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Dr. Keith and Corey explore the basic architecture of Integral intimacy in relationships, offering a simple roadmap for any couples who would like to level up their relationship.
The components of a successful intimate relationship are the following: a friendship, a love affair, a capacity to notice and repair injuries and ruptures in the relationship, and a mutual commitment to growth. But how exactly do we do this? Watch as Dr. Keith offers some blueprints couples can use to establish and maintain the container of a happy and fulfilling intimacy.
Like any commitment to mastery, you can enhance intimacy with sequences of skills, chunked into manageable blocks, guided by wisdom and master coaches, and lending themselves to the human superpowers of focused intent and action. Here are a few integrally-informed sequence of skills:
To consciously develop relationally we need to self-observe in multiple dimensions, while observing our partner in multiple dimensions. This is based in the principle that love heals, and compassionate understanding is love in action. Compassionate self-observation and other-observation amplifies and empowers all growth and development systems.
Attunement to self:
- Focus on your breathing, deep in your belly, with acceptance and caring intent.
- Focus on sensation and emotions with acceptance and caring intent.
- Focus on thought with acceptance and caring intent.
- Focus on judgments with acceptance and caring intent.
- Focus on desires with acceptance and caring intent.
Attunement to your another:
- Think about your intimate partner. Imagine them wherever they are, or see them in the room if you are together.
- Focus with acceptance and caring intent on what he or she might be sensing and feeling at this moment.
- Focus with acceptance and caring intent on what he or she might be thinking at this moment.
- Focus with acceptance and caring intent on what he or she might be judging at this moment.
- Focus with acceptance and caring intent on what he or she might be wanting at this moment.
#2: Five Star Awareness
Once we develop attuned self and other awareness, how can we determine whether a person is a good partner, whether we are a good partner, or how well our partner and we are supporting our friendship, love affair, repair capacities, and mutual evolution?
One approach is to learn and practice the Five Star questions I explore in Loving Completely: a Five Star Approach to Creating Great Relationships. Asking and answering these questions regularly over time develops sense organs to discern better and worse relationship behaviors in core dimensions. The Five Star questions are:
- Is there erotic polarity, a spark of attraction, between me and this other person?
- Does this person maintain their physical and psychological health?
- In conflict, would he or she be able and willing to do what it takes to get back to love?
- Would this person show up appropriately as a parent or family member?
- Does this person have deep soul’s purpose, while recognizing and admiring what is deeply meaningful to me?
We go in and out of “Yes” and “No” to any of the Five Stars, moment to moment. Each moment we can decide to support healthy activities or shift away from unhealthy ones. Learning how to notice yourself feeling or not feeling erotic polarity, maintaining or not maintaining your psychological and physical health, and so on, gives you the awareness platform you need to make such moment to moment shifts.
Integral intimacy demands awareness, expression, and growth. All these dimensions can be visible and talk-about-able with you and your partner, and when you both can observe, discuss, and adjust towards supporting your friendship, love affair, repair capacity, and mutual evolution, you can create and maintain a second tier relational container — the gold standard for committed intimacy.
Be sure to check out the Loving Completely web course for a deeper dive into the Five Stars!
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About Keith Witt
Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is the proverbial "man behind the curtain". He is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996.