True Intimacy

True intimacy is found as we let go of our dependence on our minds, and begin to add in a body based focus.

The Costa Rica Update

We continue our adventure. After 3 days near San Jose, we took a 3 hour ride to Tronadora, our home for the next 2.5 months. Our casita (not so small house) overlooks Lake Arenal. The town itself is small, but has a well stocked bodega (store.) We’re walking, taking photos, eating fresh food, and eating up the restfulness.

Oh. And talking! People love to talk here. We’re getting by in Spanish, and meeting other expats, including our landlady.

the view

The view from our front door — Lake Arenal

true intimacy

Enlightenment must be lived here and now through this very body or else it is not genuine. In this body and mind we find the cause of suffering and the end of suffering. For awakening to be an opening into freedom in this very life, the body must be its ground.”

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, Jack Kornfield, p. 178

So, I really still amaze myself with the reluctance most Westerners have to being fully in their bodies — there to, in a sense — simply listen to the wisdom of their bodies.

true intimacy

Some are in total denial—are unaware of the quirks and blockages that are messing with their free movement. Others are stuck in blame. In Bodywork, the most interesting moment is when a recipient sufficiently lets go of the pain and drama. Energy begins to flow, and this look of surprise fills their face. It’s like they can’t believe their body could feel so good, so alive.

I get it. It was all new to me once, too.

I had “classical” training in psychotherapy. I did academic courses for two years, and was also an Intern, for two years, at a counselling centre. There, the techniques of counselling were taught; there, I earned my spurs working with clients, using the techniques I had learned (sometimes, I experimented with techniques I’d learned that very morning … )

I remember a week long training in “Bioenergetics,” a style of bodywork/counselling developed by Alexander Lowen,​and built upon the work of Wilhelm Reich​. We breathed, a lot, and we stretched, and tried various postures to get our bodies to shake. I can clearly remember doing the stuff under protest—I could make neither heads nor tails of the whole process.

No, I “knew” that the key to unlocking the knots of despair that my clients were feeling lay in helping them to understand—they simply needed to better use their minds.


I even had the outfits

I graduated, and got my Masters’ degree, back in ’83, and I just kept talking. What was happening for me, and for my clients at the bodily / feeling level was the last thing I was interested in. My goal was to “fix,” and to have everyone think I was smart.

In ’96, when I was still in the church, “playing Minister,” my body gave up on me. And for good reason. My approach was, back then, quite Western. (By the bye, Western and Eastern are not geographical but ideological.) I would work and work and work, then get the flu or something and have to stop. I’d go for acupuncture and herbs, get strong, and start working again.

That’s why this excursion to Costa Rica is so interesting. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had nothing to do, no “work,” for 3 months. Less than one week, in, I’m noticing I’m enjoying this odd sensation of non-doing. Hmm…

Anyway, in 1996, I really had done a number on myself—2 churches, extras for Advent and Christmas. Then, I set up a huge amount of extra activities for Lent, increased my client load at my counselling centre, and made it to the morning of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

I woke up in a black, dark fog, and my body would barely support me. With great reluctance, I announced that evening that I was putting all the extras on hold. I needed a break.

I had it almost right. I was actually broken.

I went to see my therapist the next day. She did her magic (actually, I did my magic in her presence.) After I recovered my physical strength, she suggested that I go off to The Haven to do Phase 1 that July. I signed up immediately, expecting a whole lot of theory—talking, etc. I was planning on being wise.

Imagine my chagrin, a day into the Phase, being “invited” to lie down and breathe. To do Bioenergetics — like stretches. And, horrors, they expected me to receive Bodywork. I “knew” nothing would emerge from my body. Right.

Two thumbs, elegantly and deeply applied, and I was deep into my body, screaming, “What about me?” My body shifted, dragging my mind, kicking and screaming, with it. My mind was initially embarrassed about my body’s deep feelings, then resigned, then interested, then ecstatic. I’ve “stuck” at ecstatic.

I may be slow and stupid, but at least I’m “flexible.”

My body and language shifted so much that I was “kicked out” of the Church within 6 weeks of returning from Phase. Best thing that ever happened—I suspect that a Minister who is in his body was pretty scary for a lot of people—and I’m still laughing—a few people thought I’d joined a sex cult and was going to lead all the poor, weak members astray.

I can barely lead me astray…

I did stress myself, so I want back into therapy. My therapist gave me the gift of the final piece. As I tried to use my mind—to be smart, to figure out what was up, she suggested I take 6 months and simply say, “I don’t know.” Hardest thing I ever did, and the most rewarding.

I can cheerfully say, 15 years later, “I still don’t know.”

I am, however, excruciatingly aware of my thoughts, feelings, energy, and the movement of my body. As I sit, as I focus my attention without playing mental games, I somehow know, and know what I do not know.


I can’t believe I’m feeling the whole thing!

When I begin a dialogue with a new participant in our Open Palm Solutions process, they initially want explanations for everything. “Why do I feel this?” “What does this mean?” They are taken aback by my disinterest in their “head” questions. Instead, I wonder what they are feeling. I wonder what needs “out” of their bodies. I wonder who is buried in there, under the surface, dying to emerge.

I wonder, in short, if they are courageous enough to enter into themselves fully, as opposed to stopping at their heads.

I am so disinterested in what they tell me is going on up there. All the stories, the dramas, the stuck-ness. I invite them to dance, and offer Bodywork, meditation, Zen focus. Most take me up on it—others are too lost in the mental games, the need to be special, to let go. And so, I wait.

If they are willing to play, to let go, we find ways to drop the games. I can then be curious about their sensual and erotic potential.

I wonder how freely they give themselves over to the ecstasy that is a part of our nature. I wonder, often, about their willingness to feel the depths of their pain, so that they will also be able to feel the heights of their passion. How scared of their power, passion and energy are they? What would it be like for them to enter into a world that is alive and filled with feeling? Will they “go there?”

Ultimately, there is a choice to be made here. The choice is to abandon knowing anything for understanding everything. It’s letting go of the need to be right, replacing that with the need to simply be.

This new series of articles is an invitation into the depths of you. We’ll also be looking at ways of calming and appreciating the “little voices” nattering in our heads. We’ll look at being whole — feeling, reflecting, acting, changing as the world about us changes, as we ourselves change.

An interesting walk, for the courageous explorer. Welcome aboard.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

1 thought on “True Intimacy”

  1. I wonder what needs “out” of their bodies. I wonder who is buried in there, under the surface, dying to emerge.”

    THAT is what I want to discover.


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