Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy..."
Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
I find deep resonance in Gibran's thoughts on pleasure. It seems to me that there’s a natural flow, a spontaneous, reciprocal and generative quality to relational pleasures. As I reflect on Valentine's Day tomorrow, I'm thinking of a couples' study conducted under the direction of Dr. Carmen Knudson-Martin. I was interested in how long-term couples sustained emotional intimacy in their relationships. The purpose of this blog is not to provide findings of that study (a summary can be found under the emotional intimacy tab); rather, it comes to mind as it relates to how emotional intimacy can be both a form of relational pleasure, and strengthen and intensify couple bonds through presence and the felt sense of being known
When connected couples share a good laugh, a moment of ecstasy, a lingering glance, touch, smile, or words of affection, understanding and longing, they encounter a self-less-conscious SELF, Pure Presence. Think about the last good belly laugh you’ve had, an amorous moment, you were “in the moment!” Such presence can lend itself to a feeling of being seen-and known- and seeing and knowing one’s partner-free from ego. When we experience the freedom, joy, and pleasure of “seeing” (abstractly)/knowing/intuiting, there is greater potential and desire to connect in more vulnerable ways through the sharing of thoughts/feelings and experiences; and, through physical intimacy as not only the release of oxytocin (a bonding chemical) is released, but also a memory is formed which can intensify the positive emotions and neural connections established.
Without doubt, feeling seen and seeing the innermost self is “…a need and an ecstasy,” a beautiful intimacy.