“I think intimacy in TSK theory has a number of meanings. On first and second levels, I think it manifests as openness, appreciation, and mindfulness. This is not an exhaustive list. On the third level, this intimacy is different. It is the very interaction of feminine and masculine elements in reality.

“”The unrestrained fulfillment of the interplay of Great Space and Time is an intimacy that is complete and uncontrived… It is the shattering- and yet natural- surfacing of our real Being.” (italics not added)

Space and time, emptiness and form, light and perfection, interact in daily life. Everything can be analyzed in terms of those sides. The description of the intimacy of these things emphasizes depth and intensity of interaction.” Intro to TSK


Intimacy is a buzzword of sorts in some circles.

Since New Age types is one of those circles, it’s a word I’m not comfortable with. Maybe I’m not comfortable with it, really, because intimacy is itself so intense and sensitive and close to the heart. Who knows?

Intimacy is a term that came up a lot in the Nonverbal Communication textbook I used, oddly enough. Why? I think it entered into a number of discussions of what communication means, and what some basic communication goals and parameters are. Just casually, since I’m not well versed in this part of the teachings, let me write a tiny bit about intimacy as it relates to basic life, and to TSK and the dharma.

I think intimacy involves a lot of factors. The following list of attributes will be buzzwords, in a sense, but good ones, at least. It involves genuineness, nondeception, penetration, and (I think) kindness. That’s at least for human intimacy (maybe animal intimacy as well, but if that exists or not I’m not sure, and not sure how it would differ).

Intimacy is genuine. You can’t be intimate with someone if you’re pandering, or being some version of yourself that is based on something fake. It’s nondeceptive, which is connected to being genuine. This is not easy, especially when there’s something to lose. It’s penetrating. This could be unpleasant or pleasant, I think, strong or gentle. It hits you somehow. It’s not surfacey. There has to be some time and place for politeness, I guess, but this is not as surfacey as politeness. Finally, there’s some kindness. Intimacy is not considered cruel or hurtful, usually.

Kindness is defined in a funny way in Buddhism, sometimes. Things that are eventually helpful, even though seeming harsh or unkind at one point in time could be considered kind (in the long run). At that point, kindness and compassion seem pretty similar, hard to distinguish.

I’m trying to think of a real life example of this, but am drawing a blank at this point. In a sense, it’s about not just “tough love,” but about how the big lessons change and evolve over time in unexpected ways. A seemingly kind act could lead to suffering later on. A seemingly cruel act could lead to great things later on.

“You have to decide if you’re a happy person or a sad person.”

A teacher told me that probably almost 20 years ago, and it still haunts me, often pleasantly. What does that mean?

But what about TSK- somehow this term is used a lot in TSK.

It seems to be about connection, and shows up, of course, in three levels.

This tripartite thing shows up also in Nyingma Buddhism, I’ve read.

In order to be lazy and move on to other internet activities, I’ll keep this part short. It’s a shattering and yet a natural surfacing. There are elements of shattering on the path, which is a matter of penetration I guess, and also a natural quality. They say that there are various ways to enter the path. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Quick and enjoyable

2. Slow and enjoyable

3. Quick and painful

4. Slow and painful (agonizing)

Mine has been number four, for the most part, with a little flash of one at the beginning.

This idea of meditation training as slow, and hard work might be appealing to Americans, but then again, maybe not. Who know? More and more, I think about how skillful means seems to involve tricking people- into somehow letting go, growing, not suffering.


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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