and most simply in being intimate with your own presence. Which requires that you feel completely safe and that you are unconcerned about anything going on around you or even within your body. If you settle deeply enough into your own presence love will be there, love will be present. You will find love. Not love for, not love of, but just love. It could be called love without an object or it could be called unconditional love. It could be called love without a cause. Love just is. And as far as i know from the people that i know, this seems to be the case for anybody that becomes intimate with their own presence.
Those people that don’t arrive at this unconditional love without an object seem to be those people who can’t or won’t go deep enough into themselves because they are afraid to. Very often it seems that is a result of what I would call very loosely trauma. Now I don’t necessarily mean that they’ve been subject to acts of violence of some kind. We can be traumatised much more subtly in other ways than a catastrophic one-off event. Using the word trauma would mean that we’ve been wounded in such a way that we’ve closed up. To the extent that it has happened inside a human being they can’t become intimate with their own presence. Intimate enough to arrive at the love, peace and joy.
So if we become intimate with ourselves what does that mean? That means we get closer to the fullness of our own presence. That means we get close to what? What is present? Body is present we know that. Mind is present: thinking is going on, cognition is present. Concepts are functioning, perception is taking place. You could argue it is the body. Argue it as much as you like, but in our language we separate, we distinguish between body and mind. So I am doing it. So you encounter and you recognise the presence of your body, its parts and activities. Much more subtle but still functioning and expressing itself, you encounter the presence of your mind. You can’t actually experience your body without your mind saying “That’s my body, that’s my toe, that’s pain, that’s pleasure.” So mind is always there. So intimacy with your own presence includes intimacy with your body and intimacy with mind. But these are only verbal and experiential distinctions, not definitive ones.
So, what else is present in our experience of our body? When we are aware of our mind we are aware of its thoughts. When we are aware of our body we are aware of its sensations. So here is the third aspect of human experience or human presence. There is the body physical aspect, the somatic aspect. There is the mind, the cognitive conceptual aspect. Then there is awareness, which is consciousness, which I would call it the spiritual aspect. So if we become intimate with our own presence and experience love, peace and joy, then the question arises: “what is that love, peace and joy; what is it an expression of?”. Mind is insatiably curious. It is going to wonder, to ask: “What is that? Is that my kneecap? Is that my mitochondria? Do mitochondria feel like love? Or is that my DNA? Does my DNA feel like peace? Or are we feeling consciousness?”
That’s what I think. I don’t think that because I want to think that. I don’t think that because I have this ideas as a yoga teacher that everything must be consciousness. I didn’t used to think like this. When I used to hear people say “Consciousness is all there is.” I used to think “Well that’s stupid.” Somebody once asked me “Godfrey are you saying consciousness is all there is?” I replied: “No I’m definitely not saying that consciousness all there is.” She said “Why not?” And I said “Because that’s unverifiable.” And in my role as a teacher I have no right to say anything that is unverifiable. And she wasn’t stupid so she said “But do you think that consciousness all there is?” I said: “My answer is the same.” I’m not going to assert something that I think is unverifiable. If she were here now she would have to say “Why are you saying it now then Godfrey?” and I would say “Because now I think it’s verifiable.” I’m absolutely sure it’s verifiable. To my own satisfaction I’ve verified it and not just within my own experience, but also in research feedback with other researchers, meditators, yoga practitioners.
So the generosity a mother and father have for a child is love.The passion between lovers can be love. The love that you can experience by being intimate with your own presence is something else, but it is also love. They are bound up with each other. The love that a parent has for a child is in a way a sexual love. Not that it involves sexual desire for the child, but the child came from sex. And so in that sense it’s a sexual love. It’s a love that arises out of that biological inadequacy. And it’s necessary. That’s part of the propagation of genetic information. Because the love is giving. And the giving creates the protection that the child needs. So even though that’s a wonderful and admirable love between a parent and a child it’s necessitated biologically. In a sense it’s nothing to be proud of. Any love is nothing to be proud of. It’s a wonderful, amazing, admirable thing from the outside. From the inside you are not doing anything it’s just there. You can’t help it. This other love that you can experience within your own presence by way of intimacy, the unconditional love without an object: well that’s nothing to be proud of either.
What about the love between lovers?
Well a friend of mine said to me the other day “When two people fall in love it’s just consciousness finding itself.” She was just kind of exploring, she was not really meaning to be definitive. Then she said “The trouble is then personal reality comes in. Slowly but surely you discover things about the person that you can’t handle and you fall out of love. These personal things have nothing to do with consciousness.” So anyway that was her thing.
Voluntary love between consenting adults, is different to the genetic, necessitated love like between parents and children or siblings. Voluntary love, voluntary consensual love can embody different frequencies of love. If a man and a woman fall in love it’s not necessarily only sexual. It’s not only coming from biology. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I’m sure it’s not the case. I think that love between two adult, consenting individuals that works, works because it accesses the unconditional love without an object. It expresses that deeper love more than it does the sexual love that arises from biological inadequacy. I’m sure there are many couples who have been together 30, 40, 50 years who haven’t had sex in a long time and they love each other. They are there, they are giving, they are happy. So I think that a successful relationship – a successful meaning that doesn’t end up in tears – love relationship has to have that at its core. If two people come together just out of biological necessity or emotional need and the love that they mostly deeply are, that unconditional love without an object, doesn’t rise up into that somehow, I’m sure it’s going to end up in tears. One way or another. That’s not to say the other can’t end in tears too.
But our culture is in ignorance of this love that we deeply are. This unconditional love without an object. So it can’t be taken into account. So all that’s usually taken into account is whether or not you are getting what you want. Not the giving, not the real giving. I don’t mean to say that it’s wrong to want or to get. Because love is giving, then if giving is not the strongest frequency in it then sooner or later you are going to end up disappointed, judging your partner as inadequate. It’s not that they are being more inadequate than you are: we are all inadequate biologically. And if we are not relating to each other from that deep love of our nature, which is an expression of consciousness, than our love relationships are tricky. Really tricky.
Would you say that three things are the expressions of the same one? Love, intimacy and sex.
What I said in the beginning “Sex is love looking for itself and intimacy is love finding itself.” They are all in that diamond. That’s consciousness, but consciousness is bigger than that. Sex, love and intimacy are phases in the dance of being human which takes place within our biological inadequacy. Because being human takes place within a biological inadequacy we are always looking for something. And even if we can find the love that we are within ourselves, and even if that provides as it does deep nourishment and satisfaction, it doesn’t stop us being biological beings. It does not stop us needing oxygen, water, protein, carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins and other people.
Sometimes we feel satisfied within ourselves and we are not looking for love. We are not feeling inadequate, but then somebody comes into our lives and boom. We are there. In the love, totally committed to it. So we may not be overtly looking but if it comes, if it’s offered, something inside of us is going to say yes unless our conditioning is Tibetan Buddhist monk conditioning, or something to whichthose kinds of feelings don’t make any sense.
So Godfrey yesterday in our conversation you were saying that you were most interested in consciousness and sex and how does this bring you to love.
OK what I said was that the link between consciousness and sex is that for me they both point to love. If I go back to that phrase “Sex is love looking for itself.” I understand very well that most sex is not loving. I understand that. But that’s not my point. My point is that actually biologically it’s a movement of love. And its fruit is a child and a love of children. So sex is love looking for itself and intimacy comes into this because I find it impossible to imagine that anybody can be intimately sexual with somebody else without loving them. Without falling into love, without experiencing love. That’s my experience. I’m not referring to the need to own, possess, control, dominate, live with that person. I’m talking about the joyful willingness to give. The openness and the vulnerability that are an experience of love. I think that comes from the the intimacy rather than from the sex: if you can divide them. So it’s not the pleasure it’s not the copulating, it’s not the things that people are doing to each other. It’s more the attitude within which that happens that allows them to open to each other and really feel each other.That intimacy within sex leads to love. Not romantic love, but something deeper. That’s my experience and my understanding.
I’m not saying it always does. I’m actually saying usually it doesn’t. But we are talking about intrinsically. The reason that intimate sex leads to an experience of love is because within that intimacy there is an opening to your deeper nature which is love. But there is another person there and in my understanding and experience if you are genuinely being intimate with another person then they are being intimate too. If they are closed you can’t have intimacy with them. So what that means is that within the intimacy that’s very easy, even if rare, to access within sexual activity two people are being precipitated, without meaning to, without having a concept about it, into the deeper love that they are. Then it gets amplified through that mirroring. So that it intensifies and then it’s like “Ahhh!!!!!!!.” You are falling into something, whereas when you’re meditating you just kind of drift slowly down into it. And so while meditating as you go deeper and deeper into your own nature and the presence of consciousness and the presence of love you are getting used to it as you go down. But in the sexual activity you are precipitated into it and at the same time as being precipitated into it, there is a mirroring and an amplifying coming from the intimacy with another person being intimate with you. It’s like a hall of mirrors reflecting each other into infinity.
Because we don’t have a vocabulary for consciousness and its properties, such as love, and we think the only kind of love is either for parents or romantic sexual love then we come out of this deep sexual experience saying “I’ve fallen in love with this person.” Whereas actually you’ve fallen into the love that you are.I asked somebody recently “How is your love relationship going?” and she said “Ohh I’m in love but I don’t think it’s with him.” Now she didn’t mean she was in love with with somebody else. She knew she was in the love. And he was in the love with her. But it wasn’t really about the specifics, the particularities of who he is.
I was going to say if you are saying if you arrive at the same place meditating and with this and when you are in this sexual encounter the one goes slowly and the other one takes you right there. Would you say that you arrive to the same place?
Not really. You can use the image of an ocean. Love is an ocean, but there are different ways to get into the ocean. You can get into a river and swim down it and slowly come in to the ocean and swim out to the centre, or you can fly across and just jump in. But if you jump into the ocean you are going to have a different experience of the ocean then if you swim into it. So you are in the same place but it’s a totally different experience. Because it’s a totally different experience it has different implications. So the answer is yes and no. Same and different. It’s not that you’ve gone to a different love. It’s not that you’ve gone to a different place but you’ve accessed in a different way so you experience in a different way so it has different implications and so it has different effects. But they are all good. Sometimes you have these intense openings in a sexual encounter with somebody and you are just desperate to see them again you think you’ve fallen in love and they haven’t. You can’t have those problems meditating yes you can have problems there. You can have the problem of not wanting to stop meditating. Not wanting to leave the love, not wanting to leave the peace.The gift of experiencing love always seems to be potentially tricky. Just because we are also biological beings and we need to survive and we need to take measures to make sure that we can. Otherwise we can’t love, if we don’t survive.
My question came more from the experience of arriving at a point where there are no boundaries any more.
With somebody else you mean?
With somebody or in those situations you were talking about.
For me there is another thing. Using the terminology of non-duality and duality. When you slip into the love that you are alone and meditating it is usually a calm and a quite and nourishing experience. When you enter the love that you are through mirroring and amplification with another, it is also about the personality, history or circumstance. It’s to do with our nature and our personality. In the sexual let’s immersion in love the two are there. So even if there is kind of a merging, blending, you know who you are merging with. So there is a duality and a non-duality. Whereas when meditating it can become totally non-dual and that’s actually the problem with it. So in one sense you can say that the sexual encounter is more balanced. In a sense. It’s less likely to take you away from life. But it’s more likely because of its intensity to create pressing problems.
I have this tendency to like to playfully say aphoristic things like “Sex is love looking for itself and intimacy is finding itself.” And one of them is actually based on something that one of my favourite songwriters Roy Harper said as an introduction to one of his songs. He said “May there be a lot more conflict in the world but a lot less war.” So I like to say “May there be a lot more sex in the world but a lot less fucking.” And I don’t mean let’s copulate with intimacy. Let’s just say that there is a lot more to sex than copulating.. There is much, much more to sexual exchange, the sexual nourishment, the sexual intimacy than copulating. Or what I would call “genitalial penetration of the pelvic floor.” That’s what I mean by fucking. And fucking can be very intimate and deep and loving. It’s not that fucking is an animal thing. I say that because fucking is dangerous. You can say meditation is dangerous. But meditation is not dangerous by its nature or intention. But the intention of fucking, biologically speaking, is a child. So if you are not absolutely sure that you want to live with that person and raise a child then fucking is dangerous.
Not only is it dangerous because it can make a child but it’s dangerous because you can transmit diseases that can be fatal. The third danger of fucking, which doesn’t seem to be there with milder forms of sexual exchange, is the deep risk of neurotic emotional attachment. When you fall into love during sex not realising it is your nature, this makes you want more sex, more of that person, because you want that love. You don’t understand that it didn’t come from them, it was just revealed in the dynamic. So then you end up becoming involved with someone who you have no real compatibility with. Then if children come you’re all in deep shit. That doesn’t seem to happen if people just kiss. With genital penetration everything changes. Within that everything changes, people lose touch with parts of the brain that make them human. Anyway that’s another subject.