I did something tonight I’ve never done before: sat in my livingroom in utter darkness (or at least as much darkness as urban living allows). Usually there’s at least the blue glow of the stereo display, or I’ve plugged in the lights of the party tree; but tonight I chose to find a spot for my meditation in complete darkness.
I sure needed it tonight as my brain churns with inspiring conversations, inspiring ideas, and wahoo!ohshitohshitohshit! excitement. I needed some serious sensory deprivation to decompress and digest what’s come at me today.
But what struck me as I was moving around my apartment in the dark getting ready to sit was: I’m moving around my apartment in the DARK! And I’m doing that with the same ease and comfort I would if the lights were on.
Familiarity, it changes how you move. There’s no trepidation – it’s a landscape you just know, and navigate with confidence. After having spent yesterday with my two best friends from high school, my thoughts tonight gravitated to the people in my life I’ve got that same kind of familiarity with. Landscapes I know so well I can navigate with ease; walk into and feel that same relaxed security of home.
In a world of tweets, texts, blogs, and bios, we’ve got an abundance of intimacy available to us. I think there’s a lot of intimacies bumping up against each other in the dark thinking we know each other (pausing while some of you take that to the dirty place…). But until we’ve really had the time to walk the landscape of someone else, with someone else, those intimacies are an illusion. Without the well seasoned patina of familiarity, we think we know somebody, when really we don’t – we know about somebody and that’s a different thing.
Tonight I have to confess to being an intimacy junkie. A conversation doesn’t really get interesting for me until it gets deep, and I like to go spelunking into people’s inner workings. I like connections, and legitimately so: a world full of people living on the surface of life barely brushing each other by, is a world wasted indeed. And those deep conversations are fuel for my own inner process, and I’m happy to share mine as fuel for other people. Learning to open, living sincerely, connection with others – that’s the juicy stuff right there!
But tonight as I moved through my apartment with a secure intimacy born of familiarity, I realize I am efficient, impatient, and penetratingly curious; and I probably don’t leave enough space in my life, and in my relationships, for familiarity to arise.
Intimacy can be intense, and without the breadth of familiarity to hold it, it’s bound to break its banks.