Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love & Intimacy.. Nutrition for the Soul

 by Diana Daffner, published August 2013 in Natural Awakenings

Love & Intimacy: Nutrition for the Soul

As conscious beings, we are mindful about what we eat. We pay attention to the nutritional value of our food intake. We seek to increase what we think is good for us and diminish consumption of unhealthy commodities.

Love, too, perhaps even more than our diet, can provide healthy nutrition for both our bodies and our souls, even to the point of our survival from disease. Dean Ornish, M.D, , founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, says “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine that has a greater impact on our survival than the healing power of love and intimacy. Not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery."

As with food, bringing mindfulness and attention to our intake of love can affect how beneficial it is for us. How do we do that? As with food, it is important to select well. Without knowledge, amply provided by magazines such as this, we might make poor choices. Of course, we need to apply our knowledge intelligently. When I was young, I must have somehow learned that too much salt was not good to eat. I distinctly remember feeding potato chips to my dog, but first licking off the salt because I knew it would not be healthy for her!

Selecting a love partner involves more than knowledge and the necessary rational application. Lovers are drawn toward each other by many inexplicable forces – perhaps including karma, pheromones, astrological intervention and who knows what else. Once we are in the relationship, we must continue to be smart about how to give and receive love in the most nutritional way possible.

Eye Contact
It is said that eyes are the windows to the soul. A recent Yale study actually supports the idea that our sense of our true essence is indeed located in or near the eyes. Intimacy can be thought of as “into-me-see.” Allowing our beloved to see into our eyes is perhaps the most direct path to cultivating the nutritionally intimate aspect of love.

Although it is considered romantic, couples often do not make strong eye contact, even when making love. Instead, we usually close our eyes! Closing the eyes may put us more in touch with what we are feeling in our body. However it is the eye contact that puts us more in touch with our partner. It is the eye contact that provides the opening to our soul.

In the movie Avatar, the phrase “I see you” is used to acknowledge a deep resonance and respect for one another at that soul level. In the novel “The Amaranth Bloom,” author Deborah June Goemans describes a South African ritual of soulful story telling called kukummi. “It starts with Ma saying, “I see you,” she writes.

To be truly seen by our beloved, to look into our partner’s eyes, is not only the height of romance, it provides a nutritious helping of love and intimacy. When served on a daily basis, with a sprinkling of gratitude and appreciation, it is like taking a megavitamin that nourishes and sustains both each individual and the relationship itself.