One way to frame the work that Erik and I are doing with couples is that we are creating a link from being a good and skilled lover in the intimate sense to being a good and skilled lover to the world.
Inspired by our study of Tantra, our friendship with people like Martin Ucik and others, we have a vision of the possibility of couples as transformative agents in the world.
Through the microcosm of a love relationship, we can practice and expand to become lovers in the largest sense of the word. What the world needs right now are lovers — people who say yes to life in all its forms.
And, I believe, the world needs lover-mystics — those who orient to soul desires, to the unseen world, and make it manifest through works of love. If we fall in love with the water, the earth, other human beings, all that has life… we might also become fierce and passionate defenders of life because we naturally defend what we cherish.
Thomas Aquinas said the medicine for despair, fear & hopelessness — which he calls acedia, a lack of energy to try new things, and what Matthew Fox playfully called “couch-potato-itis” — is zeal… which comes from an intense experience of the beauty of things.
For me, this relates to the tantric principle of the healing power of pleasure. Being in an intimate relationship is one place where we learn about beauty and pleasure, where we practice moving from the contracted world of disappointment or fear to risking saying yes again… yes to being known, to intimacy, to love. This intimate-lover-space can translate and train us — and it’s boot-camp-ish sometimes! — to refuse what is not life-giving in our smaller spheres and the world at large.
Experiences of beauty, truth, and pleasure are absolutely central to this work.