Recently, a friend commented while we gazed in each other's eyes in silent presence, "This is so intimate and vast, and so frightening. Yet this is what I have longed for my entire life." We were falling together into the boundless, intimate spaciousness that is our native ground of being where our familiar landmarks of separation dissolve into the experience of unitive presence. Real intimacy is not based on separation but rather on unitive presence. Unitive intimacy heals our sense of feeling separate and shows us the true form of our own face, which may be unfamiliar to many of us. Nevertheless, it is our birthright. And somewhere deep inside we know this is true.
Have you ever sat before another-a friend, a lover, a child-and just gazed into their eyes; not staring, simply looking without purpose, falling into their presence, which is your presence as well? Rumi says about this:
Being closer and closer is the desire
of the body. Don't wish for union!
There's closeness beyond even that.
Why would God want a second God?
Fall in love in such a way that it
frees you from any connecting.
Love is the soul's light, the taste of morning,
no me, no we, no claim of being anything.
These words are the smoke the fire gives off
as it absolves its defects, as eyes in silence,
tears, face. Love cannot be said.
-Rumi, The Glance, Coleman Barks
Presence is fathomless, vast and spacious like the clear sky on a cloudless day. Presence holds and allows for everything without judgment of what should or should not be present. When we gaze into the eyes of another, without expectation, we are mirrors that open each other into ourselves to reveal the unitive presence that we are always being before the mind arises and makes the difference of separation. Again, from Rumi:
I see my beauty in you. I am
a mirror that cannot close its eyes
to your longing. My eyes wet with yours
in the early light. These thousands of worlds
that rise from nowhere, how does your face
contain them all? I'm a fly in your honey,
then closer, a moth caught in your flame's allure,
then empty sky stretched out in homage.
-Rumi, The Glance, Coleman Barks
Refusing Keeps Us Separate
We yearn to be free of our separativeness and suffering. We yearn to be different, better. Nevertheless, our attempts at self-improvement are tantamount to our rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. Self-improvement makes us feel better, enables us to communicate more clearly and develop deeper, more intimate relationships. However, when all is said and done, we still feel that something vital at the core of our being has not been touched. We still yearn for something we have not been able to apprehend.
We struggle never full comprehending the root of the problem. We wish to be other than we are and we wish life to be other than it is. But our wishes deny the reality of what is actually happening. We attempt to escape reality rarely conceding that reality never goes away. Our refusing what is, our attempt at changing the world around us or ourself, is the root problem that keeps us stuck in suffering and separation.
Refusing is the fabric that separation is woven out of. We create separation when we refuse, reject or believe that our experience should be other than it is. Refusing gives rise to our experience of separation and to our sense of suffering.