Today I explain how to create your own personal spiritual practice for deeper intimacy that is doable, accessible, and life-changing. In this do-it-yourself episode, I explain the goals of meditation and give clear steps on how to begin a regular practice of your own. I also share the two things that had the greatest impact on my personal search for love and go into detail about what exactly happens when we meditate.
Listen to this episode to learn how to choose your own personal mantra and how your chosen spiritual practice can have ripple effects on other areas of your life.
You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!
- How to create your own practice
- What is the goal of meditation
- Why should you retrace your steps on your journey to love
- Which two things had the greatest impact on Ken’s search for love
- How to work with your chosen mantra
- What happens when you meditate
- Why it pays to listen to your inner whispers
- Get a copy of Deeper Dating by Ken Page
- Join the Coaching and Mentorship Intensive with Ken Page
- Connect with us on Instagram
Would you like to create practices that deepen you into your own intimacy wisdom, are built for you, made for you, and work within your life? Stay tuned to this DIY episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. And in this episode, I’m going to be talking about how to create a personal spiritual practice that is doable, accessible, and life-changing, specifically for where you are in your journey right now.
So in this episode and in every episode I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and learn your deepest lessons of intimacy and hence, heal your life at the same time.
Because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy and those are the greatest skills of all. And if you’d like to learn more about this approach, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and you’ll find transcripts to every episode and an absolute host of resources, including many free resources available to you. So thank you so much for that. And if you like what you hear here, it would mean the world to me if you could leave me a review and subscribe. So thank you for that as well, and let’s jump in.Retrace your steps. Why? Because you earned that. It's gold. It will help other people and it will clarify and elucidate not only your path to healing but your entire life journey because this is connected to your life mission, whatever that is. Click To Tweet
Something I encourage everybody to do who is on a growth journey is that when you figure something out, when something becomes clear, when something coalesces, when there’s beautiful evolution, take some time to draw a map. How did I get out of the stuck place I was in? How did I get out of that and move to this better, more well-lit, more hopeful, more harmonious, more empowered, whatever, place?
What did I do? Retrace your steps. Why? Because you earned that. It’s gold. It will help other people and it will clarify and elucidate not only your path to healing but your entire life journey because this is connected to your life mission, whatever that is. So when you have insights, when you have growth, when you have success, I really encourage you to take the time to bottle that, to think what the map was.
And a way to do that is, how could I translate this? How could I share this? So many people who are listening to this podcast are healers and artists and communicators in so many different ways. This is a way that you can add to and enrich your offerings to the world in powerful ways.
One of the points, of which there were many, of course, but one of the points that I did this was when I thought, all right, how did I do this? How did I find such a wonderful, beautiful relationship when I was so screwed up with finding a relationship, when I made bad choices again and again, and where this agonizing existential place of whatever the it is that you need to find love, I don’t got it? That I got out of that and found a relationship more wonderful than I could have dreamed of.
What helped me get out of that place and into this place? And I thought that there were two things that most did it. One was external support from wise people because I just became a student, I just became a student. I went to everybody with the knowledge that I could find and said, “Help me. What do you notice me doing? What can I change? Give me homework.”
And I had colleagues. I’ve talked about my support group for chronically single shrinks, which was immensely helpful therapy. Anyway, that was one thing. The other thing was my spiritual practice. Those were the two things that I think had the greatest impact of all of my being able to find love.
Creating a personal spiritual practice:
And as someone who has had a spiritual practice for many, many, many years, actually, I’m 66 now, when I’ve had a spiritual practice since I was like 12 years old, with an eight-year drugs, sex, rock and roll gap. But that’s a long time of doing spiritual practice. But it was in a particular period that my spiritual practice was directly focused on finding a relationship.
And I’ll tell you what it was, what mine was, the one that worked most, most powerfully for me. It was this ancient contemplative practice of finding a sentence or a quote or a prayer that I really, really believed in, that could turn my mind around, but not into some kind of Pollyanna place that I didn’t even really believe.
One that down to my guts, I was like, there is a ring of truth in this. And I’ll share with you what mine was, with a little bit of a change, I changed a word or two. But it was from a Hindu spiritual teacher named Paramahansa Yogananda, who actually has been my guru since I was 17 years old. So this is what the prayer was: “God,” which was a word that I feel comfortable using, but everybody has their own words. “Bless me, that I choose my life companion based on your ways of perfect soul unity.” It was actually laws of soul unity, but I don’t like that laws thing so I made it ways.
Anyway, this turned me around because what I was praying, in essence, whether praying or not, was to find me someone hot and wonderful who’s attracted to me and I’m attracted to him, and that could be my relationship.It's like we create these defensive structures in these transactional ways that we date and relate that are basically based on getting what we want and even more deeply and profoundly dodging the bullets of pain that we don't want to experience… Click To Tweet
And this was not succeeding. The concept, which I teach now, that you put that soul unity first and that everything else triages and assembles and arranges around that. You have to be attracted. Absolutely, that’s so essential.
But this is the main thing. When this is the center and the nucleus of your search, your values shift, the way you look, shifts, the people you notice shift. It’s like a change in attitude, which allows for something very beautiful inside me to take the lead and guide this journey. So this was kind of a revelation prayer for me. And sometimes I hated it because I kept thinking, “Yeah, but he’s got to be hot.”
And that was true, but nobody was saying that that wasn’t the case. The prayer itself was just asking me to shift my focus so I could lead with the most beautiful parts of me instead of the most transactional parts of me. And that changed my life. And over time, doing this prayer in a particular way, which I talk about in other episodes, which is, you say the prayer, you say the sentence.
And this, I’m offering this to all of you because my encouragement is for each one of you to find words that speak to you like that spoke to me, that you feel have healing potential, that have a deep ring of truth as opposed to some ring of should, and that you have to lift yourself up some scaffolding that’s impossible to get to a spiritual space, but you think you should do it anyway.
No, no. It would need to be a prayer that feels like home in some deep ways, or an affirmation or a saying that really feels like home, that rings true to you and that you feel has healing power. You just find nuggets of that kind of wisdom and you go with it. And then you say it and then you just allow for its ripples to pass through you.
And when that passes, when that wave passes, you say it again. And then maybe you think about your shopping list or someone who irritated you or something you have to get done. And then you say it again. And a big chunk of time, if you’re anything like me, it won’t be perfect focus.
But the times that it is really deep focus burn away at old blockage, clear away rustiness, get rid of that flintiness of heart that we develop in life, soften us and get us in touch with something really, really wonderful, which could be longing, which could be a feeling of longing.
So I want to encourage every one of you to just take some time and find a sentence or two sentences that touch you the way this one touched me. Maybe you might even want to use this one and work with it. And I’m going to say more in a minute about what that means to work with it and also some other possible practices. But I want to just read you something from my book, Deeper Dating, that I think really kind of captures it.
“When we access that spring of wisdom or love or insight or humanity in the core of our being, we feel the presence of something greater, something with tremendous positive promise. We don’t have to name it. Simply loving it and spending quality time with it are enough to change us.
The closer we come to it, the more we meet it skin to skin, the more quality time we spend with it, and the more our life will be transformed, simplified, and inspired. The greater our intimacy with this source, the more the frozen parts of our hearts will begin to thaw. And then love, and its twin, the longing for love, will begin to emerge in our lives.” And in my opinion, that’s the true spiritual path.
Working with your chosen mantra:
So there are so many other possibilities for practices you could do. There’s EFT tapping, which I really love. There are countless, countless guided meditations on the internet and on YouTube. There’s conscious movement. There are so many mindfulness practices, but what I want to say is find the one that touches your heart and excites you, and feels like it has promise.
Do not waste your time on dry stuff that doesn’t work, for you. Might work great for somebody else, but if it’s dry if it doesn’t have that magic… And now that magic will come and go and it will be boring at different times and it’ll feel wooden and stilted and you won’t want to do it. That’s normal. But there’s got to be a good amount of that magic sense there, or it’s just not the practice for you.
And I think if you commit to five minutes a day, that’s a really good start. 10 minutes a day, even better. More if it suits you, even better. But this stuff changes our lives. And some of the ways that it does that are it changes our thinking. That prayer changed my thinking from a transactional to a deeply expressive, heartfelt shift in my search for love, which is what I encourage everybody to take. But that helped me take it. It changed my brain, it changed my thinking, and I’m very grateful for that.
Another thing that happens with these practices is that there’s a healing that occurs. There is a way that we actually get healed. And that healing of our life is one of the greatest gifts of a conscious search for love. What does that mean? It means we are learning the deeper lessons of intimacy. We feel it, we know it, we experience those lessons becoming a part of our life. We forget them 20 billion times, but then we remember them again and we go, oh, damn. And we remember them again, and that is how this kind of shift in change of being, what they call the hard work miracle, begins to happen.
There’s also an experience that is kind of, it’s this sense of touching the hem of something very vast, kind of healing presence. Something that is bigger than you are and has beauty, has a sense of majesty, a sense of quietness, a sense of peace, a sense of expansion, a sense of profound compassion.
And just the experience of touching something with that kind of magic is a wonderful thing to add to your day. And it changes the way that you date because you move from that transactional approach to one that is fueled by other things; fueled by compassion, fueled by clarity, fueled by discrimination, fueled by connection to what you really want. It’s like we create these defensive structures in these transactional ways that we date and relate that are basically based on getting what we want and even more deeply and profoundly dodging the bullets of pain that we don’t want to experience again, or that we have already lodged inside us and we’re trying to flee those hurts.
So we develop these whole mechanisms of behavior that are based on that – swiping endlessly because it just disconnects us so much from the humanity of actually meeting somebody. Not showing or allowing our enthusiasm for someone because it just will seem too uncool or too earnest or embarrassing or needy. Not going after connecting with people who really interest us because we’re afraid of rejection. These are all just some examples of these kinds of webs that tighten around us of old behaviors.
When we meditate, those webs soften and something new comes in that has more wisdom. For me, some of the ways that these webs tighten and limit and reduce my ability to be connected are – I become judgmental, I become rushed and hurried. I become angry. Those are some of mine. I unsoften, I get hardened. When I meditate, I become softer. And an image that I have that maybe some of you won’t even get at all because it’s from before your time, but the old phonograph records, sometimes it would be the needle that would have to go into the groove of the vinyl for the sound to actually come out.
And sometimes the weight of the head of that needle was not strong enough, so we would tape on a quarter or a nickel, or a dime, depending on how much heaviness we needed. And then the needle would sink into the groove and the music would come out.In relationships, I just think we have to constantly soften and deepen and realign. Click To Tweet
But if you put too much weight in it, you’d lose the music, there would be this grinding. And that’s kind of a way I think about what happens to me when I lose my connection to this other wonderful place and I go into this more transactional, pain-escaping way of being. It’s like there are too many quarters on the needle and there’s a scratching instead of the sweet beauty of my connection with whoever this person is.
So when I meditate, that heals and it softens and something else comes in. So one wonderful tip for meditating is that when you’re done… Or any spiritual practice, the ones that we’re talking about here, anything that you do, when you’re done, take a minute to kind of bottle the essence of the good that came out of it.
You may have gotten an insight. Just taking a moment to think, what’s the message in a bottle for me from this practice that I did? What’s the message for my intimacy journey? And often you’ll come away with one and it’ll be beautifully distilled in a way that it wouldn’t have been unless you took the time to do that. Like today, in my meditation, I did that. And in keeping with the way that I become defensive, I remembered something I haven’t remembered since I was like 10 years old.
And it was this very old, to me then, Italian guy who lived down the block and he had this beautiful, beautiful garden in the backyard. And I would talk to him every now and then. He was very friendly. He seemed like from another world and he didn’t speak English that well, but this is what he would always say. He would say, “Take it easy, take it easy.” And I remembered those words. I hadn’t thought of them for decades, but I thought, what was the message of my meditation? And the memory of this man from so long ago came forward. And I viewed that as my thought to hold all day.
So you’ll have that experience with your practices too, and they will shift your focus from your transactional, defensive escape of pain ways of being to ways of being that are more beautiful and more wise. Another point that I often say, and I want to say again, is don’t worry if your meditation is sloppy, or your practice. Don’t worry if it’s like Swiss cheese with your mind going to all these other places.
You will have moments where you connect and those are what matter. Those are precious. And often it’s just the degree to which you can step into the sweetness and the beauty of those moments that’s going to make the difference. Not even how many of those moments you have, but your willingness to say, oh, I’m going to step in, I’m going to step here, I’m going to own this. I’m going to immerse in this.
That act intensifies the results of those moments of your practice. And my spiritual director, John McNeill, who wrote The Church and the Homosexual and Taking a Chance on God and a lot of other books, who interestingly was kicked out of the Jesuit order by Cardinal Ratzinger, who then became Pope Benedict, who kind of had to flee his popehood and recently passed away and kind of devastated my mentor, although that was when he found his calling.
Anyway, that’s a side note. He always felt like he couldn’t do his morning prayers because he just wanted to read the New York Times and drink his coffee. And so this was a constant struggle for him until he came up with a solution, which was for him, he prayed the New York Times. He would read an article and he would send healing and thoughts and love to whatever beings were the subject of the article.
So I love that story and I just love the thought of giving yourself allowance and kindness instead of rigidity, so that this could be a kind practice for you. And don’t worry about it being sloppy or disorganized.
And certainly do not worry about having to clear out your brain, because nobody could clear out their brain except meditators who are so adept, and maybe all of us at different points or different moments. But basically that can’t be the goal. The goal is just to have moments where we align our brain to these gorgeous grooves that we experience when we do our practice.
Listen to your inner whispers:
Two last things I want to say about this. One, there was a great saint in India. His name was Ramakrishna. And he said that if you’re worried that… Let’s say you’re doing an ask, you’re doing a prayer. Let’s say you’re doing that. Maybe you don’t believe in prayers, maybe it’s an affirmation.
But I deeply believe that getting in touch with our longing and expressing it is powerful, powerful, powerful medicine. It burns space inside of us that then becomes available. It’s heated, it’s a very heated thing to do, to get in touch with our longing, to actually craft asks of ourselves, of the universe, of a higher power. But it carves out such beautiful space in us. Anyway, he said, imagine a parent and the child is crying for them.
The parent is not going to think, “Oh, you really didn’t enunciate that properly.” The parent will go to the child, hopefully, because the child is calling. So don’t worry about your concentration level, don’t worry about the words. If this longing comes from your heart and is imbued in your practice, it will have fire. And the last thing I want to say is this. That when we do these practices, often there’s a rebound that happens at a later point.
There are whispers that come to us later during the day or a few days later or a few months later because we’re attuning ourselves to these wonderful spaces. And so since we do that, sometimes our antenna just catches the wave. And that’s something that we can consciously do, not just in our practice, but afterward. Listen to those whispers where you get a sense of inspiration or integration or clarity or beauty because they will come as a result of doing this work.
So I encourage you to hold onto those as well. And as you do this, as you do this, you will begin to follow a path that leads to love in a completely different way. You will make wiser choices. Your intuition is going to guide you in new ways. You won’t make the same old choices that push love away without you even realizing it.
Little by little, those will begin to transmute. Little by little, but it happens. And this is for people not just looking for love, but looking for deeper love. And in relationships, I just think we have to constantly soften and deepen and realign. And any practice that helps you do it is your pathway to a richer, fuller life.
So thank you so much for listening and I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with creating and trying on your own practices and the shifts that happen. Please write to me with them. Thank you all so much and I look forward to connecting on the next episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast.