An intimate relationship, like marriage, is an exclusive attachment to another. Enlightenment is detaching from people and things in general, yet realising that we are all intertwined. Are enlightenment and intimacy compatible?
Enlightenment and intimacy in intimate relationships
Take the example of a woman discovering that her husband is having an affair. As a wife, she feels anger, hurt, and maybe jealousy. Most of us would feel the same in her position.
An enlightened soul would understand that she IS her husband, she IS the other woman. She would be happy that her husband’s needs are being met, and happy that the other woman is getting the attention she craves. If we truly loved everyone, this is how we would think. But of course, trapped in ourselves, we only feel the betrayal and hurt.
Therefore, can a truly enlightened person form enough of an attached to have an intimate relationship? If you’re already married, would seeking enlightenment cause you to detach from the person you chose to attach yourself to?
I find that as I grow, I’m able to detach more easily from intimate relationships. I’m more able to see things from a larger perspective, to know that even when a couple breaks up, they are never really separate. And even if they stay together, they do not belong to each other but to the universe.
Yet I also enjoy the deep emotions that come with attachment – the feeling of being special, being different from and preferred above all others, of sharing a mutual bond that no one else is privy to.
So I find myself confronted with this choice: do I want to grow towards detachment or attachment? My current, limited understanding views those as different and opposite paths. Yet, as usual, I want the best of both worlds. Can we increase our attachment and become more detached at the same time?
Enlightenment and intimacy in living life
In an earlier post about selflessness I wondered if we could zoom in and out of the Self, to choose to manifest in a smaller individual ego or to manifest in the larger universal Self. If this was indeed possible, then you would be able to attach and detach by choice, any time you wanted to.
Intimacy is limiting. We can have only so many intimate relationships in one lifetime. Enlightenment is liberating. It frees us to love as many people as the world can hold.
So I find myself living on two different planes, as it were. The larger, detached “I” can watch the smaller, attached “i” going through all the emotions that an intimate relationship brings, yet remain separate from it. At the moment though I’m not able to do both simultaneously. I have to choose which plane to be on at any given point in time.
Is this a schizophrenic way to live? Is one plane preferable to the other? Can we move easily between the two? What are your thoughts?