[Section 1] “Delusions about loneliness and myths about relationships”
This 1st section (the 1st lecture and the 1st workshop) has to do with existential loneliness and the relationship.
It seems that each one of us is “by design” a unique being – and so a king in her/his personal kingdom of one resident… who is the king himself.
It could probably be said that we live amidst of a personal “cosmic silence”.
Sometimes we often try to fill up this silence with screams and noises that are even themselves silent in their vanity.
Some other times we see the Other becoming an objet to be used in order to fill our own emptiness.
So, motivated by our panic because of our loneliness, we often enter situations which we thoughtlessly name “relationships”.
In such situation the Other, from a beautiful hug open to hold us like a port can embrace a ship, becomes a castle which has to be conquered – no matter if we desperately insist naming such kind of situations “good relationships”.
The result is that our loneliness becomes even more unbearable, whereas what we were used to call “relationship” is just sadness, disappointments and useless anger.
I mean that the more we consider our existential loneliness as something that has to be canceled through the Other, the more we are overwhelmed by despair, since it is impossible to annihilate what we “by definition” are, no matter how we grasp any Other.
And the more we insist to cut off this basic human characteristic, the more we fail and become angry with life, because we feel terribly lonely exactly when we do everything for us possible to overpass our loneliness…
Thus, between the ancient human terrors confirmed by our times, there is our primary agony that we are not only born and die existentially alone, but we are also living all our lives alone,“by construction”.
*** How do we manage to tragically confuse existential with interpersonal loneliness?
*** How our consumer culture suggests that the Other exists just to offer us whatever we did not get from life, whatever we now need, and whatever we are going to need in the future?
*** And, finally, are our relationships a possible way to cope with the fact of our existential loneliness? And if yes, how and what kind of relationships are we talking about?
(2nd Section) “The dancing Shadows in the experience of eros: a celebration without celebrants, a mourning without anyone dead”
This 2nd section (the 2nd lecture and the 2nd workshop) has to do with Eros (“Being in love”).
One basic human characteristic seem to be our need to transcend our boundaries and instantly delete all our differences with any Other, diving in the intoxicating experience of eros.
In eros there is a figural element: an almost metaphysic sense of deep harmony and intimacy not justifiable by the how long and how much we know the Other, since in eros we have the almost metaphysical certitude that we somehow “knew” the Other even before we met.
Moreover, to the Other’s touch we feel our body re-configured; the Other instills beauty and power onto every one of our bodies’ cells; and a sense of sanctity spreads like a healing mist over whatever we do together.
Yet, in eros there a lot of controversies and questions.
*** A fundamental one, is that eros often seems to suffocate in longer and stable habitual relationships. It seems that this experience transcending our deep and personal sense of time cannot exist for long in the real time of life.
*** How is it possible that in eros, its ending is almost its only one constant feature?
*** Why eros is always combined with a kind of a sweet-bitter taste, an underlying sense of death, deception, loss, betrayal and disappointment, while at the same time, no matter its ending, it is so regenerating and refreshing with such an overwhelming life-breeze?
*** What is truly the loss for which the enamoured is mourning with such heartbreaking tears when the Other breaks the bond?
*** How the enamoured can continue and into what kind of course?
*** Who are really the figures in the wedding celebrations of eros and who meets whom?
*** Is it true that time freezes for the prince and the princess on the moment of kissing at the “happy end” in fairy tales?
*** And why we do not care at all to see what happened thirty years after the brave prince woke up the Sleeping Beauty?
[Section 3] “The power of the ancient wolf in the sexual Self”
This 3rd section (the 3rd lecture and the 3rd workshop) has to do with sexual desire.
Our species evolved in a way that we are able to conceive with our minds highly abstract concepts, to structure complex lines of thought, while we are also capable of experiencing subtle nuances of very deep feelings.
However, no matter these evolvements, we include in our being all our primary developmental layers; and we are strongly influenced by needs emerging also out of such layers, and not only from what we call “higher” mental levels of existing.
So, no matter how we relate with the Other, we are always embodied beings having in our fundaments the need to be connected with our chthonic origins, to experience the primary vitality characterising our sexual Self.
Now, some of our needs are acceptable, especially when they are also accepted by our societies.
However, other needs are not easily or at all acceptable by our societies and even not acceptable also by us.
Such needs have often to do with our sexuality and with experiencing our primary vitality in the fundaments of our sexual identity in its several versions.
And this vitality is like an ancient wolf who sometimes nests serene within us and sometimes seeks angrily to be fed.
Nevertheless, sexuality is one of the many ways to experience our earthy-aspects.
And sexual desire brings to front the need for a celebration on the honour of our bodies, rejuvenated by the life emerging from the highly charged senses when we are enjoying sex.
*** Why is it so hard to keep healthy this wolf within us without domesticating him in sterilised cages? Without transforming him in a caricature of internet pornography?
*** Why do we neglect this wolf so easily?
*** What do we do when this wolf maddened by hunger starts devouring our own selves?
*** And how all this connects with vampires, wear-wolves, thrillers, and the pseudopods permitting the amoeba’s movements?
*** Finally, why in several traditions in all schools for wizards, teachers on the lesson of transformation were suggesting to the students never to stay very long in the body of the animal to which they were learning to transform?
[Section 4] “…to the heretics of love: the long, intimate and committed relationship”
This 4th section (the 4th lecture and the 4th workshop) has to do with what we usually call a “relationship”: when two people decide to walk together in life, remaining intimate and committed.
Nowadays, the terrors because of our existential loneliness, futility and the brute violence, are often covered very effectively behind numerous curtains – say, smiles in customer services, friendships and playful face-book “likes”, etc.
Dead ends are camouflaged well in an elusive “online landscape” promising infinite choices. However, in this virtual digital paradise, the individual suffocates frozen in a constant sense of an invisible.
On such a background, looking for the Other to build together a deep, long, intimate relationship, becomes a first-order need.
Yet, the importance of this need, often affects it toxically, both as goal and process.
Indeed, what do we exactly ask from the Other through a “serious” relationship?
Joy, pleasure, safety, making him/her the answer to to what we needed from life, never got and most probably shall never get?
Sometimes we ask from the Other to be the perfect companion, the exciting friend, the incomparable lover, our eternally non-stop overwhelming eros, the cooperative father or mother for our children, inexhaustible source of a unique combination of safety and freedom, a constantly perfect sexual partner and, finally, a partner with whom we take care of our home, pay the bills, go to the supermarket, grow our children, and so on.
And when some items of this agenda are not covered or when we are not happy with the agenda itself, we start blaming the Other or we feel guilty, certain that something goes wrong in our relationship.
But did we ever wonder:
*** If being al the time so close to a supposedly “perfect” Other is not a criterion of a “good” relationship?
*** And, seriously and beyond the thoughtless ways we use words in our everyday habitual lives, what is loyalty, faith, trust, betrayal, commitment, explosion and implosion in such a relationship?
*** Moreover, how many internalised Others do they play critical roles in such a kind of relationship?
*** What does it mean “being committed to each other”?
*** And, if start such a relationship with you, does it mean that I must never again fall in love or desire sexually anybody else?
Maybe we can learn something about all this if we are brave enough to learn from a complex betrayal.
First from the betrayal of the Other, who insists to be different from our expectations, no matter our wish to be identical, our begging or our threats in order to see him/her fitting in our expectations.
And then, from the equally inevitable our own betrayal, since we are also vigorously resisting the Other’s expectations from us…
[Section 5] “The tangible body and the illusional presence of the Other in eros, in love, in sex”
This 5th section (the 5th lecture and the 5th workshop) have to do with how we are experiencing our bodies when we are in eros (“in love”), when we love and when we sexually desire.
Our body is not only the “body-object” that we can touch and smell.
It is also the “lived body”, the medium itself through which we can touch and smell, it is the primary subject of our experience.
Our thoughts and feelings, our intentions and wishes, are not intangible entities floating in our head, but hey are bodily founded.
Our stories are engraved on our bodies long before they get shaped in narrations by our mind.
And our body does not simply participate in our memories, but it “is” our memory itself – since any experience, before reaching the complex levels of our conscious mind, starts being synthesised in our bodies.
So, our body generates a whole universe of meanings based on the ways that we stand and move; such meanings affect critically the broader meanings on which we compose mentally and emotionally our experiences of the whole world.
Besides, in our live direct meetings the body does not take an active part only when we touch each other, but carries the 88% of the non verbal and non conscious processes of our encounter.
If we now think that how we are experiencing the Other depends on the form of our relationship, then, we could say that also how we are experiencing our bodies in a relationship depends on the form of this relationship as well as on the way in which it evolves. So:
*** How are we experiencing our body when in eros with the Other, when we love the Other, when we burn in desire for the Other and we enjoy the sexual touch?
*** How in each one of these situations our hug and our own need to be hugged change?
*** How, and whom we are touching in these situations?
*** What happens and sometimes, in such experiences, we take care of or abandon in different ways our body?
*** Why is it so important how the first hands that were holding us as babies cooperated with gravity?
*** And how it happens and finally, no matter how strongly we hug each other as partners, enamoured or lovers, we both always remain vague and shadowy, yet always majestic, present and intimate through our absence?