Some reflections on meditation and intimacy

K.A. Sebastian
F.M.N. College, Kollam

The modern world shows great interest in community and interpersonal relations as social development on earth. Related to this is the interest in intimacy. Intimacy and personal love is not only a top priority but also a psychological necessity of life. Intimacy is equated with sincerity in human relations or with frankness and openness or the opposite of playing games. Deep interpersonal relations and intimacy are associated with profundity in meditation. This paper attempts to find out how and to what extent they are in fact related. Meditation can help people to know and love one another at a deeper level of awareness as a result of non-attachment accompanying meditational process and empathetic knowledge. Clinging fixations to people destroys intimacy. The first condition for intimacy is the purification of the conscious and unconscious mind. Detachment would lead one to a continual freshness of perception (Click experiments of Dr. Hirai have demonstrated that) which makes possible a deeper authenticity. Non-attachment does not constitute the essence of intimacy. It is a preparation, a liberation. The knowledge of empathy, which forms the very core of religious meditation whether it is the Hindu, Buddhist or Christian meditation, is more important. This knowledge goes beyond thoughts and images and concepts. It springs from love and compassion. Any psychological process divorced from love, faith and commitment cannot produce intimacy and indwelling. Laboratory experiments on field of consciousness and hypnosis indicated the phenomena of merging, not indwelling. Merging is like a partial fusion of identities, a partial loss of the distinction between I and Thou, which is often a threat to individual autonomy. In indwelling people can live in one another and be part of one another even when separated by thousands of miles. Indwelling springs from love, commitment and trust. Without the mystical dimension of love and trust, meditation runs the risk of inhumanity and mechanical manipulation.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002