Listen to the podcast here:
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to create a personal practice that delivers daily access to deeper wisdom about your own love life. In this episode, I’ll teach you how to create a personal practice that can truly change your future. Over time, your practice will deepen you, make you more capable of loving, and help you become so much more skilled at finding love, intimacy, wisdom–and passion too!
Table of Contents:
- The Two Things That Made The Biggest Difference
- Understanding Meditation
- Create Your Own Personal Practice
- Tapping Acupuncture Points
Create Your Personal Love-Wisdom Practice
Finding Your Inner Intimacy-GPS
In this episode, I’m going to help you craft a personal practice to bring deeper wisdom into your intimacy journey, so stay tuned to this very important and special episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a new site where single people can meet in an environment that’s fun, kind, respectful and inspiring. Today, I’m going to talk about spiritual practice as a tool to help you in your search for love, and I’m going to help you craft your own personal spiritual practice to support you in your intimacy journey.
In every one of these episodes, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy, rich, meaningful life. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign up for my mailing list, and get lots and lots of free things, and lots and lots of resources, as well as complete transcript of every episode, including this one.
I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any psychological symptoms that concern you, it’s a great idea to get professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could leave me a review, subscribe, etc. Thank you so much for that. Okay, so let’s jump in.
I think the intimacy path is very much a wisdom path. I know in my experience, it is on and on, again and again about what I can learn, what I need to learn about the obstacles that I hit in myself, the ways that I refine how I interact with people, just lessons about love that come and come and come, and meditation or a practice that really speaks to you speeds your journey to your own personal wisdom. What could be better than that? It’s just such an incredibly important, important thing.
The Two Things That Made The Biggest Difference
I remember thinking, what are the things that allowed me most to move from chronically single and enacting these patterns again and again that I really, really thought would work, and just didn’t work again and again? What were the things? The two things that made the biggest difference to me were my support group of chronically single shrinks and the friends who mentored me. That kind of connection and support that got me out of my own patterned attempts to find love, that were failing again and again as much as I believed in them, and the other was a spiritual practice.
I did for a long time, I still do a spiritual practice. I am someone who’s been meditating I guess about 40 years in my life, a really, really long time. I’ll say a little bit more about that, but during the time that I committed to my search for love in a more intense way, I had a daily spiritual practice that was specifically about finding love.
As much as anything, these particular two things, my spiritual practice and the connection and support of other people who could take me out of my patterned ways of doing things, those were the big things that made the hugest, hugest difference. I believe in them so much and they’re humbling. They’re both humbling because in both of those cases, it’s this realization that my patterned ways that I believed in so deeply just like weren’t the wisest way to do this, and so meditation was really important to me.If you're experiencing any psychological symptoms that concern you, it's a great idea to get professional help. Click To Tweet
I’m going to talk a little bit more very shortly about the practices that I used, that I believe in so deeply, and work with you to create your own personal practice, meditation practice, spiritual practice that is built and designed to help you in your precious and amazing and profoundly important search for love, but first, I want to talk a little bit about the value of meditation, but I’m going to precede that with something else. I just want to say, if you are thinking, “I can’t meditate because I can’t still my mind,” welcome to the club. I have been meditating for 40 years and I cannot still my mind. It’s the rarest thing in the world for me to still my mind.
Now, does that mean that my meditations aren’t life-changing, beautiful, amazing, delicious, powerful, essential? No. They are but I just suck at stilling my mind and you can still meditate. I’m going to talk about that a little bit more. Also, meditation does not have to be this dry, boring thing. I hate dry, boring meditation. I can’t stand it. My meditations are rich and intense and beautiful and life-changing. Don’t think that you just need to do a meditation that bores you.
I will say though that some of the meditations that you might think are boring, like some of the meditations of watching your breath or saying a mantra are anything but boring when you stay with them. They can be deep and rich and amazingly beautiful. I’m just saying that too, but you don’t have to do them. You do not have to have rigor. You do not have to have amazing discipline. You just do your best.
I just want to share a story with you. As someone who is a very serious meditator and has been for like a crazy, crazy long amount of time, I follow a particular path of meditation. I will say that my guru, my spiritual teacher is a man named Paramahansa Yogananda who came to the States. He was the first Indian teacher to come to the States and stay for a really, really long time teaching. He was beloved by Gandhi. Gandhi bequeathed some of his ashes to him and he was just a great soul. I follow, since I was seventeen, his meditation path.
Unfortunately, Self-Realization Fellowship, his organization, has some homophobic elements or has had them, and that has been a little bit difficult for me but he’s still my guru, my spiritual teacher, and his meditations are my meditations, and I love him dearly and deeply, even if his community might be somewhat misguided in that area. Anyway, so I was at a retreat and I had not yet received the next level of initiations, and I was talking to my friend, Paul, who was very smart, and I said to him, he said, “Well, why haven’t you done this next series of meditations?” I said, “Because I’m such a sloppy meditator. I’m so bad at it. I have so little rigor. I have so little discipline.” He said to me, “Fine. Take the next level of meditations and be like a sloppy meditator with no rigor and keep doing them,” so that is what I did.
I learned and I believe in deeply the beauty of sloppy spiritual practice. Meaning, if your heart is in it, if you choose a meditation that speaks to your soul, if your meditation touches you, who cares? Now, if you can have more rigor and discipline than me, and many people do, three cheers for you, but you don’t need it. I just want to speak up in praise of sloppy spiritual practice. Do you do it? Do you put heart into it? If so, your meditations will be getting more and more beautiful, powerful and meaningful if they’re ones that speak the language of your heart, and today, we’re going to help you find what those are.
Going back to Yogananda, my teacher, he said something so beautiful, and I haven’t been able to find the exact quote but it was something like this. It was that left to their own devices, left to our own devices, our hearts become flinty and hard. They just are prone to do that as we live unless we have relationships and practices that soften our hearts again and again, and that’s one of the things that meditation does. It softens our hearts and when our hearts soften, we see our relationships with more compassion. We also see ourselves with more clarity. To me, those are two of the more amazing things that happen in meditation. Is I gain compassion. I decenter from my rigidity, and the other piece that happens in my meditation is that I just see things clearer. It doesn’t make me fuzzy thinking. It makes me more of a practical clear thinker and I adore those things.
In the arena of dating, there’s a twelve-step sentence that’s something like, in that area, my mind is not a safe neighborhood to be alone in, and when it comes to dating and intimacy and all of our stuck places around intimacy, I promise you, our minds are not safe neighborhoods to be alone in. I think that what we need to be feeling, and this is something that I would like to ask you to think about if it’s something you’re experiencing, is a kind of ongoing way that there’s an influx of new ideas, new wisdom, new compassion, new awareness. If that’s happening for you already on a regular basis, that’s glorious. If it’s not, it probably will if you take on a practice, and I’m talking ten minutes a day to start, five minutes a day if it needs to be five minutes a day.Meditation softens our hearts. When our hearts soften, we see our relationships with more compassion. Click To Tweet
Other things that happen for me in my meditation, I often say that my meditation is pretty always the best part of my day, and the reason is that in my meditation, all the joys of my day kind of get distilled down, and I get to like taste their sweetness and their nature and their flavor. They get essentialized. They get distilled, and I can really feel and sense their nature, their essence, so meditation takes the beautiful moments of my life and gives that to me, and also gives me wisdom. I don’t know, but to me, it’s just the most fabulous, fabulous feeling in the world to feel like I’m gaining intimacy wisdom. That’s something that stuck, got me stuck or scared or blocked or helpless, that all of a sudden, there’s this influx of wisdom that doesn’t feel like it’s something I knew or understood before, but I gain it and I could just feel, “Oh, I just learned something.” That’s a wonderful thing, and that is also what meditation offers.
I wanted to say this thing about don’t worry about meditating correctly and I wanted to talk a little bit about the beauty of meditation. I’ll say that some other things that happen in meditation are a sense of expansion, a sense of peace, a sense of transcendence, a sense of touching something vast like, “Holy cow, I’m standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon,” and I’m in awe and I’m scared. This is vaster than I expected, and it’s so dimensional and rich, and there’s heart in it and it’s me. I’m a little scared, but wow. That kind of awe of experiencing something that’s like slightly, slightly transcendent, or maybe even more than slightly transcendent, so those are some of the beautiful, wonderful things I wanted to say about meditation.
Create Your Own Personal Practice
Now, I want to help you kind of create a practice for yourself, and I want to offer you a few ideas. One is a contemplative kind of prayer practice that for me was a really, really important part of my spiritual practice to find love, and made a huge, huge, huge, huge difference. I actually teach this contemplative practice. It’s an ancient practice and I teach it in episode 26 in pretty good detail, but I’m going to give you kind of the basics of it here, and the basics are that you find the words that touch your heart deeply about your search for love, and it’s okay for the words to be an ask, like universal spirit, or maybe you don’t even name it, or maybe you say goddess, or maybe you say God, or maybe you say wisdom or strength inside me, untapped wisdom inside me. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful and it’s vaster than our limited little mind, and we call on it.
It’s like you ask, you ask and that asking should evoke a kind of real like longing, or a sense of this longing for a relationship in me is so true. It almost burns. It’s so deep. It’s so true. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s sad. Yes, it’s exquisite but it’s my truth and I’m going to ask. I’m going to ask the universe for help in making this dream happen. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do my own efforts, but it means that this vast and humble reaching out of arms and just asking is something that I do.
I had a prayer that I said. I tried to do it ten minutes a day but it burned so much that often I could only do it for five minutes a day, just because it touched such an ache inside of me and touched fears, “What if I can’t have this?” Lots of intense stuff, which all of which are symbols, not symbols but signs that I was really close to my heart and signs that because it hurt, because it burned, that it was real and it was true.
For me, this one was God, because the word God works for me but it doesn’t have to work for you, but “God bless me that I choose my life companion based on your ways of perfect soul unity.” Here’s what I would do and here’s what the contemplative practice is. I would say the prayer and then I would feel the waves of emotion that came afterwards, then so when that happened, I would ride those waves. I would stay with them until they subsided, and then I would say it again, and maybe the second time, I’d be thinking about my shopping list and it would be like useless.
I would just start again and say the words, “God bless me that I choose my life companion based on your ways of perfect soul unity,” then I would have a flare-up of, “Yeah but what about sex? What about sexual attraction? What about that?” I would calm myself down and say, “Yes, Ken, that too, that too,” but this was this huge lesson that I learned and I teach that when you put soul unity first, of course, you have to be attracted, but when you make that first your priority, your world changes, everything changes. This is something we are not taught and this is the way that you make your entire search for love a spiritual practice.
You say it. When you have waves of emotion, you ride them. You feel them. You experience those ripples, and when they subside, you do it again. When you’re not focusing, you don’t have to wait for the ripples to subside because there probably won’t be any ripples. You just go back and do it again. You just do this and deepen into the heart of it. Whatever your words are, you might find a prayer you really love, you might just say, “Help me, help me find the love I seek.” You don’t need fancy words. It does not need to be pretty. It does not need to be iconic. It could be like a grunt or a call or an ache. It can be a sound. It could be a note that you hit. It could be anything.Find the words that touch your heart deeply about your search for love. Click To Tweet
That’s the point here is that it doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is, does it touch your heart? Does it maybe bring tears to your eyes? Does it make you long? Does it touch you in a deep place? If it does, then that’s what you use, and it will change you, it will change you. Does it burn sometimes? Yes. Is it hard? Yes, it is, but it’s so worth it because it will reshape your being in alignment with this intention over time. That’s one idea for a practice. I’ll share some other ones too.
There’s the inner mentor practice, which I adore endlessly and I teach in episode 3, and I teach in a lot of places, and I’ll say just briefly what it is now. It’s imagining a you on the other side of all of your inner glass ceilings. It’s like imagining the you that you’re meant to be, unfolded, unfurled, alive, and you don’t have to earn it or be it. You just have to imagine it like a fantasy. Then you look at that being’s eyes and face, and what that reflects. This you that is just such pure, beautiful essence of you, and then you do this thing like method acting, where you jump in and you become that you, even if you don’t deserve it, even if you haven’t earned it, even if you haven’t gotten there, because you won’t have gotten there but you imagine, and in a way, it’s more than an imagination because it’s you. It tastes like you. It feels like you. It’s you. It’s essence of you, and you look at the you of today and you think, “What guidance do I want to call out to the me of today?”
I go over this practice in a lot more detail in episode 3, but you do that and then you take the message, and all you need to do is write it down and let it become your daily meditation, for that day, and all you need to do is love that meditation, and the more you do this, the more you become that being, and the more you become closer and closer to being that being, the more your magnetic field shifts and love and wisdom and healthy relationships end up coming towards you. That’s why this is so much a spiritual path of growth in the deepest and richest ways.
Tapping Acupuncture Points
I will share another practice that I love and it’s called tapping, and I haven’t done this yet but I will do, and I’m going to bring in a teacher who’s going to teach tapping to my audience. Many of you know tapping already, but it’s tapping along certain acupressure points, acupuncture points and then following a protocol. There are over 100 clinical studies proving the efficacy of this process that kind of like not only reduces stress, but can be used for meditation and brings you into a much deeper place. Every morning, I start out by doing twenty minutes of tapping, and then I do the inner mentor process. That’s my morning meditation and my coffee, of course. I love those morning meditations. I treasure them. They’re really, really wonderful.
I am all for, as you know, as I’ve said, meditations that focus on the breathing or focus on whatever that are kind of less directed to your search for intimacy, but that’s what I’m asking you to consider here is to craft a spiritual practice that focuses on your precious search for intimacy. You would not have listened to this whole podcast if this didn’t resonate for you in some way. You wouldn’t be listening to any of my podcasts if this stuff didn’t resonate for you, so I just want to honor your longing for growth and healing, and say that some of the ideas are an inner mentor to help you in your intimacy journey. This contemplative practice of prayer or just stating something or asking for something, those are two practices. You might find others that really speak to you. You might create a song and sing that song. You could do so many millions of different things.
I’ll share a story here. One of my great mentors was a man named John McNeill. He was a Jesuit priest who wrote a book called The Church and the Homosexual. He was kicked out of the Jesuit order for his homosexuality by a Cardinal who then became Pope Benedict. Anyway, he was a wonderful, wonderful hero and mentor of mine and my spiritual director. He told me at one point that he always felt guilty because he could not do a prayer in the morning. He had to sit down with his coffee and his New York Times. He just had to, and he kept telling himself to be more spiritual and pray first, but for years and I guess decades, he didn’t, so finally, it hit him.
He was going to create an organic spiritual practice, so he prayed The Times. He would read The Times and if anything moved him or touched him, his compassion, his joy, his concern, he would craft and ask a prayer, a blessing, something in that moment. That, he was able to do, and for the rest of his life, he was able to do a morning spiritual practice, so what I want to say to you is whether it’s walking meditation or singing or anything, that you consider how to craft a practice that really speaks the language of your heart.
In my book, Deeper Dating, Chapter 6 is completely devoted to this, and you’ll also find a number of podcast episodes that focus on this to different degrees, but I want to hear your stories because you want a practice that is going to inject this magic, bigger wisdom into your search for love and your intimacy life, and it will change you and make you more of the person, and rewire you and reshape you to be the person who you want to be, and who is so much more capable of living and feeling love.
You can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click Ask Ken, and share your stories about how you found a practice, how you created a practice, what that practice is like for you that’s specifically focused on your intimacy journey, and I’ll do my best to read these out because I think people will be inspired by them. Good luck on your journey of crafting your own beautiful spiritual practice for your search for love and your intimacy journey, and I look forward to connecting on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Watch the episode here:
- Deeper Dating
- Paramahansa Yogananda
- Self-Realization Fellowship
- episode 26 – A Practice That Can Lead You to Love
- episode 3
- John McNeill
- The Church and the Homosexual
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!