There are Fewer Fish at the Depth
Dedicated and inspired by the love of my life, my wife and partner, Jade.
A diver knows a world the dry two-legged ones do not. A world of absolute silence. Of absolute adventure. And by absolute, I mean all-encompassing. All enveloping. A wetness that makes you whole. That leaves nothing behind. The water at the depth doesn't just get you wet. It holds you. It nurtures your soul in ways you have never known before. It offers you freedom, a vastness of motion, and choice.
At first, when we dive deeper into a relationship, our senses, perception, and understanding of ourselves seem a tad dimmer. We are confused. Up might seem down, and down might seem up. Just like a scuba diver, we try to gauge our depth, how much air we have left, and how far can we see. Our instruments seem to be faulty. Everything happening faster and slower at the same time. On one hand, the sense of adventure is increased, but with it, our instruments scream – 'Mayday Mayday - Danger!' We seem to be running out of air faster, and our ability to maneuver seems to slow down. Our reflexes and our ability to see are suddenly impaired. It is easier to panic, and sometimes we even forget to breathe.
The choice to dive deep, both as a diver and in a relationship, is a commitment to developing a whole new set of skills. You are consciously choosing to realize all of your fears, expose your wounding, and challenge your capacity to love. You are about to invite someone to your heart of hearts, the sanctum sanctorum - the holy of holies. To consciously allow someone other than yourself to have a say, to be involved in your growth, your grandest adventure – your life. You are consciously choosing to let someone, with their wounding, their challenges and desires, their perceptions and limitations, to offer you advice, insight, and perhaps even healing.
Why should I – you might ask? Why risk it all? Why not swim in a shallower sea? Closer to the surface where there are plenty more fish. Where it isn't that dangerous, where you always know - just a few flaps of your fins and you're back to the shore, safe and sound, working your tan and sporting your shades. Why even attempt to dive down there, toward shark-infested waters, there isn't much light and, more than anything - where unknown creatures dwell?!
You are a seasoned swimmer. How many fish have you met by the shore? You swim for a while, go to a swim-in for a movie, gossip about the other fish in the sea, and sometimes take each other out for sushi. You get excited for a bit. Meeting an exciting new blond mermaid or a strapping young hammerhead. You have your fun and have them jump through hoops, you throw some sardines to each other for kicks, but then... after a while, something seems missing. That abysmal feeling... something so hollow, it's just never enough. Somehow, you realize you are still not so whole. They are not really able to reach into your soul. And then... as you come to your senses, all that is left... "Oh well, maybe I just need to keep on swimming, hey... after all... there are plenty more fish in the sea; maybe this one was just not the right one for me".
The answer lies within your heart and your heart alone. There is something alluring to look for, a mysterious path. A knowing that out there, down in the depth, a treasure is found. A treasure so magnificent, so magical, and oh so enchanting. Yes, you don't know that for sure. Not many have dared, and fewer still have come back to tell their tale.
Deep relationships aren't guaranteed, as nothing truly precious ever is. The hidden treasure of boundless bliss is your birthright. Yes, it is. But no... it doesn't come easy. Not because it's complex. Not because it's out of your reach. But simply because it requires you to look inside. To challenge yourself to live at a different depth. To cease running after purpose and start looking for meaning.
Relating and intimacy hold profound metaphysical and mystical powers. The door of the 'other' has been studied by every religion and spiritual tradition. If there's one thing almost all religions agree about, it is the danger of superficial relationships. The numbing effect they have on our consciousness. And the profound risk of dropping out of wonder and into the mundane. Thus, so many of these archaic belief systems condemn relating with all of their might. Celibacy is the way they proclaim. Attachment will lead to damnation...
Relating, intimacy, and, yes - sexuality hold the most mysterious of all keys. The power to allow the two to merge into one and the one to marvel at the two. Intimacy carries the magic of the philosopher's stone. It connects. Overcomes any barrier. Those who love know nothing but gratitude. They see through the veil and experience a reality beyond any other. Those who have tasted the nectar of love will be hard to convince of the non-mystical nature of life. They have seen the glory of the divine artist; they truly understand the secrets of the universe.
The traditions of the past feared the power of conscious forgetfulness. They knew only one reality - lose the other, find the one. Drop all separation and attain 'Kaivaliya' – absolute aloneness. A state where nothing but the Supreme God, the All-Knowing, pervades. In other words, in simpler terms... if you have a headache, the only solution has to be to cut off your head. To fear intimacy, to fear our sexual desires and urges, is a futile attempt to ignore the source of creation. To fear our own roots.
Conscious forgetfulness, the abbots declare, just isn't possible. Once you swim towards the other, you can't but lose yourself fully. You'll lose any shred of individuality; you'll drown in a sea of forgetfulness and will forever cease to look for the one. The all-pervading, the everlasting. You'll become oblivious; you'll be swept by the waves of illusion. Surrender, they shout, transcend your lower tendencies, and ascend to the heavens. Return to your source.
The problem lies not in relating, intimacy, or sexuality. The other poses no threat to you or your spiritual evolution. Superficiality, compromise, and taking life and others for granted -- does. When we relate on the surface, we put our hopes, our dreams, and our chance at happiness in the hands of someone else. We hope or expect, somehow, through some miraculous act, that our fears, our commitments, and our challenges within and without will be solved by someone else, just not by us. In other words, we follow a systematic process of ignorance, of choice-less ignoring the reality and wonder that are all around us. We ignore our truest of nature and the existence of duality, which, in its splendor, is all around us.
We turn to our lovers for help out of fear of facing our loneliness, our problems, and ultimately - ourselves. The fantasy of fulfilling these expectations can't last long. As long as we remain on the surface, the relationship, as fun and exciting as it might be, will not lead us to an overflowing heart. We will never rest and always feel there is someone else out there who might be "better," might be – the "one." For the simplest of reasons –we are that "one" we have always been searching for. The existence of that "One" is brought into awareness with the reflection of a – "two." A beloved. Someone who will be willing to reflect our innermost fears and our innermost beauty.
Relating on the surface is an attempt to merge into oneness. We get to experience fleeting moments of happiness. Moments of deep and divine pleasure. Yet... just like a deep-sea diver would tell you, relating at the depth is an invitation to marvel and embrace the "two." To explore the diversity, the differentiation, to be invited to offer gratitude for that which we are not. That which invites us to be more us than we have ever dreamt possible.
Relating, relationships, intimacy, and sexuality are not just a part of life. They are life itself. Your relationship with relating and intimacy is a direct reflection of your relationship with life. Your excitement, your thrill, and ultimately, how you choose to act in response to an ever-changing world around you. Do you have to be in a relationship? No, you don't. Do you have to have deep relationships? No, you don't. Can you stay on the surface and enjoy the breeze on the shore? Yes, you can. Is it safer to remain on the surface? Yes, it is. Will you be happy? Will you find yourself? That's a question – only you can answer.
But if you do... if you choose to dive deep, if you decide to get your fins wet and explore the ocean within, there is a chance, and it's not guaranteed; there is a chance you just might stumble upon the greatest treasure you will ever know. It might not be easy. You won't find many who do... but if you do... if you choose to dive deep into the realm of an--other, you might just stumble upon a shining pearl. You might stumble upon an experience that will alter the course of your entire life. So much so that you might stop diving into life but allow life to dive into -- you.