The New Intimacy


Is the Distance Between Two Human Beings Impossible to Bridge?

Much of what has been written about love has been based on an assumption that fundamental to our existence we are beings who are inexorably separated from one another; that the distance between two human beings is impossible to bridge. And, furthermore, that one of our deepest, if not our very deepest desire, also an inextricable part of the human condition, is to transcend that fracture and connect with another person, with another soul.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, Plato spoke of the need to find one's other half, the only person with whom one could feel complete.

Today we have the expression, "soulmate," which is another way of saying "one and only," and from the movie, "Jerry McGuire," the famous line Tom Cruise whispers to Renee Zellweger, "You complete me."

There is no doubt that we humans experience that sense of separation quite vividly. It often is the basis of our yearning for love as well as the heart of loneliness and despair.

But what would "soulmate" mean if we took, as our starting declaration, another point of view, one which is, in fact, equally true: that there is a connection, a profound intimacy between all that is, and we know that to be true at the very deepest level of our existence. As much as we are individuals, we are also embedded in a universe that makes us brothers and sisters to the sun and stars, to every creature that comes to be and passes away, to the very stuff, the mystery and majesty of this incredible experience of life.

After all, if we can make our sense of separation our guiding principle, why not connection?

First, the idea of completion would cease to be so powerful a yearning. Completion would be taken as a given. We would no longer feel emotionally impoverished, spiritually wanting. The hole in our souls would be healed. And all of the energy we put into searching for completion we could devote to expression--self-expression--as the self would no longer be an experience of isolation. That means that every one of us would experience self as simultaneously an expression of our unique individuality as well as not merely an aspect of the whole but the whole itself. Ours would be a holographic existence, in a way that heretofore has not even been imagined.

It hasn't been imagined because we've taken separation and distance to be the only truth of life.

With this new vision, we would then offer our completeness in partnership to another with whom we would co-create relationship and co-create yet another holographic expression.

Rather than lack and longing, radiance would be elemental.

Rather than looking for love, as they say, in all the wrong places-- which means out there somewhere, we would know that, in our connection, we are love, plain and simple. After all, isn't that what we expect love to provide? Connection?

Given our essential connectivity, the moment we make the decision to search for love, we have abandoned all hope of finding it. To search implies to not have. To invest in searching means to invest, at the same time, in not having, otherwise the search would be meaningless and it would collapse under its own futility.

As long as we cherish the notion that we are unalterably separate, love will remain a dream, something off in the distance that we crave but can never know, that we yearn for but can never have, and then be left to suffer the pain of yearning as the only reward.

There is distance to be sure, but that is not all, and, we believe, not even basic. There is more and it is right in front of us. But we have to change our minds.

© 2005, The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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